Message from the Masters: Summer Letter 2012

July 18, 2012

Dear Landowners, Subscribers and Friends,

There are several advantages to having as mild a winter as the one we just experienced: less snow to shovel, fewer school cancellations for the youngsters, lower heating bills and, most importantly, fewer missed days of hunting.  Middleburg’s hounds met a record number of times last season!

Under the caring guidance of our huntsman, Barry Magner, now in his fourth season with Middleburg, we have been treated to splendid and elegant hunting.  A whisper here, a whistle there, and the hounds, razor sharp, are always where they are supposed to be ready to show us good sport. 

Over the past few months, Barry has once again raised a large number of tri-color American foxhound puppies: thirty-four at last count.  As can be confirmed by the many Monday evening puppy walkers, these puppies are beautiful and a delight to be around. 

Our Middleburg Glory was prolific enough to have thirteen puppies. As a result, the Middleburg Hunt is the proud owner of three milk goats, that Barry milked twice a day so he could feed Glory’s thirteen puppies every four hours.  Such effort falls somewhere between dedication and insanity. The bottom line is that all thirteen puppies are happy and healthy.  The names for this litter (that tradition directs should begin with a “G” for the name of their mother, “Glory”) should perhaps in this case begin with “B” for Barry. 

Speaking of hounds, Phase One of our kennel renovation is complete.  Our historic kennels, built in the 1930’s, served us well and, over the years, work was done to keep the buildings in good shape.  The time had come however for a major rebuilding project.
New construction includes well-designed runs, efficient and comfortable lodges and handsome plantings, the latter proudly established by our staff.  Phase Two will begin soon and once complete, we hope you will join us for an “Open House” to celebrate our pack and their new digs.

By the time we begin cubbing season, we will have no fewer than forty new jumps in place across our hunt country.  Sharpen up your jumping and get fit, because these new coops will make it easier to keep up with the pack.  Needless to say, we have added plenty of gates for the hilltoppers. 

Another step in preparing for the upcoming season is to read our Hunting Guidelines that we wrote especially for our subscribers several years ago. If you do not have a copy, you can receive one from our wonderful and long standing Field Secretary, Carey Shefte, at the next Middleburg Hunt function or go to our website, www.middleburghunt.com, and click on “Guidelines”.  If you do have a copy, re-read them, as we do each season, to refresh your memory about these common sense rules that are meant to make the sport as safe and
as much fun as possible.  By maintaining the traditions of the sport, we will maintain its beauty and, with a little luck, its longevity.

Listed below are upcoming activities and the dates to save.  Get out your calendar (or tape this page to your refrigerator) and make a note of our full schedule. 

MIDDLEBURG HUNT FALL CALENDAR

  • “Get Ready to Hunt” Trail rides all four Saturdays in August at 8 a.m.:  Hard hats and negative coggins tests are required.  The charge is $15 for each ride.  There will be a jumping and a non-jumping group; refreshments will be served after each ride.  Locations are as follows: August 4 Foxcroft School (please use the stable entrance), August 11 North Fork Farm (Shelburne Glebe Road), August 18 Utopia, August 25 Laura Lea and Chet Moore’s Aurora (Tail Race Road). The Moores have invited us to a pool party following our ride.  Directions to these locations are on the website.  Be sure to check the kennel tape for updates:  (540)687-8411.
  • First day of cub hunting Monday, September 3, at the Kennels at 7 a.m.: Please park at Glenwood Park.  A tailgate breakfast will follow hosted by Noel and Jim Anderson.  In addition to subscribers, cub hunting is open to cappers.
  • Puppy Auction at Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Feneis’ Mount Harmony on Sunday, September 30, at 6 p.m.:  Jean Ann and Ralph Feneis have again invited us to the spectacular loft party room of their beautiful barn.  Complete with cocktails and fabulous hors d’oeuvres organized by Jan and Geoff Ogden, this lively party gives you the chance to purchase the right to name one of the Middleburg Hunt puppies.  There is no charge to attend.  Form a syndicate or work alone to be the successful bidder to name one of our future super stars.  Please bring your children.  They will be put to work presenting puppies, and there is no better combination!
  • Night Hunt and Barbeque at Mr. & Mrs. Rodion Cantacuzene’s Landfall Farm, Saturday, October 13, at 5 p.m.:  The Cantacuzenes provide us with a beautiful setting and a camp fire for roasting marshmallows, fun for children of all ages.  The Night Hunt attracts foxhunters and non-foxhunters alike, since riding is not involved.  After a barbeque, enjoy walking through the woods or sitting by the fire, listening to the music of the Middleburg Hunt foxhounds under the moon.  Wear comfortable walking shoes.  Bring your flash light.  You don’t want to miss this popular evening.
  • Opening Meet at Groveton Farm by the kind invitation of Mrs. William Houser at 9 a.m., Saturday, November 3.
  • Governors’ Opening Meet Breakfast in honor of our landowners at the home of Cathy and Rob Spicer at 6 p.m., Saturday, November 3.
  • Fox/Hound Day at Foxcroft School on Saturday, November 17:  The meet will be at 9 a.m. at the stable.  The field is invited to a hunt breakfast at the Head of School’s house, Covert, at noon.  As is the tradition, Foxcroft students will serve in honorary staff positions for the day of hunting.  This is one of the ways we prepare future leaders of our sport.
  • Christmas in Middleburg on Saturday, December 1:  One of our most popular meets, hounds and field parade down Main Street prior to hunting.

