Champion Barbara Batterton & Niki Z, Blue Ridge Hunt, by www.middleburgphoto.comOn November 11, 2012, Blue Ridge Hunt's Barbara Batterton bested a field of 24 competitors to win the Virginia Field Hunter Championships. Hosted by Fairfax Hunt, the Championships were held at Winter Farm in Middleburg, as a result of Fairfax member Karyn Wilson's win last year.
Each recognized hunt in Virginia is invited to select two members to send to the championship. The day starts with an optional Best Turned Out competition, where traditional turnout and appointments are closely inspected. After a brief break for any necessary tack changes, the competitors begin the competition by showing off their horses’ movement and training during a hack phase, with the group doing a walk, trot, and canter in each direction, as well as a hand gallop and hold hard. Then, led by the previous year’s winner, the group is off on a mock hunt through the surrounding hunt territory, where mounted judges score the competitors on their horses’ behavior in the front, middle and back of the field, their jumping style, and handiness. After the mock hunt, the judges confer and select ten finalists to compete in an individual test designed to show off each horse’s bravery, obedience, and form.