Category Archives: Foxhunting

Orange County Hounds

A beautiful autumn day with Orange County Hounds in Middleburg, Va. The hunt meet location was lovely.Orange_County_Hounds_Middleburg_va

A whipper-in watching for the hounds


The huntsman in the woods. orange_county_hunt_staff_middleburg_va

Members enjoying the fabulous weather and great ride.



Would you like some photos of your favorite foxhunter? How about a photo session jumping coops in the hunt field? Give us a call, 540-316-0177.

North American Point-to-Point Association Championships

On Sunday I went to the North American Point-to-Point Association Championships for the first time. I frequently photograph the junior field master chase races at various point-to-point meets but never this one and it was lots of fun. It was held at Great Meadow and used many of the same obstacles used during the Gold Cup field master chase and Steeplethon races. One lady, looking a bit stunned, noted that they don’t see those types of obstacles in kids’ races in Pennsylvania.

Snickersville provided the outriders and just before the first race, the hounds paraded on course as it began to pour. They gamely came through the water obstacle, although I suppose at that point they couldn’t have gotten much wetter.

NAPPA Championship

Perhaps my favorite event of the day was the lead line races, which were much more exciting than sedate lead line classes at hunter shows. The rules stated that if the pony cantered, the leader had to circle and stop for a few seconds before trotting on. This was the first division for five year olds and under; in their little racing silks they were simply too cute for words.

NAPPA Championship

They held a Foxhunter Steeplethon, a cross between the regular foxhunter races we commonly see at point-to-point meets and the Steeplethon run at Gold Cup and a few other National Steeplechase Association meets. It was 2 3/4 miles long and wound all over the race course, going through the water obstacle twice. The first time through the water, Global Genius dumped Natalie Wales in the drink but ran and jumped with the rest for the remaining 2 miles. He didn’t stop until the very end when he saw the truck and trailer that was there for emergencies and decided he’d rather get a ride home.

NAPPA Championship

Three fences from home, Tate Shaw and Ice Is Nice were running and jumping well in the lead but after the stone wall they turned left instead of straight and went off course. Seems to me this pair did something similar at Piedmont…

NAPPA Championship

At that point there were only two horses left in the race and at the last jump Bart Poole and Jeb’s Crowner parted ways. I told Bart as he got to his feet that in the old days he could have gotten back on and finished the race but he said no, thanks.
NAPPA Championship

Meanwhile, Orlik ran out with Alex Bazdar at the last jump while Jeb’s Crowner was coming to grief. Alex circled around, took the last jump and headed to the finish but she was disqualified by the stewards.

NAPPA Championship

It was the first race I’ve seen where no one finished.

The last race of the day was a flat race for NAPPA alumni. Rosie Napravnik, who rode Pants on Fire in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, competed on Classic Storm, a horse trained by her steeplechase trainer sister, Jazz. No wonder Rosie rides on the flat because she’s a little bit of a thing. Unfortunately, although Classic Storm is very handsome, he doesn’t run as fast as Pants on Fire. 🙂

NAPPA Championship

A great time was had by all and I encourage you to check out NAPPA’s schedule for future events.

Also posted in Horse Racing, Steeplechase

Winter Fox Hunting

We have had unusually cold weather for December here in Virginia and conditions have not been great for foxhunting. Some meets have still been held, however, and here are a few shots from Bull Run Hunt and Old Dominion Hounds. For more foxhunting photos please visit Susan M. Carter Photography.

It snowed about 10 days before Christmas and most clubs canceled but Bull Run Hunt did not. As they said on the hunt monitor, they were going, “rain, sleet, snow or shine.”

Bull Run takes out more hounds than some of the other clubs.

They also take a sensible approach and dress informally in bad weather.

The meet left from their kennels and not all the hounds were happy to be left behind.

Old Dominion went out a few days later after some of the snow had melted but it was still very cold and the ground was slippery.

The hounds flushed a fox within the first five minutes but quickly lost the scent in the windy conditions.

It’s not just hounds that don’t want to be left out of the fun – this horse jumped out of his pasture and ran after the hunt. The miscreant was captured and returned home.

The ground proved too slippery and when one of the horses fell, they gave up and called it a day.


Old Dominion Hounds

Old Dominion Hounds started cubbing over Labor Day weekend. I only stayed for a little while to take some photos of the start. For more photographs please visit the foxhunting gallery at Susan M. Carter Photography.

A foxhunter prepared a horse on the trailer.


The morning light was pretty but it has been so dry that trailers driving across the grass stirred up clouds of dust.

Horses and riders were beautifully turned out. This pair looked ready for a Dover catalog.


Huntsman Gerald Keal brought the hounds down from the kennels.


One of the hounds


The hounds around Gerald were eager to get started.


