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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

Middleburg Sidewalk Sale Returns August 5 – 7

Press Contact: Marcia Massenberg
(540) 687-8990

August Brings Sales Galore in Middleburg: Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone, August 5 – 7

What: Middleburg, the quaint historic town nestled in Virginia’s horse country, is cleaning out its closets and storage areas and moving onto the sidewalks, August 5 – 7 for the 16th annual Summer Sidewalk Sale. The sale, sponsored by the Town of Middleburg and the Middleburg Business and Professional Association, will be held on Friday and Saturdayfrom 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday as posted by shops. Look for balloons outside participating shops and restaurants!

Where: The Town of Middleburg, Washington St., Madison St., and Federal St., Middleburg, Va. 20118         

When: The 16th Annual Middleburg Sidewalk Sale will be held August 5 – 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday as posted by shops.

Additional Information: For additional information, please contact the Middleburg Town Office at 540-687-5152.

Directions: Middleburg is located approximately 45 minutes from Washington, DC and is in close proximity to Dulles International Airport.  To get there from metropolitan Washington, take I-66 West to Route 50 West (Exit 57B) toward Winchester. Drive approximately 25 miles to Middleburg.  

Warrenton Celebrates 2nd Annual Juneteenth on Main Street

Story by Callie Broaddus

On Saturday, June 18th, the Main Street of Warrenton was closed to traffic as more than 1,500 people celebrated Juneteenth — a federal holiday marking the liberation of enslaved Black people in Texas two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to end slavery in the Confederacy. 

“It’s about freedom,” remarked the event’s committee chair, Dr. Tyrone Champion. He gestured to the street, lined with 68 vendors selling African American soul food, clothing, and other wares to a diverse crowd. “Freedom means equality. It means white, black, orange, green, we’re all happy in one place living together, doing the right thing — enjoying life.” 

The event featured a rap and spoken word contest and an energizing demonstration by Charlottesville’s Chihamba Dance Troupe at the Fifth Street stage with historical introductions providing context to each event. Crowds stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some spectators setting up chairs well in advance, in anticipation of the performances. Sitting under the shade of a tree with his dog while his 98-year-old mother walked through the street vendors, a federal employee named Bill remarked, “I have an international family, so I wanted to bring them to see the exposure of all the different cultures that revolve around this holiday.” 

Meanwhile, up at the Courthouse, two stylists were engaged in a hair braiding contest as three young children ran around the square blowing bubbles. Samontha Opont, whose mother Lottice Keller was one of the volunteers having her hair braided, shared a hopeful sentiment. “I think it’s beautiful,” she said with a smile, “I’ve never seen this many people come out for a social event featuring Black lives and our culture. I’m excited!” 

This year’s celebration was scaled up significantly from the 2021 edition which was held at Eva Walker Park with fewer than 15 vendors. If the mood of Saturday’s crowd on Main Street is to be trusted, Warrenton’s Main Street has just seen the first of what will surely become a favorite annual fixture for the town. 

The 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration was sponsored by the Afro American Historical Association, In A Bein, The Fauquier NAACP, and View Tree Lodge No. 142. 

Collector’s Dinner in Middleburg Brings Together International Crowd

Written by Victoria Peace
Photos courtesy of Teresa Taylor

On Saturday, May 14, Teresa Taylor hosted a Collector’s Dinner in her Middleburg home. Guests of the networking event included local Hunt Country art collectors, international art enthusiasts, and representatives from the Trotter & Sholer gallery in New York City. “Art is a passion of mine and few things are more enjoyable than celebrating the love of art with others who share the same,” Taylor said. “I wanted to bring together a fun and diverse mix of friends who may not have otherwise come together to mingle and discuss art.”

For dinner, the 27 attendees enjoyed a specialty cocktail and a four-course Thai-inspired meal prepared by Chef Cathal Armstrong. Armstrong is the owner of the acclaimed D.C. restaurant Kaliwa which is known for its innovative Southeast Asian cuisine. Table décor included pieces from artist Derek Weisberg, and artist Ezra Cohen’s work was featured in the interior of Taylor’s home.

