equestrian

The Dine After the Dash: Hunt Breakfast Memories

Written by Heidi Baumstark

In foxhunting circles, it is called “the dine after the dash.” Afterall, who wouldn’t be hungry after a morning of chasing a fox on horseback in the fresh country air?

The hunt breakfast is so named no matter what time of day the feast is served. Since hunts historically started with the rising of the sun, the first meal afterwards would be breakfast; hence, the hunt breakfast term stuck.

Here in Virginia, hunt breakfasts typically feature ham biscuits, stews, and desserts with equestrian and foxhunting themes. And of course, many hunts begin with the ritual of a stirrup cup – a bit of “liquid courage” – traditionally filled to the brim with Irish coffee, hot buttered rum or sherry; or, perhaps ginger brandy served to riders while their feet are already in the stirrups just before they leave for the hunt.

Saturday hunts are typically followed by the traditional hunt breakfast at the host’s property. Coming in from the field, riders peel off hunting coats trading them in for tweed hacking jackets, gather inside where it’s warm, and where food and drink are plentiful, to recount the drama of the hunt. 

Recollections From Local Hunt Breakfast Hosts

Zohar and Lisa Ben-Dov of Kinross Farm near Middleburg host a hunt breakfast the Saturday before Thanksgiving for Orange County Hounds (OCH), opening their property to fellow hunt enthusiasts, friends, and guests. 

Kinross, a 500-acre property under conservation easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation, is near Wexford, once the country estate of former President John and First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

“We were living in upstate New York and Zohar wanted to hunt more often. So, we moved to Virginia for better weather, bought the farm in 1985, and since 1989, have hosted a hunt breakfast on the property – every year except 2020 because of COVID,” Lisa explains. Zohar has hunted with the Middleburg Hunt, Piedmont, Orange County, Loudoun, and Old Dominion.

The brick house at Kinross dates to 1837 and breakfasts were first held there. But the house was not large enough for the number of guests they invited, so Zohar built another complex on the farm that could accommodate additional guests. Lisa added, “For decorations, I picked different flowers depending on what linen colors I decided to use. Being originally from New Orleans, it became a tradition to serve jambalaya and horse-shaped cookies.” 

At Kinross, people begin arriving around 9:30 a.m., and the meet kicks off with a stirrup cup of port or sherry. By 10 a.m., the hunt takes off. After hours of hunting, breakfast usually starts at 1 p.m. 

Last year, the Ben-Dovs decided to have the breakfast outside and hosted it in the field. The menu included wonderful hot soups, ham biscuits, and sandwiches, and a full bar. Lisa recalls, “It was great! Everyone loved it. This year, I’m having it outside again.” 

Another popular hunt breakfast is hosted the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Welbourne. Dulany Morison continues Piedmont’s long tradition of hosting at Welbourne, which sits on 520 acres that are protected in a conservation easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation. But theirs is an evening affair, a cocktail dinner complete with Hunt Country attire. 

When hounds come in around 2 p.m., riders take their horses home and get ready for the evening before returning. Bartenders are on the porches. Servers offer ham biscuits to start. Then there is a formal buffet spread in the dining room which includes beef tenderloins, sliced ham, and mashed potatoes. “We keep the menu pretty traditional,” Dulany adds. “And there’s always roaring fires in every fireplace. I also recall an old photo of children sitting on the stairs at Welbourne with dinner plates on their laps.”

Photo by Karen Fuog.

“It’s a chance to interact with some of the landowners and riders to toast their ‘hopefully’ successful day,” Dulany says. “It’s a camaraderie-building occasion that benefits rider and landowner alike; it ties everyone together in support of the landscape. There’s a driving force and motivation to preserve the territory for fox hunters. And it’s trickled down to others who support the industry in so many ways: those who provide horse care, feed, equestrian supplies, caterers, designers, etc. There are so many layers. Some of the most passionate enthusiasts are those who are doing a lot of the work. They take great pride in it.”

Dulany and his wife, Eleanor, also subscribe to Orange County Hounds, and Eleanor is a steward on the OCH board. Since 2015, the Morisons have hosted a breakfast at their Stoke Farm in OCH territory. “We host it closer to Christmas, so everything is decorated for the holidays,” Dulany says. Stoke’s 285 acres are protected under conservation easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

These breakfasts include hearty fare, live fires, and festive drinks – mostly red wine or bourbon is consumed, but there’s always a full bar. Dulany adds, “With these breakfasts, the host is thanking their fellow hunters and neighboring landowners for allowing the use of their land, and they serve as a venue for inviting others.”

Another local foxhunter, Rose Marie Bogley, has hosted her share of hunt breakfasts at her Upperville estate Peace and Plenty at Bollingbrook. She hunted with Middleburg Hunt from 1975 to 1985. In 1985, she moved to Bollingbrook where she has hosted breakfasts for Piedmont for over 30 years. Her estate includes a grand manor house that dates to 1809 on 400 acres, with 365 of those acres in a conservation easement with the Land Trust of Virginia.  

Hunts usually start around 9 a.m. Before the pandemic, she hosted it as close to Christmas as possible. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Bogley shares. “During the breakfast, horses can be put in stalls since there are several on the property. We had valet parking and gave people rides up to the house. There’s a healthy crowd of about 100 at a time, people coming and going. It got bigger each year.”  

Last time Bogley hosted, she served chili. “I found this wonderful recipe in a cooking magazine called Bourbon Chili; it was the best, everyone loved it,” she remembers. “It cooked all night, and at four o’clock in the morning, I’d come downstairs and could smell it. We had corn muffins too, along with ham, salads, and a big dessert table. I’m from Pennsylvania and my sister knew someone there who made really good nut rolls. We had a full bar – actually, two bars – and bartenders.”

Dulany sums up the significance of the hunt breakfast perfectly: “It’s a happy time during a cold season, and it’s a great way to celebrate a day of sport. Instilling this interest into the next generation is key on everyone’s mind in the fox hunting world. Hopefully, it will be kept alive for future generations.”

