Hunt Country Heads South: Inside Florida’s Equestrian Scene

Written by Victoria Peace

For riders in Virginia, February is often synonymous with icy water buckets, endless blanket changes, and frozen footing. However, some lucky Hunt Country equestrians have headed south to wait out the winter in Wellington and Ocala.

For those of us that can’t make it down this year, Middleburg Life interviewed riders competing at the World Equestrian Center, the Winter Equestrian Festival, and on the Wellington polo fields about what the season has been like so far. Read on to hear about their experiences spending the winter in the sunshine state!

Grace Long

Grace Long, co-owner of G&T Equestrian in The Plains, has been heading to Florida for the winter annually for the past decade. This year, Long is based out of Ocala. “WEC is such an incredible place, you really can’t beat it,” she says. However, Long and her clients also travel to HITS and the Winter Equestrian Festival to compete during the winter season.

Long is originally from Australia. She studied law and economics at university and worked in that field briefly after she graduated. However, she ultimately decided that sitting in an office all day was not for her and transitioned toward riding and teaching full time. Long competed up to the Grand Prix level in Australia before moving to Middleburg ten years ago to work at Badger Hill Farm with Tom Bebb.

Five years ago, Long and Bebb founded G&T Equestrian. Today, the farm serves both hunter and jumper clients, many of whom are currently competing in Florida. “We have a great group of clients,” Long emphasizes. “We have a few clients with younger horses that they are bringing along. [Florida] is a great place to do that because there are so many different rings and they get a lot of diverse experiences.”

At G&T, Long and Bebb instruct riders and horses of all different levels from the baby green hunters up to the Grand Prix. “We really appreciate all of those levels. … We want everyone to do what they want to do but well,” Long says.

Long believes that a central part of what makes G&T Equestrian special is her partnership with Bebb. “Tom and I do everything. I’m the rider in the ring but in terms of the training and the planning and everything that’s involved, that’s really both of us,” she says. “I feel like that gives us a strong position in the fact that there’s both of us as trainers there. … We can help out everyone in the way that they need it.”

This winter season, she has brought a mare down to Florida who was off last year with an injury and has just started back up again. By the end of the winter, her goal is to have her jumping at the Grand Prix level.

Sophia Doble

Sophia Doble is spending her first winter season in Wellington this year and is planning to compete in the 6-8 goal league at Grand Champions Polo Club and the Grand Champions Women’s League.

Of her time in Florida, Doble says, “It’s a different environment, but everyone is very kind, sweet, willing to help, and welcoming. And, the horses seem to really enjoy it.”

Doble lives in Warrenton and started riding when she was 6. She took up polo at age 16 and started training with John Gobin at Twilight Polo Club in Middleburg during the summer of 2021. Doble, now 18, just graduated from high school this past December, a semester early.

Doble is most excited to play in the 6-8 goal league this season because she has never had the opportunity to play polo at that speed before. In order to prepare herself for playing in Florida, Doble traveled to Argentina from late November to early December to train with Memo and Meghan Gracida. While she was there, she purchased several horses that she is keeping in Florida for the winter.

This season, Doble is hoping to up her handicap and become a stronger player. Specifically, she plans to focus on improving her defensive skills and becoming more aggressive.  

Lane Costa

Fifth-grader Lane Costa is spending her first season competing in Florida this year. Costa and her new pony, MacGyver, have been showing in the Small Regular Pony Division at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. Costa is from Leesburg, Virginia, and rides at Rutledge Farm with Jonelle Mullen.

Costa’s goal for the season was to qualify for Pony Finals, however she already accomplished this feat her first week showing! The class she is most looking forward to showing in is the pony derby.

Costa’s favorite thing about being at WEC is that she gets to meet a lot of friends around her age. She loves getting to spend multiple weeks with her fellow riders and says that everyone is so supportive. Costa also loves WEC’s facility, and the fact that she can walk around the showgrounds and see all of the different rings and vendors. There is even a Starbucks at the show.

Costa is looking forward to consistently showing MacGyver throughout the rest of the season, getting to know him more, and becoming a real team.

