On Sunday, February 2, the Monmouth County Hunt in Allentown, NJ, hosted a Standardbred Hunt Day and welcomed Standardbreds from three states to join MCH for a day of foxhunting. Many of the participants were first-time foxhunters who were eager to try their Standardbreds in the hunt field. All of the horses proved to be well suited for foxhunting, displaying both patience and manners in the hunt field.
One such horse was 19-year-old, “HugMe Christi”, owned by Dr. Karyn Malinowski and hunted by trainer Wendy Hale. Hugme Christi is what is known as a “war horse.” She had 258 races, retired at age 12, and won over $120K. She was a two-time Amateur Driver’s horse winner in the Amateur Final at The Meadowlands Racetrack with Dr. Malinowski in the sulky. Hugme Christi broke the American Harness Driving Club’s record when she scored a 1:55:4 on June 2, 2005, in the amateur final. This record stood for over a decade. She has foxhunted and hunter paced with the Monmouth County Hunt many times, and she may hit a show or two soon!
Standardbred enthusiast and member, Sam Landy, of Congress Hill Farm, in Monroe, NJ, proudly hunts his retired Standardbreds. Landy is a breeder, owner, retired trainer and driver of Standardbreds. All training and driving are now done by his son, Harry Landy. “As a breeder of New Jersey Standardbreds, I want to thank the Masters of the Monmouth County Hunt for managing and maintaining a great club that provides an opportunity to ride Standardbreds. Standardbreds’ temperament and athleticism make them ideally suited for the hunt field when their racing career is over. The Monmouth County Hunt provides a great venue to ride these horses for ten or more years after their race career is over. This hunt creates great pleasure for those who choose retired Standardbreds,” said Sam.
The Monmouth County Hunt is centrally located in Upper Freehold Township, in close proximity to many Standardbred breeding farms and training centers, as well as several racetracks. Over the years, the Monmouth County Hunt has had several members hunt retired Standardbred racehorses with great success. The current membership includes Standardbred owners, drivers, and trainers. Our current members hunt Standardbreds with different backgrounds, including a retired broodmare, and racehorses with careers that range from a few races to horses who have raced hundreds of times.
The Standardbred field met hounds and huntsman Meg Valnoski, MFH, at the MCH kennels at 10 am. The horses were ably led during the day’s hunting by Doug Raynor, MFH, who led the first flight, and Laura Scott who led the hilltoppers at a slower pace. The riders appreciated the opportunity to try something new with their horses, and now have foxhunting to add to their horses’ resumes. Following the day’s hunting, members and guests enjoyed a traditional hunt breakfast hosted by the Monmouth County Hunt members.
For more information on the Monmouth County Hunt please check out our website www.monmouthcountyhunt.com.