We can all toast to that. ML

This article originally appeared in the November 2022 issue.

Meet Your Neighbor: Cindy Thompson of the Community Shop

Written by Kaitlin Hill
Photos by Michael Butcher

“The whole idea was to make it for the community,” shares Cindy Thompson, owner of the aptly named Community Shop on S. Madison Street. Thompson, a practicing surgeon, opened the part-consignment, part-thrift shop at the end of 2019, as an escape from her day job and a way to give to local charities. For patrons, the stocked shelves and purposefully cluttered corners are a mesmerizing treasure hunt with a little bit of everything for everyone, making it well worth a visit. 

Thompson, an Ohio native, came to Middleburg for the same reason as many who settle here – horses. “I was always a horse lover,” shares Thompson. “My mother sent me to a YMCA camp where I learned to ride. It was Western.” While earning her undergraduate degree, she learned to ride English, and in medical school at the Medical College of Ohio, she was introduced to foxhunting. 

A desire to blend jumping and riding cross-country, a college friend, and her Irish heritage all culminated in a foxhunting trip abroad. She says, “I had this girlfriend in college who rode horses…and we’d go through this catalog of horse vacations. [The catalog] had foxhunting in Ireland and so I’m like ‘bingo.’” Though the college friend missed the trip, Thompson met plenty of like-minded equestrian enthusiasts, including her future husband.

“There was this really attractive guy at the bar, but he was with a girl,” Thompson explains. Thinking that particular romantic avenue was unavailable, Thompson instead made friends with a different Englishman she met the same trip. She says, “This English guy and I became friends, and we went foxhunting together. I didn’t know anything, I didn’t have the right clothes, and he lent me his shirt, his vest, his stock tie, everything.” 

Having forged a new friendship in the field, Thompson would visit her English pal three months later for another foxhunting excursion. She shares, “I went to England to visit my friend…and we go foxhunting down in the West Country.” She continues, “I came home…and the English guy calls me up and says, ‘Remember that guy from the bar in Ireland? He called me and wants your number.’” 

The couple connected, unsurprisingly, over their love of foxhunting. “He said, ‘If you want to foxhunt, you have to live where it is.’ So, he sent me the yellow pages of Northern Virginia and on a map, he circled Leesburg, Winchester, and Warrenton,” Thompson remembers. Thompson relocated from Ohio to Warrenton where she landed a job as a general surgery specialist. The couple married in 2001, and she joined her husband in Middleburg where they still live with their family.  

Though still a practicing surgeon in Warrenton, Thompson jumped at the chance to open the Community Shop when the retail space became available. She says, “I was going to do it when I retired…but then the space opened up and there was this opportunity.” 

She adds, “It’s just fun to have a shop, but I wanted to figure out how to accommodate the community.” The Community Shop invites both consignment and donation, and it is up to the patron to choose which they pursue. “You can bring your stuff in, and you don’t have to decide one way or the other. You could have some things you want to consign and the rest you want to donate.” 

As for what Thompson accepts for resale, “Whatever I think is good quality.” She adds, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be old; it could be new. It just has to be good quality, interesting, or unusual.” For Thompson, interesting and unusual could come in the form of artwork, clothing, jewelry, glassware, home accents, holiday décor, and even pet collars and catnip. 

Whatever it is, once sold she turns over a portion of the profits to local charities. “Middleburg Humane is our big one. But there is a horse rescue, a cat rescue…I have a couple churches, Potters House in the Plains. It really could be anything, as long as it’s local.” 

While Thompson’s work certainly benefits the community, it is also of benefit to her. She considers her days at the shop as “time off” and insists, “Why do something if it is not fun?” When asked what she likes most about running the shop, she offers a long list. “I like all of it,” she laughs. “I like talking to people when they come in, seeing what they bring in. It’s always exciting and a surprise to see what people bring and what people buy.” She adds, “I definitely like hunting for the stuff. It’s exciting to find something and see what you can sell it for. It’s like treasure hunting.” 

A sign in the front window indicates with a smiley face that the store is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday “based on volunteer availability.” Thompson hopes to expand on those hours and the shop’s offerings when she retires from her post as a surgeon. She says, “I keep thinking when I retire, I’ll have a little more time. I’d like to add an online aspect.” When open, the Community Shop is certainly a must-visit. Stop by to browse Thompson’s impressive collection of “a little bit of everything,” make a donation, consign an item, or simply share a chat with this lovely Middleburg neighbor.

This article first appeared in the September 2022 Issue.

Gatherings for Good: Local Events Impacting Important Causes

Written by Lia Hobel

As summer cools off, charitable giving is just heating up for Hunt Country residents. From signature polo matches to exceptional galas boasting fine dining and entertainment, September is the start of sizzling fun and fundraising for notable causes. Read on to learn more about the biggest local benefits and the organizations they support.

2022 NSLM Polo Classic

Sunday, September 11 | 10 a.m.

Great Meadow, The Plains, VA

The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) will host its largest fundraising event of the year — the NSLM Polo Classic presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™ — the second Sunday of September at Great Meadow. The renowned research library and fine art museum is dedicated to highlighting the rich heritage and tradition of country pursuits. 

Gates will open at 10 a.m. with two exciting matches taking place. First up is the Founders Cup at 11 a.m. followed by the Mars Cup at 2 p.m. The event will feature all the favorite NSLM Polo Classic traditions with the Dog Divot Stomp sponsored by NUTRO,™ a parade of the Middleburg Hunt hounds, and more.

Proceeds from the NSLM Polo Classic benefit the NSLM in its mission to “preserve, promote, and share the literature, art, and culture of equestrian, angling, and field sports,” as well as helping to fund dynamic exhibitions, programs, and community events throughout the year.

According to Elizabeth von Hassell, executive director of the NSLM, “Not only does the event benefit the library and museum, but it is also a fun way for people to experience our mission first-hand and to enjoy an exciting day of polo at the beautiful Great Meadow.”

Visit nationalsporting.org for more information. 

Cloverleaf (Formerly NVTRP) Polo Classic

Saturday, September 24 | 12 p.m.

