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

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 – – 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


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.

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.

Graham Watters on Storm Team Takes Home the NSLM Cup 

Graham Watters on Storm Team Takes Home the NSLM Cup at The Va Fall Races 

Photos by Joanne Maisano 

Nothing sets the tone for the changing season in Virginia quite like watching the steeple chase horses and riders race across the open fields with the fall foliage beginning to show in the distance. This past Saturday did not disappoint as the 67th annual Virginia Fall Races were held on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at Glenwood Park in Middleburg, VA. 

New this year was 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. Pathfinder Racing’s Knockholt won the $25,000 Magalen Ohrstrom Bryant Memorial under jockey Gerard Galligan and trainer Neil Morris. 

Graham Watters on Storm Team, owned by Sheila J. Williams and Northwoods Stable and trained by Jack Fisher took home the prize for the $30,000 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, a timber race run over three and one-quarter miles. 

NSLM Cup, VA Fall Races

A Record $180,000 in Net Income Raised At NVTRP Largest Annual Event

Photos by: Tony Gibson/

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) held its 15th annual Polo Classic on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA.

The event was a huge success – with a record-setting net income of $180,000 to support program operations – while complying with all safety standards and protocols for a safe, in-person fundraiser in light of COVID-19.

“What a spectacular day! We are so grateful for, and could not do it without, all of our sponsors, guests, volunteers and staff that make NVTRP’s largest annual fundraiser such a success,” shares NVTRP Executive Director, Kelsey Gallagher. “It takes a village and we are truly thankful to have such a passionate group of people that care about and support the work we do.”

Guests were treated to an afternoon of polo, live and silent auctions, music, drinks, and dining in the heart of Virginia’s picturesque hunt and wine country. The event benefits NVTRP’s mission to provide equine-assisted services to children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk, military service personnel, and their families. All proceeds are used to subsidize lessons for NVTRP clients and assist with general operations at the farm.

The COVID-friendly event format included individual guest tents with private lawn and deck space to allow for social distancing, a self-serve bar area, boxed or plated meals, increased restroom facilities, and contactless registration. This year, we were also able to offer a limited number of general admission tickets while still maintaining a safe and COVID-conscious environment.

Above: NVTRP established the “Greg Pellegrino Excellence Award” which will be presented annually to a military client who has demonstrated excellence in pursuing both their own recovery and the advancement of the NVTRP community. The Greg Pellegrino Excellence Award was presented to Carol Baillie. Carol is an 8-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard.

Special events included music by local artist, Jahnel Daliya, the Color Guard of St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC accompanied by NVTRP military riders and NVTRP therapeutic riding clients participating in a halftime quadrille – a choreographed drill pattern on horseback set to music.

Will Thomas, NVTRP Board Member and Vice President at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, and Sherrie Beckstead, partner at Liljenquist & Beckstead Jewelers, returned to co-chair the event and were joined this year by honorary co-chair and respected entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sheila C. Johnson.

Above: Sherrie Beckstead, Sheila C. Johnson, and Will Thomas

Many individuals and local businesses donated more than 100 items to this year’s live and online silent auctions, including weekend getaways, golf packages, restaurant gift certificates, autographed sports memorabilia and more. 

A special thank you to the lead 2021 Polo Classic sponsors: ITCON, Crescent City Charities, Deloitte, AT&T, Gary Cubbage, Barry & Alla Cline, The Peterson Family Foundation, Ginny & Bill Craig, Sheila Johnson and Salamander Resorts, Sherrie Beckstead, Will Thomas, and Campbell Wealth Management.

The MVP award was named in honor of Debbie Nash, a champion in growing the NVTRP Polo Classic

About NVTRP: Originally chartered in 1980, NVTRP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping individuals realize their highest potential by providing equine-assisted services to people with disabilities, youth-at-risk, 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. Riders participating in NVTRP’s program represent a range of disabilities, including attention deficit disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, and genetic syndromes. NVTRP 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). NVTRP is located in Clifton, VA. For more information on NVTRP and more on this event go here.

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Will Ballhaus received the Debbie Nash MVP award.

This article was published in October 2021


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 Race day General Admission is $50.00 CASH ONLY per car (admits one vehicle and four occupants). More information is available on 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.


A Visit to the Museum of the Dog

Story and Photos by Richard Hooper

Middleburg and its surroundings are well-known as an epicenter for horses and hounds. Not surprisingly, the area is a haven for dog lovers. As such, it is great news that the Museum of the Dog is now back in New York, just a short trip away.

Alexander and Diogenes, a painting after Sir Edwin Landseer, 19th century.

