Our adventure began when we arrived at our gracious host’s farm. (Who just happens to be a Master of the Loudoun Fairfax Hunt) We were led down to this fabulous little cabin that they refer to as The Master’s Cave! It was the coziest little two bedroom cabin that kept us happy and comfy for the weekend! Thank you, Karyn and Paul! XO
Friday started with a meeting at the National Sporting Library and Museum where Chasing a Fox and Middy N’ Me will be sponsoring a fashion meet and greet during the Reception and Roundtable in August. The rest of Friday was a relaxing day of Shopping in Middleburg and beyond, and visiting Cami’s horse who is hanging just outside of Middleburg. (For those of you that don’t know, Cami is my hunting buddy who breaks most of the rules) After a quiet day of shopping and lunch, we headed back to the Cabin to get ready for the cocktail party and meet up with the Ladies. The Party was hosted by the lovely Wendy Andrews and was the official announcement for the reception and roundtable discussion that will take place at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, VA on August 13th. (We’ll fill you in on all that later). As you can see from the picture a good time was had by all and what would a party be without Susan Oakes partner “Dean the Machine” keeping us all entertained!
After the party, we headed back to the cabin to rest up for the course walk the next day and the rest of the adventures that were yet to come!
When we got to the racecourse, it was great. First of all, we got to walk the course with the legendary Jerry Fishback and Donna Rogers, MFH Loudoun Fairfax Hunt; they gave their insights on the course and how it should be ridden. Lucky for us, before we walked the course, we met up with some of our racing friends and took a little Sofia Selfie. Thank Goodness they brought enough to share!!
Even the boys were trying to go sideways!
We all hitched a ride back from the racecourse!
After the course walk we had a lovely dinner at Devon’s house, thank you, Devon and George, for making us all feel so at home!
We were so excited the next morning; it was race day after all. The ladies and their horses were ready to roll, and they all looked so beautiful. I was lucky enough to be invited by the venerable Denise Lee Hamilton to join her in the judging of the best turned out rider. I learned so much from her that day, for those of you that do not know who she is, here is her bio:
Mrs. Hamilton’s judging includes the Aiken Hounds’ show in the Hitchcock Woods and horse shows sponsored by the Aiken Ladies Aside. Mrs. Hamilton is the steward at the Aiken steeplechases as well.
She began riding aside at Iris Kellets in Ballsbridge Ireland, just outside Dublin when she was 11 years old. She showed her hunter Now or Never aside pinning 1st in the side saddle class at Madison Square Garden. When it was discovered that she was too young to be considered a “lady” entry, she was eliminated and asked to forfeit the award.
Later Mrs. Hamilton showed on the east coast at several iconic venues including Washington DC, Devon, and Madison Square Garden. In 1976, she was considered to be the best side saddle rider in the United States and remained successful for many years to follow. Her hunter Philtown was reserve champion ladies and middleweight hunter at The Dublin Horse Show.
Mrs. Hamilton enjoyed foxhunting in the Untied States, Ireland, and France. She has been out with Spring Valley and Essex Hounds in New Jersey. In England, she hunted with the Quorn (the world’s oldest hunt), the New Forrest Hounds and many others. In Ireland, she enjoyed going out with the Galway Blazers, East Galway, the Kildare and the Ward Union Stag Hounds.
Denise was sharing her judging secrets with me! The lovely Sarah O’Halloran and Bernadette Boland took home the best turned out prize for the races.
The ladies were the perfect picture of elegance as they posed in front of the Oatlands Plantation Mansion. Well done to all of you, you showed every ounce of true sportsmanship!
It was a long day, and we were starving so we stopped at the Red Fox Inn for dinner. The food was great, and so was the company. We headed back to the Master’s Cave with Susan and Dean in tow, where the party continued. At one point Dean was dancing with a big porcelain bowl on his head which fell on Cami’s head and broke. It’s all fun and games till someone gets a concussion. ( I guess it was time for bed anyway)! The next moring I was up first and decided to clean up the kitchen. I was putting the dishes away and of course, I didn’t see the wasp that was sitting on the silverware as I put it away. Poor Susan had no idea that when she got up in the morning, the first thing she would find was me in the kitchen with my wasp sting that sent me to the hospital and delayed our flight till Tuesday.
You seriously can’t make this stuff up, lucky for me I had my epi-pen and Karyn, and Cami whisked me off to the emergency room. The countdown for Kentucky is officially on…….who knows what will happen there! Until next time…we’ll be busy, Chasing a Fox!