Great Meadow, The Plains, VA

This year’s Polo Classic is a chance to celebrate the new name of Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP). The Cloverleaf Polo Classic is the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser. It will include live and silent auctions and a rider demonstration by military riders and students of the therapeutic riding program. 

Executive director of Cloverleaf, Kelsey Gallagher, notes that the new name reflects the growing range of services the organization offers to the community. 

“This event is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the power of equine-based services to improve lives,” Gallagher says.

Cloverleaf focuses on helping individuals realize their highest potential by providing equine-assisted activities to people with disabilities, youth-at-risk, recovering military personnel, and others in need of an inclusive, community setting. Founded in 1980, Cloverleaf operates out of a 17-acre farm in Clifton, Virginia, with the help of 15 dedicated staff members and 20 equine partners.

“It [has] become a cherished tradition for hundreds of people who return year after year for a dazzling day of polo, food, and wine to support Cloverleaf Equine Center,” says Will Thomas, Polo Classic co-chair and Cloverleaf board member. 

Thomas notes that the fundraising as a result of this event allows Cloverleaf to serve more than a hundred weekly clients from the D.C. Metro region.

Visit nvtrp.org/polo for more information.

Sprout Therapeutic Riding Gallop Gala

September 17 | 6 p.m.

Sprout Center, Aldie, VA

Get ready for a whimsical evening at Sprout’s Therapeutic Riding Gallop Gala. According to founder and Executive Director Brooke Waldron, the 2022 gala will “celebrate the magic of Sprout in honor of the barn’s ‘King of Hearts’— Peter, a Dartmoor x Thoroughbred, Middleburg-bred horse.” 

Guests are invited to dress to impress and embrace the magic of Sprout. The gala includes drinks and dinner, a professional magician, auctions, and live music that will have attendees dancing all night long. 

Sprout’s mission is to provide hope, healing, empowerment, and recovery through equestrian-assisted activities and therapies. The organization serves individuals with disabilities and provides life-changing opportunities and treatment in a farm environment. 

“Together, with Middleburg’s support, we will pursue the ‘impossible’ and make magic for those needing hope, healing, empowerment, and community,” Waldron says. 

Visit sproutcenter.org/events/gala/ for more information.

Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Dining in the Dark Gala 

Thursday, October 13 | 6 p.m.

Bourbon Bayou Kitchen, Ashburn, VA 

Snag a seat at a truly unique culinary adventure in October while supporting Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. On October 13 (don’t worry, it’s a Thursday), put your taste buds to the test with an opportunity to dine while wearing eye shades in low light conditions — and raise awareness and resources for Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. 

“Dining in the Dark will be an exercise in ‘experiential empathy,’” explains Executive Director Paul Shane. “For one night only, our guests will have a unique opportunity to experience what it means to have a disability by having their vision taken from them and will gain a small level of understanding into what our clients struggle with on a daily basis.”

Located in Lovettsville, Loudoun Therapeutic Riding “embraces the power of horse-assisted services to promote well-being and community inclusion for people with physical, cognitive, and mental health challenges.” The foundation has been serving the community for 47 years. 

The Dining in the Dark Gala will bring together community leaders, industry professionals, and caring citizens for an evening of fine dining and entertainment. Celebrity chefs will be part of the fun including Chef Christine Ha, “MasterChef” season 3 winner, who is visually impaired. Guests of honor from the visually impaired community will include musician Scott Macintyre and YouTuber Tommy Edison, known for his channel, Blind Film Critic.Visit dininginthedark.net for more informationML

2022 Cloverleaf Polo Classic

The 2022 Cloverleaf Polo Classic will feature:

Halftime Demo

Cloverleaf clients Andrew, Angelica, Joyce and Zoe will soon be hard at work prepping for their 2022 Polo Classic halftime performance.

Guests will be treated to an unforgettable quadrille – a choreographed drill pattern on horseback set to music – that you won’t want to miss!

The performance features skills that the clients are currently working on during their therapeutic riding or physical therapy sessions; demonstrating some of the patterns and use of props that they would use in weekly lessons.

NFL’s Vernon Davis to serve as Hat Contest Judge

A special thank you to this year’s Hat Contest Judge, Vernon Davis.

Vernon is a retired NFL superstar, successful businessman and trained actor and producer. He attended the University of Maryland and played nine seasons with the 49ers, one season with the Denver Broncos and four seasons with his hometown team, the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins).

He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl twice and won a Super Bowl with Payton Manning and the Denver Broncos in 2016.

After a successful NFL career, Vernon transitioned into business acquiring an impressive investment portfolio in real estate and started his own production company “Reel 85 Productions” in 2020. 

Vernon has been recognized for his film credits including starring alongside notable actors such as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman. His television credits include Dancing With The Stars, Going Home, MTVChallenge, The ESPYS, Name That Tune, Domino Masters, Cooking With The Stars, Inside Amy Schumer and The League.

Most recently, Vernon joined the ownership group of the Brisbane Bullets of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) as one of their newest minority owners.

Live Music by 2MB

When best friends get together to make music and perform classic jams you get 2MB!

Kendall, Chris and Dave are all locals that grew up in the Northern Virginia area. They are all NoVa professionals, parents, and freaking awesome multi-talented musicians.

Their vibe is fun, smooth and easy; playing everything from 90s alt faves, classics from the 70s, to country covers that everyone knows the words to.

These three came together just a year ago and their momentum continues to grow while playing consistently at favorite local spots, events, vineyards, and breweries. Pop, rock, alt, country…you’ll be entertained by it all when you chill with 2MB.

Diane Roberts Returns as Emcee

We are honored to have Diane Roberts return as the emcee for the 2022 Polo Classic!

With more than 25 years of experience in various communications platforms, including television, radio, and social media, Diane has compiled industry insights from experience in reporting and anchoring for both news and sports on a national and local level. She also coaches clients on the ins and outs of public speaking and being ready for all facets of the media.

Thank you to…

Cloverleaf Equine Center is once again beyond grateful for our Polo Classic co-chairs Will Thomas and Sherrie Beckstead, joined again this year by honorary chair Sheila Johnson. 

