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hunting 2012-2013

August 2, 2018

dear Landowners, Subscribers and Friends,

We three Masters are inspired, having gained a new appreciation of American history, Virginia’s history and our foxhunting heritage. We have just returned from attending the Masters of Foxhounds Association’s 2018 Biennial Seminar, covering three days of educational sessions on foxhunting subjects, ranging from opening new territory to selecting the appropriate type of hounds for your country.

In addition to exploring current topics, this year the Biennial Seminar had an historical bent. Organized by Joint Master Penny Denegre, it took place at Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, America’s first President and most famous foxhunter. Mount Vernon is where Washington established his pack of foxhounds, built his kennels and spent countless days foxhunting. He kept a foxhunting diary and made copious notes about the hounds he bred.

The seminar celebrated Washington’s passion for foxhunting and how it affected his life and the formation of our nation. Lord Fairfax, one of the wealthiest and largest landowners in the colonies, introduced Washington to foxhunting and they became good friends as a result. This friendship led not only to employment as Lord Fairfax’s surveyor, but also to social connections that aided Washington in his military career. In addition, his time riding cross country gave him skills that made him a better general. It truly was inspiring to explore our special link to Washington, a fellow foxhunter, whose decisions and actions changed the course of history.

Speaking of history and historic kennels, last March Dr. Betsee Parker invited us to help celebrate her recently completed and meticulously accurate restoration of the kennels on her estate, Huntland, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The kennels, designed and built by Joseph B. Thomas in 1911, are the oldest of their kind in North America and were state of the art for the time. With the help of the Middleburg hounds and staff, Dr. Parker hosted a demonstration of how the kennels operated in 1918, including the use of a tunnel system hounds use to get from the kennels to their grass yard. Our hounds spent the night in the kennels, and Middleburg had its hunt meet there the following day. This marked the one hundredth anniversary of the last use of this structure as kennels. We were happy to be a part of this event, the proceeds of which benefitted the restoration of the new MFHA Headquarters in Middleburg. Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Parker for preserving this piece of foxhunting history.

We have just completed work on our own kennel property. It has included the updating of staff housing, remodeling of the stable, construction of an equipment shed and huntsman’s office and improvements to the Puppy Palace. As we look to the future, the welfare of our staff, hounds and horses is foremost in our minds.

Our hounds competed at the Virginia Foxhound Show. They got several ribbons, including the blue in the Entered Bitch Class that was awarded to our “Kisses”. At our 2016 Puppy Auction, the right to name “Kisses” was purchased by Jan and Geoff Ogden, long-time supporters of the Middleburg Hunt. Good eye, Ogdens!

Our enthusiastic huntsman, Richard Roberts, returns this year for his second season. He will be supported by first whipper-in, Lisa Tartaglia, and our new barn manager, Jilian Kimball. Richard and the staff are clearing trails and installing well-constructed and well-placed hunt panels. It is time to prepare for the hunting season that is right around the corner.

Listed below are activities and the dates to save for this season. Make a note on your calendar of our full schedule.

MIDDLEBURG HUNT FALL CALENDAR 

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 in the face of aggressive development and defending ourselves against legislative and governmental actions that may restrict our sport.

We appreciate our open space and hope to preserve it for future generations. 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 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.

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. 

Legislators respond to numbers. 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.  By increasing the numbers of foxhunting supporters on the MFHA roster, more voices will be heard at the State Capitals where legislation detrimental to our sport frequently appears.  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 becoming a Middleburg Hunt subscriber for the 2018-2019 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.

The category of subscription called Young Adults has been quite successful. It affords foxhunters age 22 to 25 the opportunity to subscribe at a reduced rate.  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.

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

Also on our website are our Hunting Guidelines that we wrote especially for our subscribers. In preparation for the upcoming season, we suggest that you read them 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.

We encourage you to share with us your e-mail address.  We use e-mail to communicate information about upcoming activities. When time allows, we e-mail announcements and last minute changes.  So, please send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to info@middleburghunt.com.

Speaking of last minute changes, we advise subscribers to check the Kennel recording at (540) 687-8411 each hunting day before you leave for the meet.

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.                         Timothy B. Harmon
(540)687-5759                                      (540)687-6069                                                  (202)596-5117