Jessica Rich

Jessica Rich has been coming down to Florida for the winter on and off for the past decade. She is based out of the World Equestrian Center in Ocala this year, but in past years has competed at the World Equestrian Festival in Wellington. Rich’s successful career in riding has spanned many different disciplines including show jumping, hunters, foxhunting, racing, and polo.

Rich’s mother was one of the first women jockeys and taught Rich to ride at a young age. During her childhood in Middleburg, Rich grew up riding other people’s ponies and took lessons everywhere, including with local Olympian Katie Prudent. As a teenager, Rich broke yearlings for Paul Mellon at Rokeby Farm.

Rich galloped horses on the track for decades. Her stepfather, Billy Turner, trained Seattle Slew. Turner and Rich’s mother had a successful training business together, and Rich rode for them and had her assistant trainer’s license in many states.

Now, Rich no longer rides professionally. “At this point in my life I’m doing it more as something that’s not a job — I’m doing it because I want to,” she says. Rich does not have a set discipline that she competes in; she usually gets her horses off the track and likes to do whatever they are best at, whether that’s eventing, show jumping, or something else. However, right now, she owns a Dutch Warmblood — her first one ever — and is competing in the jumper ring.

According to Rich, when she started riding her current mare, Juno, she was practically feral. She had never worn shoes or a blanket, and while she was not wild or crazy, she had very limited riding experience. Rich brought her along slowly, and she has since shown quite a bit of talent. Rich’s goal for the winter season is to get Juno really comfortable at her job, and eventually move her up to a higher level. Right now, she’s starting to compete in the 1.10 meters. Eventually, Rich would like her to graduate to the 1.20 meters.

Rich rides with G&T Equestrian in both Florida and Virginia. “I love the training and Grace’s riding, and it’s a great group of people,” she says. “Everyone they have working here is so good with the horses. … You want to walk into the barn and have it be an atmosphere that’s happy and pleasant — not stressful. Their farm delivers on that. And, the farm in Florida is a great location.”

One of Rich’s favorite things about being in Florida is the proximity of the farm to the showgrounds. “In a place like WEC, you can get a lot done. You can go back week after week and you get a lot accomplished,” she says. “It’s nice that you don’t have to drive as much.” Back at home in Middleburg, Rich prefers to foxhunt, trail ride with friends, or do dressage. “There are so many fun things to do with a horse in Middleburg. Because my horse is so small, I even hit the polo ball off her as well!” Rich says.

Riding is not the only thing that Rich appreciates about being in Florida — she also enjoys opportunities to compete in CrossFit. Rich took up CrossFit during COVID. She was used to riding ten horses per day seven days per week, and when that number was reduced to one, sometimes two horses, not even every day, she needed something else to do. Rich previously competed in virtual CrossFit competitions but did her first in-person one in Miami this winter. She’s signed up for another one soon. “It’s fun and it keeps you fit and strong, and helps with the riding,” she says.

John Gobin

John Gobin, the founder of Twilight Polo Club in Middleburg, has been coming to Wellington for over 30 years. Gobin is the former captain of the U.S. Polo Team and has played in prestigious tournaments all over the world. “Wellington is the best polo in the country,” Gobin says. “If you want to test your skills, you do it down here.”

Currently, Gobin prefers to play in more relaxed matches during the winter season and focuses on training his green horses. He finishes them and then either sells them or brings them back up to Virginia in the spring. Several members of Twilight Polo Club also come down to Wellington to play with Gobin over the winter.

Like so many other riders, one of Gobin’s favorite things about coming to Florida is the weather, and the sheer amount of equestrian-related activities in the area. “It’s crazy how the town just explodes with horse people after Christmas — the roads are full, the restaurants are full, the tack shops are full — it’s a great environment,” Gobin says.

Michele Trufant

Michele Trufant is currently based out of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, competing in the adult amateur jumpers. She rides with Denice Perry at Skyland Farm in Middleburg. Last year was Trufant’s first year in Florida. She came for a month initially, but she liked it so much that she kept adding on a week, and then two weeks, until eventually she stayed for three months. Her favorite part about heading south is the warm weather, the proximity to the ocean, and the frequency with which she is able to ride. She also loves being able to ride to the showgrounds from the farm instead of having to worry about trailering. Often, after she is done showing for the day, she walks down to the beach and goes surfing. “It doesn’t get much better than that for me,” she says. And, as if riding and surfing weren’t enough to keep her busy, Trufant also teaches virtual yoga classes.