This group works tirelessly year round to make the Polo Classic such a fun and successful event.

Will Thomas is a Vice President at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and veteran TV anchor.

Sherrie Beckstead is President of The Lockkeepers Collection Group, and a Principal at Liljenquist & Beckstead, co-founded by the Beckstead family.

Both are also members of Cloverleaf’s Board of Directors.

Sheila Johnson has been involved in the equestrian community for many years including serving as President of the Washington International Horse Show. 

In addition to her efforts to support equestrian interests and among her many business endeavors, Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which operates a collection of luxury properties including the equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA.

About Cloverleaf Equine Center

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program recently completed an extensive rebrand effort in response to organizational growth and future expansion. At the heart of the rebrand is a change of the program name to Cloverleaf Equine Center – representing that services offered now extend beyond the Northern Virginia area – and an update to the center’s logo. 

Founded in 1980, the organization began as a small operation in Clifton, Virginia with a couple borrowed horses and a handful of clients and volunteers. Today, Cloverleaf Equine Center serves over 100 weekly clients from the DC Metro area with the help of more than 250 active volunteers and a herd of 18 horses on a 17-acre farm in Fairfax County. In addition to therapeutic riding, Cloverleaf’s services include physical therapy incorporating horses, equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy incorporating horses. 

MISSION:   Cloverleaf Equine Center, at O’Shaughnessy Farm, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that helps each individual realize their highest potential by providing equine-assisted activities to people with disabilities, youth-at-risk, recovering military personnel, and others in need in an inclusive, community setting.

​VISION: To inspire and enrich people, families and communities through the power of the horse.

NVTRP Announces Rebrand, Changes Name to Cloverleaf Equine Center 

Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program unveiled a new name and logo as part of rebrand initiative

Contact:
Shelby Morrison
Grants and Communications Manager
Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL)

Photos by Tony Gibson

Clifton, VA – July 11, 2022 – The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, a leading provider of equine-assisted services to children and adults with disabilities, youth from marginalized communities, recovering military personnel, and others in need, has completed an extensive rebrand effort in response to organizational growth and future expansion. At the heart of the rebrand is a change of the program name to Cloverleaf Equine Center – representing services offered extend beyond the Northern Virginia area – and an update to the center’s logo. 

Founded in 1980, the organization began as a small operation in Clifton, Virginia with a couple borrowed horses and a handful of clients and volunteers. Today, Cloverleaf Equine Center serves over 100 weekly clients from the DC Metro area with the help of more than 250 active volunteers and a herd of 18 horses on a 17-acre farm in Fairfax County. In addition to therapeutic riding, Cloverleaf’s services include physical therapy incorporating horses, equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy incorporating horses.

“This is a major milestone for the organization. We have grown so much in the last 20 years and are excited that our brand now reflects all we do,” said Kelsey Gallagher, executive director. “We are looking forward to the unlimited potential equine-assisted services brings to our clients and our community now and for many years to come.” 

A cloverleaf symbol already had great significance to the organization: The Cloverleaf name is a nod to the center’s early beginnings as the Fairfax County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program. The property is also located in an area that is called Cloverleaf Farm Estates, honoring the organization’s historical ties to the town of Clifton. Each leaf of a clover represents the different programs offered and the populations served through equine-assisted services. 

In addition to the name and logo change, a new website – cloverleafequinecenter.org – will launch later this summer.

About Cloverleaf: Originally chartered in 1980, Cloverleaf Equine Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing equine-assisted services to children and adults with disabilities, youth from marginalized communities, military service personnel and their families in an inclusive, community setting. Learning to ride and care for a horse not only improves the physical health of the rider but also generates a critically important sense of accomplishment. Clients participating in Cloverleaf programs represent a range of disabilities including attention deficit disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, and genetic syndromes. Cloverleaf is a Premier Center accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl), and a member center of the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia (TRAV). Cloverleaf Equine Center is located in Clifton, VA. 

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Cloverleaf Equine Center

703-764-0269

Up Chiqui Added to the Upperville Wall of Honor 

Written by Kaitlin Hill 

“The horse deserved it. It won a whole lot. It won at Upperville, and it was a nice horse who deserves to be on a lot of walls of honor,” shares Joe Fargis of Up Chiqui, a Belgian warmblood chestnut gelding and 2022 inductee to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show Wall of Honor. The award was presented and accepted by Fargis on Up Chiqui’s behalf to tremendous applause on Saturday, June 11, during the 169th annual show. 

Owned by Haity and Jim McNerney of McLean, Virginia, Alex Boone of Lexington, Kentucky, and Craig Dobbs of Indianapolis, Indiana, Up Chiqui not only has an impressive resume, but also a personality that made him a favorite of owners, trainers, and his longtime rider, Kent Farrington. 

At Upperville alone, Farrington and Up Chiqui won the Welcome Stakes and the Upperville Jumper Classic in 2007 and returned in 2008 to be awarded top honors in the Welcome Stakes again. Up Chiqui placed in the top 10 in 28 of the 36 classes he started. In 2008, the pair competed in the FEI World Cup™ CSI-W Final in Göteborg, Sweden, one of many international and national competitions Up Chiqui at which excelled at over the course of his long career. 

“If you want to be a winner, you have to have some quirks,” shares Haity McNerney, speaking of Up Chiqui’s undeniably unique personality. Up Chiqui’s longtime groom, Alex Warriner, adds, “He was a little naughty, a little fresh…he was just so expressive. He had so much life in him, and he enjoyed every minute of it.” She concludes, “He is hard to sum up in one word, but he was truly special.” And Farrington once described Up Chiqui as “…a prankster. Everything is a little bit on his own terms, and he wants to do things his way.” 

A taste for Twizzlers, nipping at scarves, and chewing on the chain of his lead rope are among Up Chiqui’s loveable traits. Warriner says, “If he was chewing on the chain, you knew you were going to have a good result that day.” 