As the evening progressed, Taylor’s guests enjoyed a view of the sun sinking over the rolling hills of the Salamander Resort & Spa. “The evening was beautiful,” Taylor emphasized. “It’s amazing how art can spark a memorable evening.”

In the future, Taylor is hoping to host another Collector’s event. She is looking forward to creating more connections between those involved in the art scene in Hunt Country, New York City, and abroad. ML

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.

A Conversation with Cinematographer Ari Wegner

A Conversation with Cinematographer Ari Wegner

Written by Kaitlin Hill

What do Lady Macbeth, a trending Twitter stripper saga, and a rancher from 1925 Montana have in common? The answer is Australian-born cinematographer Ari Wegner’s talent for translating stories to screen. At just 37, Wegner’s resume is already impressive. She’s an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award Nominee (2016), British Independent Film Awards Winner (2017), and Toronto International Film Festival Artisan Award Winner (2021). During her first visit to the Middleburg Film Festival, Wegner presented her film “The Power of the Dog” and took home the well-deserved award for Distinguished Cinematography. Starting behind-the-scenes to the big screen reveal, Wegner shares her process for producing stunning films and how she and director Jane Campion bring “The Power of the Dog” to life.

When asked how she picks projects as different as “The Power of the Dog” (2021), a moody Western with a dark secret, and “Zola” (2020) a stripper’s story that starts in a Detroit Hooter’s and unravels over Twitter, Wegner says, “It’s really the combination of the director and the script … it’s a kind of alchemy or synchronicity of those two. Once I read the script and decide that it looks interesting, I’ll meet the director and see if there is chemistry.” 

For “The Power of the Dog,” Wegner paired up with writer and director Jane Campion to adapt the 1967 Thomas Savage novel of the same name. Before learning the lighting of the landscape, framing the shots, and curating the color palette, Wegner starts new projects with a deep understanding of the director she is working with. 

“I love working with directors and really getting to know them,” Wegner says. “You find out how they see the world, what’s important to them, what interests them, how detail-oriented they are, and what details they will fixate on … I love to use that pre-production time to get to know [a director], and then be able to create a shot that, hopefully, they are going to love based on what I know about them.” 

In getting to know Campion, Wegner discovered a common interest in art and artists like American realist painter Andrew Wyeth. “Jane has a fine arts background, and my father is a visual artist,” Wegner says. “So, we both had a pretty good common language in art. And usually, one of the first things I do when I start a new project is look at art. It really is a color palette. Or look at the minimalism of Wyeth’s work, I really love that. There is a real simplicity and minimalism of people in rooms or people in nature.” 

Part-drama, part-romance, all-Western, “The Power of the Dog” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, tells the story of the Burbank Brothers and a twisted year of manipulation, intimidation, and gritty ranch work that takes place in the shadow of a menacing mountain which could fairly be considered an additional main character. 

Avoiding any spoilers, as relationships shift and minds unravel, Wegner shapes the story with captivatingly simple shots and obvious influence from Wyeth. Transitions take place through open windows with unobstructed views of the imposing mountain in the distance. And empty rooms minimally laid with color schemes seemingly straight from Wyeth’s brush increase the feeling of isolation, so crucial to the film. 

“We knew that we wanted to have a really restricted color palette … and Wyeth’s work really captured it,” Wegner says. “There is something in the atmosphere of his work that I like, the feel, the loneliness, or desperation. [His work] doesn’t romanticize the places. There is some kind of unease in his work that is hard to define.” 

More than nailing this color palette, for Wegner transporting audiences to 1925 Montana and creating believable characters was about understanding the landscape, thus creating a set that felt “lived in.” “The landscape, in this film, in particular, is more than just a setting because the characters, especially Phil, have such a strong emotional connection to the place,” Wegner says. 

Stills from Ari Wegner’s film. Photos courtesy of Netflix.

For Phil Burbank, the film’s lead played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the sprawling family is part of his personality. “We wanted [the landscape] to be beautiful, striking, and hopefully, iconic,” Wegner says. “And we were also really interested in tiny things that make up a place – whether it is a micro shot of the grass or a big wide shot of the house with the mountain behind it.” 

