Foxhunters often describe how important our sport is, not only to its immediate participants, but to all the members of the surrounding community. With the opening of our new headquarters, right on the main street of a premiere equestrian town just a short drive from Washington, D.C., we indeed have an accessible, visible presence that is welcoming to all.
Editor's Note: Watch for the Fall issue of Covertside Magazine for additional coverage about the grand opening of our new headquarters.
MFHA Second Vice President Penny Denegre and MFHA President Tony Leahy speak at the grand opening on the eve of the Virginia Foxhound Show. Photo by Liz Callar.
The culmination of more than three years of careful planning, fundraising, and renovation, the updated building reflects the ideals of a well-built foxhound: form follows function. Modern meeting rooms for the MFHA board and committees; spacious office areas let our staff work more efficiently; inviting displays of artwork and informative materials share our history - all of these architectural and decorative details directly improve our member services and our public outreach.
MFHA Executive Director David Twiggs with Mike Pearson and Ginny Perrin at the festivities. Photo by Liz Callar.
The nearly two hundred-year-old building also offers the flexibility to host educational meetings with Pony Clubs and youth groups, or one-on-one discussions with Masters seeking recognition for new hunts or other guidance. And of course, in proper sporting spirit, there's plenty of space - both indoors and in the inviting garden - for socializing and telling some favorite stories from the field.
Former Executive Director Dennis Foster chats with Marion Thorne as Terrell Paine and Fred Berry enjoy the grand opening. Photo by Liz Callar.
Our new home greets visitors to Middleburg as they enter town on Route 50 from the east. With its nearly two hundred year history and ties to local leaders past and present, the mostly brick structure itself mirrors the enduring and adapting nature of our sport. For enthusiasts from across North America and beyond, it's an easy-to-find, appealing statement that we are proud of and eager to share our contributions to country life, land conservation, and related values.
Daphne Wood and Penny Denegre flank decorator extraordinaire Fred Root. Photo by Liz Callar.
For those folks who have not yet experienced the thrill of a pack in full cry - they now have a place to start. Our staff is in residence and ready to answer questions, share the stunning artwork and historical materials we maintain, and generally join in the life of the community, as our member hunts in the area have done for decades. The vision of our leaders who set out years ago to create a permanent headquarters has been realized through this tangible and educational new home.
We're thrilled to be able to share artwork and historic items throughout the building. Photo by Liz Callar.
And like any good hunt club, it took a selfless team of contributors to make the vision a reality. It's difficult to render foxhunters speechless - but we're struggling to find the words to express our gratitude to each and every one of you. We are also amazed to see the variety of talents and myriad ways in which our community showed its support. Many folks graciously donated financially, so we could enter contracts and move forward on renovations. Others volunteered to organize hunter trials and hunter paces, with proceeds benefitting our Hark Forward initiative. Hundreds of hounds were entered in fundraising performance trials. Masters and former Masters and Pony Clubs and hound shows and just about every related group and activity in between put aside their own budgets, and gave what they could to create our new home.
Stop by and set a spell! Photo by Liz Callar.
Now that it's operational, we hope you'll make plans to visit Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, Middleburg - and your new headquarters. The lights are on and the doors are open - we'd love to thank you in person!