Trufant loves all of the opportunities to watch high-level competitions at WEF. “To be able to walk around the showgrounds and see the best riders in the world — that [is] an amazing experience,” she says. “I [spend] hours and hours in different rings watching people ride.”

Trufant began her career in riding as an event and racehorse rider before turning to the hunter jumper ring. She did not learn to ride until age 30 and had limited means at the time, so she took advantage of every opportunity possible in order to advance in the sport. “I was breaking horses, I would ride anything,” she says. “I would do anything I could to make a little money and make my dream come true.”

Trufant moved from Louisiana to Middleburg in 1995. The first job she got in the area was working for Barbara Graham at the Middleburg Training Center. During this period, Trufant also rehabbed racehorses in order to train and resell them as eventers. She took one to Denice Perry who told her, “Don’t ever jump that horse over a ditch again; he needs to be [a] show hunter!” From then on, Trufant started taking lessons with Perry and has been with her ever since. The horse, Prime Time, went on to become famous locally and was a consistent winner at Upperville.

Trufant has never set specific goals for her riding, but simply decided that she would try to be the best that she could be, no matter what that meant. And so far, this philosophy has worked beautifully. “I’ve been so satisfied,” she says. “I got to do the advanced course at Kentucky as a three-day event rider, [and] I completed Fair Hill three-star. Those are things that I never dreamt of. Both of those I came out of and thought, if I never compete again, I’m happy.”

This season, Trufant is leasing a horse for the winter. He’s so experienced, “I’m having the time of my life!” she says. ML

Published in the February 2023 issue of Middleburg Life.

Erchless: A Stunning Custom Home Situated on 53.32 Acres

3616 Millwood Rd, Boyce, VA 22620
Offered at $2,200,000
4 BD | 3/1 BA | 7,000 SQFT | 53.32 AC

Erchless — this stunning custom home situated on 53.32 acres in Clarke County was built by Ritter construction in 2007-2008. Combining a contemporary open floor plan with traditional details — 12- to 16-foot ceilings, crown molding, solid hardwood doors, custom hardware, beautiful stone exterior, hardwood floors and custom finishings — this home is exquisite, leaving no detail unfinished.

Entering this home through a custom hardwood door to a gorgeous foyer, you are invited to a charming library with custom built-ins on your right and a formal dining room to your left with attached wet bar. Continue down the foyer to a large open family room perfect for entertaining. The family room, kitchen, and large sunroom take up half of the main level open to much natural light and beautiful views of open pasture and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The kitchen is an entertainer’s delight: Sub-Zero double refrigerator, GE Monogram double wall ovens, GE Profile built-in microwave, compartmental built-in warming drawer, Wolf 4-burner gas range with center griddle and custom exhaust, GE Profile dishwasher, double sink, second sink, and disposal. Granite counters surround, custom cork floors, and top-of-the-line cabinets. Kitchen opens to a separate dining area and large sunroom with super views and natural light.

Main level Master Suite with sitting room, office, walk-in and walk-through closet, large bath with walk-in shower and soaking tub, and gas fireplace with remote is privately located in the back of the house. Large, open, and light-filled, this area is peaceful with beautiful views. Two more bedrooms are located on the main level with a full bath.

The lower level of this gracious home is also built for entertaining, an in-law suite, or a nanny living area — very versatile — 3,000+ square feet built above grade, and tons of natural light. Open with large rooms. Full bath, galley kitchen, dining area, exercise room, or bedroom. All opens to lower patio socializing space. HVAC room houses geothermal heating system, two furnaces, water treatment system, air purification system, two hot water heaters, and a utility sink. Also has loads of dry, temperature-regulated storage. The upper level of Erchless is a large walk-in attic accessed by a stairway from the laundry room — approximately 2,000 square feet. It has plenty of dry storage and a large walk-in cedar closet.