Beyond character and narrative development, Wegner’s blend of minuscule detail and big picture shots results in an audience experience that is immersive, captivating, and almost unnervingly real. This feat is particularly impressive, given the convincingly classic Americana Western was filmed in New Zealand. “Obviously, not all of New Zealand looks like Montana … It took some planning to make it convincing,” Wegner says, joking. “We did a lot of research and looked at photos of the landscape. I actually did a lot of driving around on Google Maps, just clicking along the road to see if this feels like New Zealand.” 

In addition to pre-production research, onset framing was essential too. “We definitely needed to choose angles that worked,” Wegner says. And where others might lean on green or blue screens, Wegner took a different approach aimed at achieving authenticity. “We actually ended up printing these billboard-sized backdrops of photos that we shot on location. We printed them, stretched them out, and had them in the studio.” Filming with the printed backdrops, “allowed me to be riskier with my work because I knew what the final [look] was, versus having to be a bit safe because I couldn’t visualize what was going on outside the windows,” Wegner says. “That was something that started as a challenge, but ended up being incredibly satisfying and also just a super cool optical illusion.” 

Perhaps optical illusionist is a better job title for Wegner, as her work on “The Power of the Dog” is nothing short of true movie magic. She pairs her razor-sharp vision with a willingness to let a film “reveal itself,” resulting in immersive viewing experiences that stay with her audiences and almost implore them to watch her films a second, if not third or fourth time. 

“I think I can adapt to any style because I can break down the elements of something and pull them apart … but the really interesting part for me is knowing what image I want to create and then to create it,” she says. “I start to plan and then it starts to reveal itself even as I am shooting it.”

Though her next project is yet unknown, her success at the Middleburg Film Festival with “The Power of the Dog” (available to stream on Netflix starting December 1, 2021), it is a safe bet that Wegner’s talent will only continue to “reveal itself” and she is certainly a cinematographer worth watching. ML

This article first appeared in the November 2021 Issue.

67th ANNUAL VIRGINIA FALL RACES WILL RUN THIS OCTOBER

MIDDLEBURG, VA — The 67th annual Virginia Fall Races will run on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at Glenwood Park in Middleburg, VA. Gates open at 8:00 am and post time for the first race is 1:00 pm.

Witness the nation’s best steeplechase horses and riders as they contend for total purse money of $110,000 over the pristine turf course at Glenwood Park, which offers the best view in jump racing, amongst the century-old oaks of the Virginia countryside.

The $30,000 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup returns as the day’s marquee race, a timber race run over three and one-quarter miles. New this year is the addition of the $25,000 Magalen O. Bryant Memorial, run in memory of Mrs. Magalen O. Bryant, an entrepreneur, conservationist, and staunch supporter of thoroughbred racing in the US and Europe. For decades, a loyal advocate and friend of the community, Mrs. Bryant’s family continues her grand legacy at the Virginia Fall Races.

Photo by Douglas Lees

Spectators are encouraged to arrive early and behold the excitement and pageantry of the Theodora A. Randolph North American Field Hunter Championship Final, which kicks off at 9:00 am. Foxhunting enthusiasts from across the country will compete for the title and $4,000 in prize money.

General Admission and Reserved Parking arrangements can be made by calling the Race Office at (540) 687-9797 or emailing the Secretary at secretary@vafallraces.com. Race day General Admission is $50.00 CASH ONLY per car (admits one vehicle and four occupants). More information is available on www.vafallraces.com as well as Facebook and Instagram.

The Virginia Fall Races has run at Glenwood Park in Middleburg since 1955.  All proceeds from the race weekend benefit the INOVA Loudoun Hospital Foundation in nearby Leesburg, Virginia. Virginia Fall Races has consistently contributed more money to the foundation than any other sporting event.

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Unbranded, A Wild Mustang Expedition

SIXTEEN MUSTANGS + FOUR MEN = ONE DREAM

Enjoy a special screening of Unbranded: A Wild Mustang Expedition at the Long Branch Historic House & Farm in Boyce, Virginia from 6-9 p.m. on June 21. 

 The documentary tracks four fresh-out-of-college buddies as they take on wild mustangs to be their trusted mounts, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Sixteen mustangs, four men, one dream: to ride border to border, Mexico to Canada, up the spine of the American West. Their wildness of spirit, in both man and horse, is quickly dwarfed by the wilderness they must navigate: a 3,000-mile gauntlet that is equally indescribable and unforgiving.

