Our 2018 Biennial Seminar promises to be an unforgettable celebration of foxhunting’s past, present, and future. Open to all, the weekend will feature invaluable wisdom from our sport’s leaders, set against the spectacular backdrop of Mount Vernon, Washington’s family home and now a 500-acre National Historic Landmark. Participants will have unprecedented access to the renovated mansion, with its sweeping views of the Potomac River, along with expert insight from two noted Washington scholars. Surely meeting with the first president’s approval, foxhounds representing English, American, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel breeds will gather on the estate’s lawn for evaluation. With additional sessions on retraining ex-racehorses, opening new country, and Masters’ responsibilities, the June 22-24 Seminar will be a fantastic learning opportunity for everyone who follows hounds.
Image courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Old Town Alexandria hosts our newly refurbished hotel - please be sure to reserve your rooms before May 31 (extended deadline!) to secure the excellent MFHA event rate. Following check-in on Friday afternoon, June 22, we will transport attendees to nearby Mount Vernon to enjoy cocktails on the East Lawn of the mansion, along with an exclusive opportunity to explore the home, which has been meticulously restored to its 1799 appearance.
Dinner at the Orientation Center that evening will feature remarks by Douglas Bradburn, Ph.D., CEO and President of Mount Vernon, and keynote speaker Philip Smucker, author of “Riding with George: Sportsmanship & Chivalry in the Making of America’s First President.” Smucker will highlight how the traditions, discipline, skills, and bravery of the hunt field shaped Washington’s character - which, in turn, profoundly influenced many public institutions and cultural practices in the fledgling United States of America. Our generous co-host for Friday’s events is the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Transportation back to Old Town Alexandria will be provided following dinner.
On Saturday, June 23, the morning session at the hotel, “Opening New Territory - Making the Most of a Finite Resource,” will be moderated by Mrs. Coleman P. Perrin, MFH, Deep Run Hunt (VA). Participants may then travel on their own to Mount Vernon, with time available to tour the estate and gardens.
The general public visiting the estate will have an opportunity to meet foxhounds and learn about the positive impacts of our sport as we gather for the afternoon session. This unique master class will examine “Different Hound Breeds & Their Conformation - Which Breed is Best for You?” with canine specimens analyzed by moderator and celebrated hound breeder, judge, and huntsman, C. Martin Wood, III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL). The 12-acre field at Mount Vernon, once roamed by Washington’s own beloved pack, will provide the perfect setting to examine and debate the differences between our favorite breeds. That evening, cocktails will be provided on the hotel terrace.
Sunday morning, June 24, we offer a choice of topics at the hotel. Neil R. Morris, MFH, Orange County Hounds (VA) - who earlier this month saddled Virginia Gold Cup winner, Zanclus - will discuss “Retooling the Thoroughbred Racehorse: Using the Almost Unlimited Source of Prospective Foxhunters.” For attendees who are also Masters, one of our popular round tables will tackle “Master’s Responsibilities: The Buck Stops Here,” moderated by Lt. Col. Robert N. Ferrer, Jr., (USA-Ret.), MFH, Caroline Hunt (VA). Finally, MFHA President, Patrick Anthony Leahy, MFH, Fox River Valley and Massbach Hounds, will update participants on our organization’s achievements and goals for the future.
Plan to join us next month and invite your foxhunting friends - all are welcome to attend (you are not required to be staff or a Master). The opportunity to learn how foxhunting influenced America’s creation, and to see modern hounds return to Washington’s home, will be a truly unique experience. To register - and for more information about reserving rooms before the special hotel rate expires on May 22 - please click here.
To preview the many attractions available at Mount Vernon, visit their website here.