The home also has a large garage attached with entrances to the house via the laundry/mudroom and the wet bar. Laundry room/mudroom has direct access to kitchen area. Generator powered by 800-gallon propane tank powers kitchen, well, and heating system in case of power shortage.

The surrounding 53.32 acres is in great condition — hay has been made on this property for the past 25 years. The back 10-acre strip has been planted in alfalfa and the farmer will be able to harvest it until the end of 2023. A potentially perfect horse property. Property is in VOF conservation easement. Building of barns and agricultural buildings permitted. The building of an indoor arena also permitted with VOF approval of site. There are no additional DURs.

Please call agent to view or show. 24-hour notice and NO showing time.

Listed by

Anne McIntosh
REALTOR® | Licensed in VA
703.509.4499 | [email protected]
Middleburg Real Estate


Maria Eldredge
REALTOR® | Licensed in VA
540.454.3829 | [email protected]
Middleburg Real Estate

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.

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 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 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 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 for more informationML

Luxurious Littleton Farm in Upperville’s Hunt Country

33846 Foxlease Ln, Upperville, VA 20184
Offered at $8,300,000
10 BD | 9/3 BA | 11,230  SQFT | 153 AC
MLS # VALO432996

Welcome to the luxurious Littleton Farm on 153+/- glorious acres* in Upperville’s Hunt Country, part of the historical Piedmont hunt! 

This premier estate is an equine and entertainer’s paradise offering in the main house 10 bedrooms, 9 full bathrooms, and 3 half bathrooms, 3 tenant houses/apartments with a total of 9 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. 2 horse barns (12 stalls / 17 stalls), 4 run-in sheds (3 large include feed rooms, tack rooms, and extra stalls), 1 machine shed, a 6 bay garage, 1 riding ring with competitive footing, multiple fenced paddocks with automatic waterers, 2 silos with rolling hills, a lighted helipad, and trails to ride out. 

The main home offers grand living and entertaining spaces with soaring ceilings, unique and inviting gathering areas, and breathtaking views of Hunt Country’s finest land. Upon entry, you are welcomed into the living room with stunning exposed beams, 2 massive fireplaces, and patio access with views of the impeccable grounds. From the living room, flow into the guest wing or main living wing through sun-drenched hallways. The guest wing offers 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and 1 half bath. 

The main living wing of the home includes a cozy library with a fireplace, with 1 bedroom and 1 full bathroom above, 2 half bathrooms, a formal dining room, a commercial-grade kitchen, and a mudroom. Directly above the dining and kitchen area are a laundry room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 full bathrooms. Relax and unwind in the Primary Suite showcasing sweeping views from 3 balconies, offering a fireplace, a walk-in closet with ample built-ins, a bathroom with a soaking tub and standing shower, as well as a sitting room. 

Family and friends will love the extravagant theater room with a bar located in the basement. In total, the main home offers 7 bedrooms, 6 full bathrooms, 3 half bathrooms, and 7 fireplaces. 

A few hundred feet from the main home is the 60 feet pool, and a pool house complete with a steam room, large gym, 1 bedroom, and 1 full bathroom, and a stone house with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths above and a 4-car garage underneath. 

The first tenant home (in close proximity to the small barn) has 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, a large basement used as a playroom, and an attached but separate apartment with 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom. 

The second tenant home (located close to the pool house) is stone-built with 2 separate apartments, each with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The third tenant home is an apartment with 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, located above the main garage and next to an office. 

Additionally, there are multiple outdoor living spaces perfect for parties! Jacques Wertz, the world-famous Belgium landscape garden designer, was the inspiration for landscape design. Wertz is known for his signature “clouds” of beautiful boxwood creating green architecture. The boxwoods, weeping Kastura and extensive vegetable garden are a true delight. What’s more is the lovely lake, stream and waterfall features. 

The property is in Open Space Easement. *The final acreage is subject to pending boundary line adjustment. Littleton Farm is conveniently located 38 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport, and 52 miles from our nation’s capital.

Be sure to see this link for video, floorplans, and additional photos.

Listed by
Peter Pejacsevich | Principal Broker + Managing Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 


Scott Buzzelli | Associate Broker + Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 

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