Having visited the museum in its previous location, I knew something of the delights that were in store and eagerly awaited its return to the Big Apple. The museum was founded in 1982 and originally known as the Dog Museum of America – American Kennel Club Foundation. It was housed within the lobby of the New York Life building, where the AKC also maintained offices at that time. In 1984, the museum was relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where it remained for 35 years, returning to New York for a grand opening in February of this year. As in real estate, “Location, Location, Location” evidently applies to museums as well. As Alan Fausel, Executive Director of the museum, stated, “In 16 days in New York, the museum doubled the attendance of a year in St. Louis.”

A painting of a pug by Ramsay Richard Reinagle, early 19th century.

It is an abundant feast for dog lovers and lovers of dog art and all things dog. Paintings line the walls, sculptures add a third dimension, and ornate, silver trophies dazzle. There are interactive videos for adults and children. An impressive stairway wraps around a 34-foot tall glass display case with levels of shelving supporting small bronzes and ceramics ranging in styles from Meissen to kitsch, from serious to whimsical. There is a wonderful dog cart that would have entertained an affluent Victorian family and an intricately detailed, small, wooden dog house for a lucky Chihuahua. For those interested in canine-related research, a portion of the AKC’s impressive book collection is housed in the museum, while the rarer books are in the AKC’s offices, located elsewhere in the building.

In the Dog House, a painting by Joseph Henry Sharp, 1882.

Along with aesthetic pleasure, canine art offers social insight into the interactions of dogs and humans in various themes, including sporting, allegory and morality, and genre scenes of everyday life. In its opening exhibition, the museum displayed a number of paintings within these categories. Joseph Henry Sharp’s painting from 1882, “In the Dog House,” depicting a young child inside a dog house that is being guarded by a mastiff.

Edwin Landseer used a supposed encounter between Alexander the Great and Diogenes (who lived in an overturned, ceramic wine vat and carried a lantern during daylight looking for an honest man) as an inspiration for a painting with seven breeds of dogs. The story goes that when Alexander found the Cynic philosopher Diogenes stretched out, warming himself with sunlight, he stood in front of him, unintentionally blocking out the sun and asked Diogenes if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes replied, “Please step out of my sunlight.” In the painting, there is a distinct sneer on the muzzle of Diogenes, with Alexander and the other dogs clearly taken aback. Alexander went on to say that if he were not Alexander he would wish to be Diogenes, to which Diogenes replied, “If I were not Diogenes, I would still wish to be Diogenes.”

Alan Fausel, Executive Director of the Museum of the Dog, with a painting by Percival Rousseau.

There are several displays focused on war dogs. One is of Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1943. She was Australia’s first war dog and served for 18 months during WWII as a mascot for Australian troops. Included among the items on display are Smoky’s parachute, her Australian Defense Force Tracker and War Dog medal, and photographs and artwork depicting her her. There is also a recent bronze sculpture of Sgt. Stubby, a WWI dog wearing a uniform made by women of Chateau-Thierry, France. Stubby, a stray, wandered onto the athletic field at Yale where the 102 Infantry was training. He was adopted by Robert Conroy, who smuggled him aboard the ship carrying the 102nd to France, where he saw 210 days of combat on the front lines. Wounded in action, Stubby, could detect gas attacks and incoming artillery before anyone else. He captured a hiding German soldier and killed the rats that plagued the trenches.

An elaborate silver trophy for the Bull Dog Club of
America, 1891.

A new exhibition, opening July 7 and running through Sept. 8, is entitled “Women and Dogs in Art in the Early 20th Century.” It will feature the work of Maud Earl, Lucy Dawson, Mildred Megargee, Diana Thorne and others. So, along with the Met (museum and opera), broadway, restaurants and shopping, the Museum of the Dog is something well worth to one’s New York itinerary. It is located at 101 Park Avenue and is open from Tuesday through Sunday.

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.

Hunt Country Tour: A Ticket to Adventure

Story by Michelle Baker
Photos by Joanne Maisano

The Hunt Country Tour ticket is much more than a ticket to visit equestrian centers. It is a two-day admission ticket to another way of life, a pass to a lecture, a ticket to a movie, a time to meet and greet with entrepreneurs, plus a VIP Pass to meet world renowned equestrians. The $35 Stable Tour Admission ticket is a weekend adventure.

(Above: Gum Tree Farm Designs owner Franny Kansteiner with Rosie in her on-site store.)

Today’s version of life on a farm is very different than 50 years ago. The 60th anniversary of the Hunt Country Stable Tour gave visitors a behind-the-scenes look at equestrian Virginia and a peek at the grandeur of some of the finest equestrian facilities in the world. Organized by three-time Chair Katherine “Kat” Gemmer, the event was held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 25 and 26, featuring autograph sessions, demonstrations, exhibitions, book signings and concerts and 150 volunteers per day.