More than quirkiness, Up Chiqui’s huge heart is what set him apart as an “exceptional, rare breed” as Haity McNerney describes him. She says, “The horse gave 180 percent on every jump. The horse just had a heart that was huge.” Warriner adds, “He gave everything that he had in his heart to Kent, to the team, and enjoyed it.” Haity McNerney finishes, “The horse distinguished itself above and beyond other horses. He was exceptional. The horse was so brave.” 

Given all his successes and all his spunk, Up Chiqui is certainly deserving of his well-earned retirement and this most recent accolade.

As the latest inductee to the Wall of Honor, Up Chiqui’s plaque will hang among notable equestrian honorees such as Paul Mellon and Rose Marie Bogley, and equine inductees including Super Flash and Way Cool. 

“He owed us nothing but he gave us his heart and soul. It is nice [to recognize] this horse that is well deserving of it,” Warriner says.

Up Chiqui is now enjoying retirement at the Boone’s Farm in Kentucky. Warriner says, “He is the master of teaching the young babies how to act and who is boss. He’s a good babysitter.” She concludes, “He looks fantastic, he’s in a great place, [and] he could not be getting any better care than where he is.” ML

This article first appeared in the July 2022 Issue.

The Best of Antiquing In and Around Hunt Country

Written by Shayda Windle

Shopping in Hunt Country is a bit different than elsewhere. When people visit, they are looking for something unique and one-of-a-kind; something that speaks to the history of the area. One could argue that the retail options that best showcase this heritage are the many and much-loved antique shops in Hunt Country. In that spirit, here are some local favorites offering their take on heirloom treasures. As you navigate the antique scene, be sure to take the time to look around — you never know what hidden gems you might find.

Middleburg Antique Gallery & Antiques on Washington St.

With its treasure trove of fox hunting and horse racing-themed antiques, Middleburg Antique Gallery has been a staple of the Hunt Country antique scene for the past three decades. As owner Linda Mason says, there’s “something for everyone here.” Last year, Mason and Lisa Vella, co-owners of Baileywyck in The Plains, joined forces to open Antiques on Washington, an extension of the two shops. Mason and Vella each have distinct tastes when it comes to antiques which allows patrons to find a little bit of everything at Antiques on Washington including French provincial, Swedish furnishings, American antiques, home goods, and fine art. Mason says, “It’s a little bit old and new here. I like the fun stuff, the things that are a little bit different. We work with local artists and go to auctions. Lisa gets things from all over the world.” Fresh inventory is arriving all the time, so be sure and stop by — both stores are located right on Washington Street in Middleburg.

Middleburg Antique Gallery: 107 W. Washington St, Middleburg, Virginia 20117, 540-687-8680
Antiques on Washington: 3 W. Washington St, Middleburg, Virginia 20117, 540-687-8680

Marshall Curated

The small town of Marshall has a number of antique and consignment shops to visit, and Marshall Curated is a local favorite. With 14 permanent vendors and over 100 consignors, the shop is more of a “museum” than anything else according to owner Rosanna Funiciello. Though she constantly moves merchandise in and out of the shop, her vendors are a carefully selected group of antiques dealers, decorators, and creatives that offer a variety of vintage and new home furnishings and gifts. She adds, “I feel like an ambassador for these vintage pieces. I help to convey their story and give them renewed purpose. At the heart of it, we are recyclers of beautiful and useful things.” Marshall Curated is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also check them out on Instagram at @MarshallCurated.

8371 W Main St, Marshall, Virginia 20115, 571-921-0356


Mercer Tavern Antiques
This popular antique shop in the village of Aldie is filled with 19th and 20th-century furniture, paintings, baskets, china, and much more. Originally built in 1939, the little white house has had its share of facelifts over the years. Roughly 30 years ago, owner Mary Ann Withers decided to transform the tavern into an antique shop. And in 2020, she renovated the store inside and out. Each week, she brings in new items and posts them on Instagram and Facebook. Withers shares, “Everything I source is within an hour radius of Aldie so what you see here are local products [from] online auctions, live auctions, and getting called to go into people’s houses locally.” Withers and her husband Tucker also own nearby Little River Inn which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. Mercer Tavern Antiques is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, follow the shop’s Instagram at @mercertavernantiques.

39359 John Mosby Hwy, Aldie, Virginia 20105, 703-618-3169

Vintage Marshall

Vintage Marshall is the latest antique store to hit Hunt Country territory. The shop, which opened in February, is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Julien and Cassandra Lacaze who were previously vendors at Marshall Curated. “We both love wine, travel, and all things vintage and wanted to bring that concept to Marshall,” Julien Lacaze shares. He frequently travels to France to source vintage and antique furniture and home decor items directly, which are then shipped to the store in Marshall. They also offer wine for a unique twist. Lacaze says, “We recently picked a wine from Buzet, which many people are not familiar with, but this is the same region where we are picking most of the French [antique] finds. We wanted to incorporate wine with the furniture, and that’s why we chose the name Vintage. It can refer to items that are older or it can refer to the year in which a wine was made.” Stop in to see them in person for a fabulous French furnishing or glass of wine and be sure to check their Instagram at @Vintagemarshallva.

4238 Frost St, Marshall, Virginia 20115, 540 454-2000

Red Schoolhouse Antiques

Red Schoolhouse Antiques in Millwood, Virginia, has been in business for 32 years. Owners Lorraine and Robin Murray live on their farm in Scotland and stock the store with their unique finds sourced from all over Europe. Manager Mary Kinnie and Associate Dealer Troy Pittenger work on-site warmly welcoming antique seekers. The shop is known for its traditional and contemporary furniture and accessories. Lorraine, who grew up in Clarke County, comments, “I love coming back to Virginia. It’s the best of both worlds — bonnie Galloway in Scotland and gorgeous Hunt Country, Virginia. Seeing friends old and new adds to the enjoyment of every visit.” Find them on Instagram at @redschoolhouseantique.