A special equineart show and history exhibit accompany the event and a wine reception proceeds the film. Presented in collaboration with Long Branch and sponsored by TDC Investment Advisors. Tickets are $10 in advance / $15 at door. Go to visitlongbranch.org for more information.

Orange County Hounds Team Chase

By Helen Brettell | Photos by Joanne Maisano

Orange County Hounds held their annual Team Chase at Old Whitewood Farm in The Plains on Sunday, Oct. 28. Despite rain the day before, the ground dried up enough for superb going on Mark and Karin Ohrstrom’s beautiful farm. Although a cold wind greeted the early comers, by afternoon the sun came out to warm the many hardy onlookers for the championship.

Hilltopper pairs kicked off the proceedings with Jane Quilter and Annabel Bybee winning the best turned out. Mo Baptiste and Boyden Rohner pleased the judges with their smooth round to clinch the best Hilltopper pair round the course.

 

In the afternoon, the First Flight teams tackled the 19 natural hunt jumps after George Kuk, Devon Zebrovious and Maureen Britell, representing Piedmont Foxhounds, won the best turned out prize. The prize for best Hunt Team went to Nina Fout, Helen Hickson and Caroline Fout from Middleburg-Orange County ( MOC) Beagles.

Throughout the event, the four judges had selected those horses which would come forward for the final test to decide the First Flight Junior Champion and the First Flight Hunter Champion. The Junior division was a tightly contested affair with Morgan Botto on Distant Strike from the MOC Beagles winning with Flora Hannum on Snickers as reserve.

Kristin Dillon-Johnson from Piedmont Fox Hounds (PFH) and Nina Fout from Orange County Hounds (OCH) have both won the coveted perpetual challenge trophy, donated in memory of Alfred Hunt, on at least two occasions and this time Kristin on Smooth Jazz came out on top to become the 2018 First Flight Champion.

 

This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Middleburg Life.

3rd annual Middleburg Music Fest International features Pianists Katerina Zaitseva and Nikita Fitenko

Pianists Katerina Zaitseva and Nikita Fitenko performed their favorite piano compositions On December 2, 2018  in the Greenhill Winery Barrel Room. The program took the audience through selected compositions by Schubert, Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov.

This event was part of the Middleburg Music Fest International, now in it’s third year, which has become a beloved yearly tradition for those who love the piano world.
After the concert guests enjoyed a reception to meet the artists and accompanied by wine and delicacies produced at the beautiful facilities at Greenhill Winery.

Dr. Zaitseva (Right) and Dr. Fitenko (Left) performing in the Barrel Room at Greenhill Winery.

About the Performers:

Internationally acclaimed pianist and Yamaha Artist Nikita Fitenko has performed recitals and with orchestras at important venues throughout Europe, Asia, South and North America. He holds degrees from the Saint Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory (BM) and from the University of North Texas (MM & DMA). He has also recorded seven commercial CDs for Altarus and Classical Records labels.

Dr. Fitenko has been invited to serve on numerous international piano competition juries. He currently holds the position of Chair of The Department of Music Performance at the Rome School of Music, Drama and, Art and at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; and he is also the Artistic Director and Co-founder of the Middleburg Music Fest International. Praised by Fanfare magazine as a pianist with an “imaginative and colorful approach”, Katerina Zaitseva has performed at major venues in the United States, Europe and Asia. Her six CD recordings released by the Classical Records label have garnered international acclaim. She is a winner of national competitions and awards including the MTNA Competition, SMU Concerto Competition, Von Mickwitz Prize in Piano as well as the University of North Texas Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award among others.

Dr. Zaitseva holds her DMA degree from the University of Maryland, Master of Music from the Southern Methodist University, Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas, and Diploma from the Music School under the Moscow State Conservatory in Russia. She is also faculty and the Levine School of Music.

Guests enjoying wine and talking to the pianist after the event. 

This event is made possible thanks to the patronage of Greenhill Winery and the support of the
Town of Middleburg. For tickets information please check the announcement on Eventbrite.com, as well as on
middleburgmfi.org and our Facebook page.
Read about last years event here. 

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