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Blog Archives: March, 2011


A Hunting We Will Go!

After enduring one of the most severe winters in recent years, three of our boarders took the opportunity of a short hunting break in Virginia at the end of February.  Steve Bernadete with Charlie, Karen Bechtel with Dougal and Gerry McNamara with Joker, accompanied by tireless hunt groom Jo Blackmore and Ruby Sparkle, based themselves just south of Culpeper near the Bull Run hunt kennels.

After an easy 8 hour drive down the horses took up residence at Stuartfield Farm where Joker was delighted to make acquaintance with a free roaming donkey and Dougal was rather less amused to discover that his next-door neighbor was a taciturn pot-bellied pig.  All the horses were kept entertained by a large pack of friendly but boisterous rescue dogs, including a Boston Terrier and a Bulldog, a Jack Russell and a Boxer, all of which bound around the premises accompanied by assorted cats, making Stuartfield a true "Animal Farm". 

Thursday's meet was at a leisurely 1 p.m. in a large stubble field seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  Rumor had it that if hounds drew in the woods behind then the afternoon would be spent in a glutonous black mud but if they drew the other way then there would be miles of open fields.  Fortunately, the latter option prevailed.  Inevitably, after days of good weather in Virginia the first rain-drops started to fall even as our riders placed boot to stirrup but pragmatism came to the fore and the field master was insistent that everyone don a suitably warm jacket before extolling them to have fun and then they were off - at the gallop, across the field, through the gate and down the farm road with Dougal and Charlie totally unable to contain themselves after weeks of circling in the indoor school in Pine Plains.

Three hours later after much good sport, incorporating numerous coops, everyone returned safely with the Cedar Crest horses and riders having acquitted themselves well and Gerry Mac's "palomino" being much admired.  Jo put the horses to bed and then a fine meal was enjoyed at The Inn at Willow Grove.

On Friday the horses were in their element, rolling in the red Virginia clay, whilst Jo cleaned their tack from the day before and then set about cleaning the horses up again.  Meanwhile, the riders enjoyed a rest day in Charlottesville, visiting Jefferson's Monticello and the grounds of the University of Virginia before dining in the historic C&O Restaurant in the warehouse district of the city.

Saturday's 10 a.m. meet at Hawfield Farm turned out to be in trappier countryside with some steeper and narrower wooded trails, but again a good time was had by all, with kinder weather prevailing, and the morning was brought to a splendid close by the provision of a hearty hunt breakfast.

With much to talk about Steve, Gerry and Karen headed back to New York City that afternoon whilst the horses rested overnight before heading north again with Jo in the morning full of tales of derring-do to tell their stall mates back at Cedar Crest.


Posted by Cedar Crest: 03/01/2011
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