1014 Bishop Meade Rd, Millwood, Virginia 22646, 540-837-3033

JPN Antiquities

Patrick Newell, owner of JPN Antiquities in Warrenton, began buying and selling antiques in college while pursuing his business degree. He recalls, “I realized I could do something [relating to antiques] with my degree so I opened up a store in Old Town, Alexandria.” Since its early days in Old Town, JPN Antiquities has held several locations throughout Northern Virginia and now calls Warrenton home. Right across the street from Horse Country in Warrenton, the tiny shop boasts “offbeat and funky” pieces devoted to horses, foxes, cows, and chickens. Newell also sells his antiques online through Facebook and Instagram and updates his shop daily with new items. You can find his store on Instagram at @jpn_antiquities, on Facebook at @thepaupergentleman, and on Etsy using this link: etsy.com/shop/thepaupergentleman. ML

17 Horner St, Warrenton, Virginia 20186, 540-219-1952

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

A National Campaign and Local Effort for Greener Horseshows 

Written by Kaitlin Hill 

More than historic, the site of the Upperville Colt & Horse show is undeniably green. The sloping lawns, towering hundred-plus year-old trees, and the familiar evergreen paint on nearly every structure all contribute to a feeling of being one with nature upon entering the gates of the showground. And in recent years, there have been efforts to make Upperville even greener by operating the show with environmental impact in mind, led by a national campaign called Green is the New Blue and aided by local efforts supporting the cause. 

Founded by amateur equestrian Stephanie Riggio Bulger, Green is the New Blue (GNB) partners with horse shows across the country to reduce the impact of equestrian events can on the planet. Emily Cleland of GNB shares, “With year-round horse show circuits available to us, we are such a transient population. And in the effort to get from show to show, we just don’t realize the amount of waste we produce, especially in the form of plastics: supplement tubs, shavings bags, twine, water bottles… just for one horse and rider, it really adds up.” 

As the oldest horse show in the nation, it seems appropriate that Upperville was also Green is the New Blue’s original partner. Cleland says, “Upperville was actually our very first horse show partner!” She adds, “Its management team has made such a commitment to the future with their forward-thinking approaches to sustainability.” 

Caitlin Lane, executive director of Upperville Horse Shows, LLC notes, “We have been working with Green is the New Blue for a few years to develop a sustainability program. We’ve been brainstorming with them on how to expand the program and get more people involved, more sponsors.” 

For this year’s show, the team at UCHS and GNB connected with Maria Eldredge and Anne McIntosh of Middleburg Real Estate and Atoka Properties. Lane shares, “In talking with Middleburg Real Estate, we put forward the idea that we wanted to add these hydration stations and it would be something new this year.” 

Coincidentally, Eldredge explains, “Middleburg Real Estate had just come up with a new program where, as agents, if we wanted to sponsor something we could, and we’re trying to do more locally.” A single-use to reusable convert herself, Eldredge jumped the idea of sponsoring the hydration stations and partnered with McIntosh and Middleburg Real Estate to cover the $10,000 project. She says, “Instead of selling thousands of [single-use] plastic bottles, there will be tents set up with bamboo cups. You can refill your water bottle and there will be bigger jugs of water.” 

This latest initiative is one of many that Upperville has adopted to reduce its environmental impact. Lane says, “We are doing wider facility recycling. We’ve been able to recycle the shavings bags which is a big source of plastic for us. We are trying to work on where the manure goes after an event, how it can be reused.” She adds, “We’re really looking at how we can be more sustainable. It’s deliberate choices on what products we can use and how we can set things up to reduce our footprint…Ideally, we are helping spread [the idea] to other events across the country.” 

Cleland adds, “We want to see horse shows and facilities adopt initiatives that are reasonably actionable in their geographic areas. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ — some municipalities simply don’t have recycling programs for show organizers to utilize, for instance. Some facilities have the means to tackle issues like erosion and water runoff that other facilities don’t. That said, recently we’ve been inspired by the horse shows like UCHS that have substantially cut their use of single-use plastics by committing to water refill stations with compostable cups. That choice alone produces exponentially less plastic waste.”

In addition to national campaigns and locally sponsored programs, an impact can be made on an individual level too. Cleland says, “Make a habit out of bringing your own refillable water bottle to horse shows and everywhere you go! Be vocal! Let your horse show organizers and venue managers know that sustainable practices are important to you.” 

As horses, trainers, and spectators show up June 6 through 12 to enjoy the 169th Upperville Colt & Horse Show, they will take part in the new green legacy of this historic event, as Cleland says, “to preserve our planet for generations of equestrians to come.” ML

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

History on Display at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show

Written by Bill Kent
Photos by Michael Butcher 

Ask anyone within 50 miles of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show what it’s like and you’ll hear of great things. After all, the show has been going on for 169 years.

However, this year, America’s oldest show has a new designation. After more than two years of research and advocacy, Upperville is now the only showground on the National Register of Historic Places.

It can be argued that one can’t go anywhere in and around Middleburg without finding a significant connection to history. The inclusion of the Grafton Farm showgrounds on the register honors the importance of horses and the equestrian arts in the larger story of our country, as well the 1,800 horses and even more people from all over the world who will come to the region to compete this month.

Maral Kalbian, the historic preservation consultant whose application to the National Park Service won the show its registry status, credits Huntland equestrian, philanthropist, Canon, and 17th Baroness of Lochiel, Scotland, Dr. Betsee Parker’s support for the application. “Dr. Parker was the prime mover. I know that the community has wanted official recognition for quite a long time, but without Dr. Parker, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Kalbian calls the seven-day show, which begins June 6, “a jewel of a resource to have in your own backyard.” She adds, “It makes you appreciate where you are and how absolutely important the horse has been in our history.”

As an architectural historian who savors the old and the interesting, Kalbian says she fell in love with the show’s Grafton Farm site (about two miles east of Upperville on the south side of Route 50) on her first visit when she noticed “how free it was of intrusions. With just about any structure that has survived to this century, you’re going to find changes, upgrades, modern touches. You see almost none of them at Grafton Farm. If you sit in the grandstand at Grafton Farm as I did, and you look out onto the immediate surroundings and take in the unquestionably beautiful natural hills, you get a profound feeling of tradition. You don’t need much imagination to connect what’s going on right now all the way back to the time it began.”

