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Third Annual Piedmont Hunter Trials Offer Divisions for All Riders

From first flight thrusters to dependable hilltoppers, the Piedmont Fox Hounds Hunter Trials offer everyone an exciting and fun-filled day of competition on October 2, 2016. The third annual edition of this beautifully staged and smoothly run event returns to the historic Salem Farm Show Grounds in Upperville, Virginia, courtesy of Shelby Bonnie, MFH. Open to all riders, foxhunters and non-foxhunters alike, each division's classes include the opportunity to exhibit both in the Grand Prix field on established, undulating turf, and over impeccable all-weather footing in the Grand Prix ring.

Keswick Hunt Night Showcases Local Riders

Drawing on its multitalented membership, Keswick Hunt Club hosted a fun Hunt Night Show on Saturday, August 20, at its historic showgrounds adjacent to the kennels in Keswick, Virginia. Judged by Alisa Berry, the friendly atmosphere offered morning warmups over the inviting course, followed by classes ranging from Future Foxhunter for the ten-and-under set, to the traditional Family Class, to a Sidesaddle Division, and finally Hunt Pairs and Hunt Teams.

Kindred Spirits: Beagles Compete at Triple Challenge Event

The National Beagle Club held its annual Triple Challenge Event at Aldie, Virginia last May. Combining Bench (conformation) and Stake (performance trials) competition, the five-day gathering included great camaraderie among the beagle enthusiasts, including many foxhunters in their ranks. The Stake judges, who followed on horseback to make their selections, were Hazel Hannon and Loudoun Fairfax Huntsman Andy Bozdan. A fundraising auction also took place.

Marty Wood's Hound Judging Seminar Inspires Attendees

A capacity crowd of huntsmen, Masters, professional staff, and foxhound devotees filled the Carriage House at Morven Park the morning before the Virginia Foxhound Show to hear Marty Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL), deliver a comprehensive presentation on hound judging. Wood, a former MFHA President and current member of the MFHA Foundation Board, has spent more than four decades breeding hounds, more than three decades judging hound shows, and countless days in the field observing conformation in action. The seminar inspired conversations and rave reviews through the weekend, as MFHA Executive Director, Dennis Foster, observed, "To say it was a huge success is an understatement. Marty really put together something special — even experienced judges benefited."

Outreach: Limestone Creek Hosts "Learn to Foxhunt" Clinic

Limestone Creek Hunt kicked off the 2016 season with a two-day Learn to Foxhunt Clinic series. The clinic's intent was to offer a supportive place to start for people who want to learn the basics of foxhunting. The clinic series was also promoted as a very good place to introduce horses to the sights, sounds and dynamics of foxhunting. Those who signed up came from all riding backgrounds and disciplines. Several experienced foxhunters attended to polish up their hunting skills, as well.

The only requirement asked of those attending was that the rider, adult or junior, could walk, trot and canter their horse with control. 


The Morrisville, NY State College Equine Rehab Center provided an excellent setting for the introductory clinic. Mary Crandall photo.

The first clinic was Saturday, March 26. Fourteen participants arrived at the Morrisville, New York, State College Equine Rehab Center arena with their horses to begin their journey to becoming foxhunters. LCH huntsman, Lori Gronau, took charge of the day’s agenda, presenting an equal mix of mounted work and classroom sessions separated by a lunch break. Mounted work focused on how to work with your horse over, under, through and around obstacles. The group then moved on to learning the organization in the hunt field, how to follow your field master, why keeping up and safe spacing between horses is important and finally, how to perform
basic field maneuvers. Mounted work ended after an introduction to hounds, horn and staff passing the fields.

After lunch, the day continued with a discussion session covering horse tack and bits to consider for foxhunting. The day concluded with a session on cub and formal season clothing, featuring demonstrations on how to tie the stock tie and the “best” way to stuff long hair into a helmet with hairnet! All participants received a folder of printed materials supporting all topics presented during the day and encouragement to work on their mounted homework assignments in preparation for Clinic II, seven weeks later.


Dan Carroll presents shoeing tips for foxhunters. Mary Crandall photo.

Participants from the first clinic reconvened for the Learn to Foxhunt Clinic II on Saturday, June 11, at Hawk Hollow Farm in Erieville, New York, located in the heart of LCH’s hunt territory. Heavy rain added to the challenging agenda focusing on mounted work. After an informative presentation by Blacksmith Dan Carroll on shoeing for foxhunting, the group split into a flat schooling group with huntsman Lori Gronau, while more advanced riders worked with Barb Lindberg, MFH, in a jumping session emphasizing techniques for safely jumping coops and natural obstacles in the hunt field.


Getting ready for a rainy, but educational, ride out. Mary Crandall photo.

The groups later came together again with the huntsman leading a cross-country ride, teaching techniques and demonstrating how to ride up and down hills, trails and fields. The rain made for slick conditions, helping to make participants realize the need to improve their focus and skills for the next challenge of the day. Hounds were released and a mini foxhunt at learning speed, complete with horn, hounds, huntsman and staff passing the fields at speed was engaged.

The soggy day ended with a wrap-up session on hunting etiquette, during which many big, confident smiles were viewed on all who braved the day. A special nod of thanks must go to Mother Nature for helping clinic participants learn to RIDE STRONG no matter the weather.

Recap: 69th Annual Virginia Foxhound Show

Nearly 40 hunts presented hounds at the 69th edition of Virginia Foxhound Club's annual show on Sunday, May 29, at historic Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. Competitors enjoyed a clear, if humid, day in the rings beneath the canopy of mature trees, surrounded by lavish tailgating displays. Midland Striker '15 (Midland Rocket '11 x Staffordshire Moorland Stunning '11), already champion earlier this spring at the Southern Hound Show, received the William W. Brainard, Jr., Perpetual Cup for Grand Champion Foxhound.

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