Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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."

Foxhunting in the snow. horse, rider, hounds. Bull Run Hunt
Bull Run takes out more hounds than some of the other clubs.

foxhounds in snow. Bull Run Hunt
They also take a sensible approach and dress informally in bad weather.

horses and riders in snow. Bull Run Hunt
The meet left from their kennels and not all the hounds were happy to be left behind.

foxhound in snow, Bull Run Hunt

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.

foxhunting, Old Dominion Hounds
The hounds flushed a fox within the first five minutes but quickly lost the scent in the windy conditions.

foxhunting, horse, Old Dominion Hounds
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.

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

Old Dominion hounds, foxhunting, horses

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Virginia Point to Point Champions 2010

I photograph lots of Virginia's point-to-point meets (and we have many) and want to congratulate the Virginia Point-to-Point Assocation champions for 2010.

Timber horse of the year was Endless Mountain, seen here with Ben Garner.

Endless Mountain, steeplechase horse racing
Hurdle horse of the year was Fantastic Foe, here winning at Old Dominion with Liam McVicar

Fantastic Foe, steeplechase horse racing
The owner rider series was won by Crypto Cousin and Pat Cooney. He didn't win this race at Piedmont but was making sure he didn't touch these stone walls!

Crypto Cousin, steeplechase horse racing
The amateur/novice rider hurdle series was won by Meshwaar with Sam Cockburn.

steeplechase horse racing
Natalie Wales won the lady rider timber series.

steeplechase horse racing

The foxhunter timber series was won by Shesacraftydame and Bryan McDonald.

steeplechase horse racing

Jeff Murphy was the leading rider over fences,

Jeff Murphy, steeplechase horse racing

Sam Cockburn was the leading novice rider over fences,

steeplechase horse racing

and Ben Garner was the leading novice rider on the flat

steeplechase horse racing

I was going to use these pictures that I took of Jeff and Ben but decided they might prefer something different. :)

The Virginia Bred flat series was won in commanding style by Over the Lea

Over the Lea

I'll see everyone at Casanova in February for the start of the 2011 point-to-point season, assuming we're not snowed under again!

Steeplechase Champions 2010

Congratulations to all the 2010 National Steeplechase Association champions. I've had the privilege to photograph a fair number of the winners but not nearly as many as I would have expected considering that Virginia hosts far more sanctioned steeplechase meets than any other state, fourteen in 2010. But here are some photos of those that I was lucky enough to shoot.

Slip Away won the National Steeplechase championship this year, earning $191,500. Sadly he only raced once in Virginia this year at one of only two sanctioned meets I did not photograph. Here he is last year winning the Noel Laing hurdle stakes race at Montpelier.

Slip Away, steeplechase horse racing
Bubble Economy was the champion timber horse, shown here winning the Virginia Gold Cup with Paddy Young.

Bubble Economy, Virginia Gold Cup, steeplechase horse racing
Ptarmigan was the filly and mare's champion, seen here winning at Foxfield with Jeff Murphy.

Ptarmigan, Jeff Murphy, steeplechase horse racing
The leading jockey in terms of both number of races and money won, was Paddy Young. Here he is at Morven Park.

Paddy Young, steeplechase horse racing
And riding Love Colony.

Paddy Young, Love Colony, steeplechase horse racing
Darren Nagle was the amateur jockey champion with ten wins. Here he is on Dubai Sunday at Colonial Downs.

Darren Nagle, Dubai Sunday, steeplechase horse racing
And also on Coupe de Ville.

Darren Nagle, Coupe de Ville, steeplechase horse racing
Roddy Mackenzie was the leading apprentice jockey for the year. Winning at Colonial Downs.

And riding at Morven Park

Irv Naylor was this year's leading owner. Here he accepts the cup for Decoy Daddy's win in the Noel Laing Memorial Stakes race this year at Montpelier.

Irv Naylor, steeplechase horse racing
The winning trainer was Jonathan Sheppard, who is in the Racing Hall of Fame and this year reached his 1,000th career victory over fences. Here he is at Colonial Downs following Barnstorming's win.

Jonathan Sheppard, steeplechase horse racing
Again, congratulations!