“If you sit in the grandstand at Grafton Farm as I did, and you look out onto the immediate surroundings and take in the unquestionably beautiful natural hills, you get a profound feeling of tradition.”

– Kalbian

That’s not exactly how Olympic gold medal winner and Hall of Fame member Joseph “Joe” Fargis IV remembers his first time at Grafton Farm. “I was 12 years old and it was raining and there was mud everywhere. I was knee-deep in it and enjoying it.”

Now 74, Fargis is the president of the show and is still a leading figure in show jumping. He notes that while some things have changed, others have remained the same. “We’ve upgraded the footing so the horses can have [the] best possible surfaces to move around on, but we haven’t been able to fix the weather. When it rains, everyone feels it.”

They also feel a closeness that is not common at other horse shows. “This is the gathering of a tremendous extended family. We’re all very proud of our horses and how long this show has lasted,” Fargis says.

And there’s one thing that everyone loves, rain or shine, no matter how the competition shakes out. “It’s the oak grove. Some of these trees are quite old. Some we’ve replaced over the years with donations. You go out and stand there in the shade and look around, see your friends and family. It’s like coming home.”

The Grafton Farm oak grove is that rarest place in horse shows: a place of common ground where everyone — former and future Olympic riders, first-timers, and old-timers — meet and greet.

Among those whom you might find in the grove is Barbara Riggs, a former competitor who is now part of a group of 150 Upperville volunteers. These individuals do everything from bringing breakfast to the barns to acting as concierge for any last minute needs of the show’s participants. 

“If you’re coming to the show for the first time, every day has something interesting and exciting going on.”

– Riggs

“If you’re coming to the show for the first time, every day has something interesting and exciting going on,” Riggs advises. “But there are two events you really can’t miss. The Sunday Grand Prix, which is the top competition with the best riders and the biggest prize, and the Saturday lead-line event where you see children on ponies who may be showing for their first time. The kids you see on the ponies now are the same ones who will come back as competitors later.”

One such former lead-line participant is saddle-maker and leather designer Dorothy “Punkin” Lee. She started in the lead-line class and is now in her 25th year as a volunteer. “This show gets into you like no other show anywhere. The lead-liners come back as competitors, and the competitors become volunteers. Once you’re part of it, it’s hard to let a year go by without coming back, seeing friends and family, and serving and helping the horses. It began for the horses and it’s stayed that way ever since.”

Helping and caring for horses — in this case a struggling colt with nearly frozen feet — inspired Colonel Richard Henry Dulany to hold the very first show back in 1853. Though horses had been a fixture of country fairs previously, Dulany’s Upperville gathering was devoted to improving the care of horses and celebrating what horses can do, not just in Virginia, but throughout the emerging American nation. “And we try to keep it that way,” says Tommy Lee Jones, a third generation equestrian who has managed Upperville’s show since 1982. “[The show] is unique because of its placement — you feel you’re at a farm, out in the country, and not in a stadium or arena — and the people who have made it what it is, who have given it so much time, effort, and support. Go to the Wall of Honor and you can see some of the names of those who have come before. For every name up there, there are thousands more that have been part of it.” ML

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

How to Break into the Intimidating Sport of Fox Hunting 

Fox Hunting 101: How to Break into the Intimidating Sport of Fox Hunting 

Written by Victoria Peace

Photos by Joanne Maisano 

I stepped out of my 12-year-old Volkswagen convertible and peered down at the creek. It looked to be about a foot deep, but the water was flowing pretty fast, so it was difficult to tell for sure. I didn’t want to chance it. I hopped back into the car, reversed toward the gate that separated the creek from a larger field, and then dashed out to close it behind me. Sighing, I realized I had lost the hound truck for good. How had I found myself in this situation? It’s a long story. 

That chilly March morning, Gregg Ryan, Joint Master of the Snickersville Hounds, had invited me to witness my first-ever fox hunt. Coincidentally, it also happened to be their last hunt of the season. So, without time to borrow my Dad’s truck for the weekend, I decided to brave the morning in my trusty Volkswagen. Initially, I had only planned on watching the start. However, after Kennel Huntsman Gale Cayce invited me to follow the hound truck in my car, I accepted, not wanting to miss any of the action. 

I grew up showing in the jumper ring in southern Maryland. While I’ve always known fox hunting existed, it wasn’t until my family bought a house in Middleburg just over two years ago that I gained any first-hand exposure to the sport. Initially, I didn’t expect to spend much time in Middleburg since I was a full-time college student living and working in D.C. However, the pandemic dramatically changed my plans, and within the span of a few months, I suddenly found myself thrust into the heart of hunt country for the very first time. A passionate student of art and history, I decided to spend my summer interning for the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg (NSLM). And, it was this experience that really sparked my interest in hunting. The sense of tradition, the rich artistic heritage of the sport — I was fascinated.

Over the course of the year and a half I spent at home in Middleburg, I was lucky enough to make several amazing contacts in the fox hunting world through both my internship at the NSLM, my part-time job at a local tack shop, and my work as a contributor for Middleburg Life. Through their generous invitations, I attended point-to-point races hosted by local hunts, interviewed jockeys, and toured the Snickersville kennels. And, this was how I ended up just narrowly avoiding bottoming out my Volkwagen in a creek on that chilly but wonderful morning in March, trying to keep up with the hound truck. 

After months of learning about the world of hunting from the outside looking in, I had finally started dreaming of actually riding to hounds myself. But, there was just one problem. As many of you may know, fox hunting is not the easiest sport to break into for beginners: it requires time, patience, specialized equipment, solid horsemanship skills, and financial investment. And despite having a background in riding, there was no getting around the fact that I was a college student with no horse, no hunting experience, and limited funds. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to participate. 

That chilly March morning, Gregg Ryan, Joint Master of the Snickersville Hounds, had invited me to witness my first-ever fox hunt.”