 

The weather continued to be quite favorable for our events this Spring.  Our successful Hunt Ball in mid-April was held at Meadowkirk, the beautiful retreat located in our hunt country on the Lime Kiln Road.  Co-chairs, Nancy West and Cathy Spicer, and their hard working committee treated us to an elegant evening of delicious food, good music and a fabulous Silent Auction.

Much needed rain came just in time for our Point-To-Point at the end of April. The good footing and mild temperatures brought out a record crowd who enjoyed well-filled races, each with an exciting finish.  An event such as this takes a tremendous group effort.  Volunteers’ gifts of time and talent, whether it is building the course, selling ads, taking entries or officiating in the tower, show the community spirit of the Middleburg Hunt. 

Each summer we have a series of informal evening activities.  Most Mondays adults and children meet at the Kennels to teach our puppies to walk on lead.  Most Tuesday evenings we meet for casual trail rides that serve as an opportunity for green horses and riders, as well as camaraderie on horseback.  Walks and trail rides are followed by picnic suppers provided by those who participate. 

On the 16th of June, a crisp Spring morning, the Harmons hosted our annual Summer Trail Ride at their Wind Fields Farm.  We made a huge clockwise circle that included several farms in that part of our hunt country: Dakota, Dresden, Spring Glade, Bronze Hill just to name a few.  Thank you to Tim and Therese for the poolside breakfast and their hospitality.  More trail riding is to come in August, so check out the calendar on Page 2.

In the midst of the aftermath of our recent summer storm that left many of us without electricity for days, Cathy and Rob Spicer persevered and treated us to an authentic Hawaiian Luau, complete with leis, native food and island dances.  What a great way to forget power outage worries - learn to hula!

All of these events bring us back to the importance we place on this community tradition of foxhunting.  Our sport continues to face challenges, the greatest of which are maintaining open space and defending ourselves against legislative and governmental actions that may restrict our sport.  We diligently work to solve these problems.

As we have said many times before, our generous landowners make foxhunting possible.  Each piece of land, large or small, is key to the sport for which the Middleburg countryside is known.  Every year more and more acres in the Middleburg Hunt territory are being protected.  Landowners are leading in this concerted community-wide effort to put land in permanent easement and are taking advantage of significant savings in their federal and state taxes.  These favorable tax laws may not always continue to exist. We are hopeful that the Middleburg Hunt will be able to celebrate hunting for many years to come and would like the opportunity to discuss and to assist our landowners in any way to preserve our hunting country.  Please feel free to contact us. 

Concerning legislation, all foxhunting enthusiasts, who are interested in preserving the sport, whether you ride or spectate, should become Subscribing Members of the Masters of Foxhounds Association.  The more foxhunting supporters shown on the MFHA roster mean more voices to be heard at the State Capitals where legislation detrimental to our sport continues to appear.  Now is the time to be counted among those who love the sport.  Your subscription includes the MFHA’s national publication, Covertside, and a handsome bumper sticker that will identify you as a foxhunting enthusiast.  To subscribe, visit the MFHA website www.mfha.org .  We encourage all to join.

If you are interested in subscribing to the 2012-2013 season, please contact one of the Masters.  We remind you of our growing category of subscriber, called “Social Subscriber.”  Social Subscribers are invited to all hunt functions and are afforded the privileges of all other subscribers, with the exception of riding to hounds.  These non-hunting subscribers are some of our most enthusiastic and add a wonderful dimension to our hunt family.  We are grateful that they are a part of the Middleburg Hunt.

This year we are introducing a new category of subscription at a reduced rate called Young Adults, age 22 to 25.  As always children under 14 (with an adult) hunt for free and juniors age 14 to 21 hunt for a nominal fee.  We want everyone to be able to afford to learn about hunting and ensure the future of our sport.  Karen and George Kingsley continue to educate, coach and shepherd young Middleburg foxhunters.  Building a stable of young entry, they prepare many talented junior riders and introduce them to foxhunting.  For information contact Karen and George at (540)974-5167. 

Please remember that hunting is a special privilege we enjoy thanks to the generosity of our landowners.  When not hunting, you must obtain specific permission from landowners for cross-country riding privileges.  These are our neighbors and should be treated with due respect. 

We look forward to sharing the upcoming foxhunting season with all of you.  We remind you that for updates, photographs, information and to contact the Masters by e-mail, please visit our website, www.middleburghunt.com

We encourage you to share with us your e-mail address.  Events happen quickly.  Whether it is a newly proposed bill in Richmond or a change in weather affecting a hunt meet, we would like to keep everyone who receives this letter - landowners, subscribers and friends - informed.  In addition, we use e-mail to announce upcoming activities; trail rides, trail clearing, puppy walking, etc.  So, please e-mail your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to info@middleburghunt.com.

Our phone numbers are listed below.  We always enjoy hearing from you and hope you will share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas; they do not go unnoticed.  What is important to you is important to the Masters.

Sincerely,

 

Jeffrey M. Blue, M.F.H.                         Mrs. John B. Denegre, M.F.H.
(540)687-5759                                        (540)687-6069