Hunt Night at Warrenton Horse Show

I filled in on Sunday night to photograph Hunt Night at the Warrenton Horse Show. I have to confess I have lived in the Warrenton area for seventeen years and photograph lots of foxhunting but had never been to Hunt Night. Jordan Koepke told me this would be nothing like photographing a regular hunter show and she was certainly right. Many of these classes are for foxhunters, not show horses, and the entries have to be fairly hunted, which means they have spent a certain number of hours in the hunt field.

There was a pairs class that was very different from the pairs classes I used to ride in as a child. Those were under saddle classes where you rode side by side and were judged on your ability to keep your horses together and synchronized. Keeping horses together and synchronized is still the goal of the Hunt Night pairs class but it is held over a course of eight fences around 2’9. Most teams rode in tandem, some staying very close together or switching leaders during the round. However a few rode abreast and were very impressive indeed.


Daylight rapidly faded and classes continued under the lights. The ladies side saddle division is held on Hunt Night although these are not necessarily foxhunt horses. Penny Denegre and Garnet swept the division winning every class. I don’t know if Garnet hunts but Penny certainly does and is joint master of Middleburg Hunt.


One of the most exciting classes is the Hunting Staff Class, open to past and present staff members of foxhunt clubs. The prize list states that it will be held over a “modified handy hunter course” but this is a far cry from any handy hunter class you will see at other hunter shows. The entrants had to trot a skinny, blow their horn or shout view halloo, drop a ‘hot’ wire, jump a fence with an approach so tight it had to be done from a walk and crack their whip at a halt and a gallop. While the Sun Shines gallops as Warrenton Huntsman Matt Van der Woude cracks his whip. The pair won the award for the best turned out.


There was a much more sedate Masters Class for past and present Masters of recognized foxhound packs. Joy Crompton of Farmington Hunt and Seamus won the class.


The last class of the night was the Hunt Teams class where three horses jump in tandem over the course until the last fence where they try to synchronize and jump together.


The show didn’t end until 1am, at which point, I wasn’t the only one who was very tired!


Photos of Hunt Night can be found on Daniell DeLapp Photography. Please take a look and enjoy them!

Dawn at Long Branch

I got up early this morning to be out at Historic Long Branch by 6am. It was dark for most of the drive but I was expecting a sunrise similar to the lovely one I watched yesterday from my window at work. To my chagrin it was very foggy in Millwood and as time passed I worried that the sunrise was going to be completely overcast.


It stayed misty but fortunately cleared enough for the sun to break through.


Long Branch is an historic mansion built in 1805 and some eighty horses live on the grounds in a beautiful environment.


This morning, the horses were very stirred up and curious about activity in the neighborhood. The very fat bay on the left is mine.


It turned out that today was the first day of cubbing for Blue Ridge Hunt and they were hunting all around Long Branch.


The hounds picked up scent and I think they may have put a fox to ground. I left my car in the middle of the road to grab some shots as the hounds ran by.


The weather service is predicting temperatures in the 90s next week but if foxhunting has begun, I guess it’s officially autumn!

Also posted in Horses at Liberty

Some Recent Hunter Paces

The spring hunter pace series in Virginia was shortened due to the harsh winter but still offered lots of great courses across beautiful countryside. For more photos, please visit Susan M. Carter Photography.

Each course had a variety of jumps. Old Dominion had timber fences.

Piedmont is well known for its beautiful stone walls.

This year, Rappahannock had some lovely stone walls, as well.

Orange County had lots of coops that jumped very well.

As always, hunter paces are a family affair for participants of all ages.

And everyone has a really good time.


Old Dominion Hounds Junior Meet

Old Dominion Hounds hosted a junior meet with the Old Dominion Region Pony Club on Saturday. There were lots of juniors and the field was very large.

Everyone helped get the ponies ready to hunt.

One lucky rider got to ride with the Master and lead the field.

The field stretched for a long way.

The hounds were enthusiastic

The whips had to hustle to keep up with the hounds

Some riders and ponies were very small.


Jr Field Hunter Championships – Finals

The finals of the 2009 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships were held on November 1st in The Plains, Va. More than 60 children qualified from hunt clubs up and down the east coast in three divisions: hilltoppers, first flight 12 and under and first flight 13 and over. More photos can be found on Susan M. Carter Photography.

The contestants rode in a mock hunt across some beautiful countryside.

M. Douglas Wise, MFH and Mrs. Robert “Iona” Pillion led the groups.

Cross country obstacles included logs, timber jumps, coops and stone walls. The contestants rode extremely well.

Among other challenges, the finalist testing required participants to drop a rail and lead their horses over it.

Braiding was discouraged but there were some cool clips.


Casanova Hunt Opening Meet

Today was the 100th anniversary of Casanova Hunt. The Blessing of the Hounds was held at the Casanova Green and the hunt conducted on Spring Hill Farm, the largest Thoroughbred breeding farm in Virginia.

This hound wanted a personal blessing from the huntsman during the opening ceremony.
There was some lovely foliage.

A whipper-in with the field behind him.

Horses and riders were beautifully turned out.

The weather was very warm and the hounds and horses needed a drink.

And so did the riders.