(Above: Long Line demo of Roy Rogers at Orange Hill.)

“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of farm owners and managers, the Stable Tour offers a remarkable opportunity to appreciate all of God’s creation and the interdependence of the land, animals, and people,” said Trinity Episcopal Reverend Edward O. Miller, Jr. “Observing this delicate balance provides both the refreshing day and implicit reminder that caring for the earth and for one another is imperative now and for the future.”

At Church: A Good Place to Start

On Saturday, those who stopped in Upperville at Trinity Episcopal Church to pick up their tickets were able to greet the Piedmont Foxhounds in the Bishop’s Garden and have a photo opt with some of the hounds and meet the Masters. It was also the place to enjoy some Rockland’s barbecue and visit the Lemonade Stand, manned by the church youth. On Sunday, visitors and parishioners enjoyed the Trinity Episcopal Church Cathedral brass quartet.

On the Farm

While the sheep shearer talked to visitors and worked, Gum Tree Farm Designs owner Franny Kansteiner packed the clippings both days and answered questions. The hands-on owner grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and was happy to share her story with the curious crowd who asked everything from “does it hurt the sheep to get sheared” to what does “farm to fashion” mean.

(Above: Sheep of Gum Tree.)

“We thought, between the vegetable garden and the sheep, we would raise everything here and I was spinning and knitting and that is how we ended up getting into it,” said Kansteiner who bought three sheep and now owns hundreds. Today, she raises merino wool sheep on her farm, creates beautiful handmade items, and promotes the “farm to fashion” movement. Her business continues to expand with a new men’s line of vests, shirts and soon lined slippers.

Early tour birds who dropped by newly refurbished Middleburg Training Center in Middleburg watched thoroughbred horses being trained on the race track. The tour ticket included an opportunity to meet world-renowned equestrians at state of the art indoor arenas, like Chestnut Run Farm in The Plains where Alexandra Arabak entertained visitors. At Poplar Grange Farm in Marshall, Lindsay Kelley, a competitive international three-day event Rider, FEI winner and avid foxhunter with the Piedmont Foxhounds and Orange County Hunt performed dressage.

(Above: Poplar Grange.)

At Salamander Resort & Spa Equestrian Center in Middleburg, AQHA expert Mike Jennings introduced spectators to the Western style of riding. And at Saint Bride’s Farm in Upperville, the staff introduced a new addition to their stable. Sunday was the place to be when the Saint Bride’s farm team presented brand new foal Oceana and his mom Tua efele. Saint Bride’s Farm specializes in breeding, training and showing off world-class show jumpers.

(Above: Gum Tree Stable.)

Visitors to Oak Spring Garden Foundation Upperville, part of the Paul and Bunny Mellon estate, could view a movie about the gardens, see the work being done on site and tour the brooder barns. Peter Crane, a renowned botanical researcher and evolutionary plant scientist, and his wife, Eleanor, were onsite.

(Above: Tack Room at Chestnut Run Stable.)

“We are very fortunate. Sir Peter Crane and Lady Eleanor Crane have been here both days,” said Buckey Slater. The perfect way to end the two-day adventure was at Banbury Cross Polo in Middleburg for free Sunday afternoon polo. Hunt Country Tour Ambassador Betsy Crenshaw said some 800 tickets were sold over the two days. The church netted $53,000, which was on par with last year’s receipts.

(Above: Chestnut Run.)

It’s almost like being on a two-day outdoor classroom experience, Crenshaw said. “When you go to the barn to see different styles and different techniques, you are learning. I’m always interested in how people are doing things. You pick up pointers. And if you’re going to learn about the industry, you want to learn from the people who are doing it right.”

(Above L to R : Inside Saint Bride’s Stable and Orange Hill)

The organizers of the tour remembered one such gentleman, accomplished horseman S. Bruce Smart, who for decades welcomed Trinity Church Stable tour guests to their historic 530-acre horse farm, Trappe Hill. This year Trappe Hill was not on the stable tour, but the owner was remembered with a tribute in the program.

(Above: Future race horse from Chilly Bleak farm.)

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.

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.

A Look Back at the 2018 International Gold Cup

Photos by John Scott Nelson Photography

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these riders from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. While the International Gold Cup like the United States Postal Service has no official motto, the die hard Gold Cup fans could steal the postal workers motto for this October’s event.

Despite the not so cheery weather, fans donned their best hats and put on their smiling faces to brave the damp weather and enjoy what turned out to be an exciting day at Great Meadows on Saturday, Oct. 27.The lush green grass was a bit wet and made for some muddy boots, but the steeplechase races went on and the horses didn’t seem to mind. The day didn’t go to the dogs. However, the entertaining Terrier Races in the paddock did start the day and grabbed everyone’s attention. 

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