However, the fox hunting community is one of the most open and generous groups of people I have ever met. I was continuously astonished at how willing they were to introduce a newcomer to different aspects of the sport. And when I expressed an interest in trying hunting for myself, the staff and members of the Snickersville Hunt went above and beyond to help me have a safe, and incredibly fun, first experience. Just six months after observing my first hunt, I found myself swinging into the saddle of a sturdy black-and-white horse named Rolls Royce. Nervous, but brimming with excitement, I set off with the second field. True to his name, Royce piloted me across the rolling hills in an expertly smooth manner — it was a feeling of pure joy. 

If you have ever considered trying fox hunting, this article is your sign to do so. It may seem daunting at first, but there are many resources for riders who are interested in getting involved with their local hunt. Here are some of the best ways to break into the sport from the perspective of a fellow beginner. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Research and Outreach

Most hunt clubs have websites with helpful information about their history, territory, schedule, staff, and contact information. Once you find this information, don’t be afraid to reach out! You can send a message expressing your interest to the general inbox, or to one of the masters if their contact information is listed. 

Many hunt clubs also host “Introduction to Fox Hunting” courses. These are a great way to meet the members of the hunt and gain a solid introduction to the sport. Before my first hunt, I also read William Wadsworth’s book, “Riding to Hounds in America.” It provided a helpful foundation of knowledge for what to expect in the field. 

Getting Outside the Ring

One of the biggest obstacles to hunting is learning how to ride outside of a ring over rugged terrain. This can be nerve-wracking at first, especially if you are riding an unfamiliar horse. However, a great way to become more comfortable with the environment is by participating in hunt trail rides. According to Snickersville Kennel Huntsman Gale Cayce, the trail rides are great because they give you an idea of what fox hunting is like in a casual environment before you are actually pursuing a fox and galloping through the countryside. 

However, other types of cross-country riding can also be great ways to prepare for hunting. A few months before my first hunt, I took a month-long job exercising polo ponies in Millwood, Virginia. I practiced galloping up and down hills in an open field, which was a major confidence builder for my first time in the hunt field. 

It is also important to keep in mind that there are different fields that you can ride with when you hunt. First field is for experienced fox hunters with fit horses who can jump obstacles at a gallop and keep pace with the hounds. However, second field riders have the option to circumvent jumps, and ride at a slower pace than first field. And, if you are not yet comfortable galloping, the third field or the “hilltoppers” allow riders to observe the hunt and enjoy the country at a leisurely pace. There are many options for different skill levels. 

Visiting the Kennels

While riding through the Virginia countryside is a thrill, as Cayce told me during my visit to the Snickersville Kennels, during a hunt, “the hounds are the real magic.” Understanding the hunting process, how the hounds work together as a group, and what special characteristics enable them to do their job is fascinating and contributes immensely to the enjoyment of the sport. 

Each noise a hound makes during a hunt signals something different. Experienced fox hunters can decipher this “hound music” and know exactly what is going on in the hunting process. Although, as a beginner, it’s hard to think about anything else besides staying on your horse, and staying out of everyone’s way.

  If you’re interested in trying out hunting and would like to learn about the hounds in a more relaxed environment, consider setting up an appointment to visit the kennels. Many hunt clubs are happy to have people come to the kennels and talk to the Kennel Huntsman if you reach out in advance. Several also host puppy shows, puppy walks, and hound walks, which are great ways to get up close and personal with the key players of the hunt.

Finding a Horse 

The most important aspect to having a successful first hunt is having the right horse. According to Cayce, it is important, especially for beginners, to have “a horse that takes care of you and knows a little bit more about the hunting process than you do.” 

If, like me, you don’t own a horse that is an experienced fox-hunter, don’t panic — there are cost-effective options available to you. For my first hunt, I rented a horse that was extremely experienced and took amazing care of me. This is an economical way to gain an introduction to the sport in a safe and fun manner since you don’t need to worry about buying tack, committing to a several-month-long lease, or covering trailering fees. If you are interested in renting a horse, reach out to the staff of your local hunt, and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Looking the Part

Besides the horse, the amount of stylish and specialized clothing and gear that fox hunters use might seem daunting. However, when I went on my first hunt, it was still cubbing season. Cubbing season starts in autumn and is a time when horses, hounds, and riders are focusing on getting conditioned for the months ahead. It is less formal than the regular season, and the pace is a little slower, making it a perfect time for beginners to try the sport out. The attire required is also less formal — I was able to wear the same clothing that I wore when I competed in the show ring. Each hunt does have its own guidelines about attire, so be sure to check with their website or local staff before making a final decision on what to wear. But, especially if you are going during cubbing season, you won’t have to sink hundreds of dollars into attire before finding out if you even like the sport. In addition, if you do decide to commit to buying a full hunting kit, there are several used tack and clothing stores in the Middleburg area where you will be able to find wonderful pieces at much-discounted prices.

Hunting

Gregg Ryan’s favorite part of hunting is “when the hounds are in full cry and screaming after the fox.” He explains that “both you and your horse will get your blood up and off you will go jumping and galloping along to keep up with the pack. The chase will conclude when the fox gives the hounds the slip or he will find his hole (gone to ground). You will look around and see a lot of smiling faces.”

After my first hunt, I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire day. I kept thinking about the beauty of the territory I was privileged enough to go hunting on, the incredible talent of the hounds and horses, and the feeling of community that came from experiencing both of these things with a group of other people who love the countryside and riding as much as I do. 

As someone who didn’t grow up fox hunting and who is relatively new to the Middleburg area, I wasn’t sure I would be able to participate in such a specialized sport. However, with the support of an amazing community, the many resources available for beginners here in hunt country, and a little bit of determination, I not only tried it but fell in love with it. If you are at all interested in fox hunting, reach out, attend events hosted by local hunts, and look for ways you can get involved. You never know what might happen! ML

Some helpful links to start your research:
mfha.com
blueridgehunt.org

middleburghunt.com
facebook.com/PiedmontFoxHounds
theolddominionhounds.com
snickersvillehounds.com
warrentonhunt.com

This article first appeared in the November 2021 Issue.

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