Thursday, July 14 2011 by
Young foxes are tumbling out of the den, playing with grasshoppers, learning the ways of their neighborhood. So it goes with foxhounds who were born last year, making their debut with the pack and following their elders who mastered the intricacies of the chase in prior years. The Huntsman and Whipper-In have worked with the puppies since the day they were born, teaching them rudimentary manners
Thursday, July 07 2011 by
A pack of eight and a half couple (children, not hounds) met on the kennel lawn early mornings this past week to learn the basics of Foxhunting. Led by the Huntsman and the Whip, the pack learned basic hunting etiquette, how to avoid accidents in the field (holes, slippery roads and wire fences) and the language of the hunting horn in the classroom, improving their riding cross-country and over jumps in mounted sessions. Riding abilities and reasons for loving the sport ranged widely but the group was united in its enthusiasm. Cheshire campers are introduced to Ivan Dowling, Huntsman, and Stephanie Boyer, Whip, at the Kennels. "Aunt Wendy" ("Grandmom" to one camper) ably led the group through introduction to the staff and hounds, supported by a large contingent of volunteers from the community. Ivan Dowling, Huntsman, talked about the hounds before releasing them from the kennels onto the lawn.
The other evening the Delaware Valley Point to Point Association wrapped up its competition schedule with a dinner party, an impromptu fiddle concert and end of the season awards under the stars, which you could see until the thunderstorm arrived. Picnic on the lawn at the home of Don Cochran and Pat Branniman
Two weeks ago tonight a fire destroyed the barn housing horses trained by Boyd Martin on the ground floor and employees on the second. In the days that followed the community was numb with the aftermath, the loss of lives of horses, the injuries, the immediate need of the human survivors for a somewhere to live and something to wear. Everyone knew someone intimately who had lost something dear. Ever mindful of the irreplaceable, friends moved into action to take care of the practical. Among many others throughout the country, a “boots on the ground” fundraising effort was begun in anticipation of the Horse Trials planned for Plantation Field in Unionville this past weekend. Phone call and email solicitations for contributions to a bake sale were sent out and resulted in a table overflowing with cupcakes, snickerdoodles, cake and brownies. Priced to sell at “donation”, business was brisk and resulted in a first day total of over $1000. The second day recovery is as yet uncounted. I personally ate a brownie with peanut butter drizzle, its purchaser informing me that it was a $40 tray of brownies – worth it? Quite tasty.
Friday, May 06 2011 by
Pony racing at the local Point to Points is always a high point of my spring. I love to watch the kids before the race when they are gathered in a circle around the steward going over the rules while a sibling, parent or friend walks the pony around the paddock; I love to watch the kids get on their ponies and head off to the start behind the outriders; and mostly I love to watch them run to the finish with an intensity and competitive spirit that transcends their young age. This year at the Plumsted Races the competition was fierce and friendly.
Thursday, March 24 2011 by
Spring in Aiken is unfolding in all its glory. Azaleas are in bloom, Banksia roses are open, the city has become a haze of lavender Wisteria
Monday, March 21 2011 by
Several weeks ago when I was the photographer at Sporting Days March Horse Trials, late Sunday afternoon featured the Beginner Novice and Tadpole Division starters finishing their Eventing debuts with the cross country phase. I was struck by how many horses were getting their first serious start at Eventing that afternoon, piloted by some of the most capable in the sport. I’ve put together a collection of photographs of these Beginner Novice horses paired with their same riders at Intermediate and Advanced events over the last year or so. I think it is fun and I hope you do, too.
Sunday, February 20 2011 by
The Waffle House Restaurant, Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC Anyone driving through the South is familiar with that little box with the yellow roofline placed strategically at every interchange of every major highway. While some might characterize The Waffle House as Cheeze Whiz to aged Cheddar, I, for one, am smitten with their Pecan Studded Waffles (877,388,027 waffles served since 1955) and have become a regular breakfast customer. There are three Waffle House restaurants within five miles of my home in Aiken so I can stop on any of my errands to Walmart (two of those in Aiken, too), the tack shop or the feed store for a quick bite to eat. But, a romantic candle lit Valentines dinner for two at the Waf? Reservations needed, no less. Three weeks ago I signed my oh-so-game husband up for a dinner for two and off we went on Valentines Day for a 6:30 dinner date. While we waited to be seated, we were served Sweet Tea (this is the South, after all) and chatted with the hostess
Wednesday, February 09 2011 by
An old friend of mine who was Co-DC of a Pony Club with me in Pennsylvania moved to Aiken several years ago. She came to town knowing not a soul but she did come with a horse and a pony. The horse was a retired three-day event horse which had belonged to a member of the family; the pony was her daughter’s surgery pony when her daughter was in vet school. The pony was basically un-broke but my friend took driving lessons, persevered and now Cindy is broke to drive and she goes out on excursions around town. On a quiet Sunday morning in Aiken my friend and another pony driver met at The Green Boundary, a large estate on Whiskey Road which adjoins the horse district, parked their trucks and tacked up their ponies for a drive through downtown. My horse being a been “there done” that sort of dude rounded out the threesome, although I was mounted
Wednesday, January 26 2011 by
The Low Country Hunt has hosted the Plantation Hunt Weekend only the last four years but already it has established a reputation as the “go to” event for Foxhunters. Following their first soiree, I read a review that was so enthusiastic that I put it on my list of events for the next winter. The following January, when I called one of the Masters to enroll, it was already too late and they were over-subscribed. No room at the inn. The third year, I was on the list, fully paid and my mount unexpectedly went three-legged lame the day before we were to load up. This year, the planets aligned and I rode at the 2011 Plantation Hunt Weekend in lands surrounding Walterboro, South Carolina. Walterboro is located northwest of Charleston, north of Beaufort, inland about twenty miles from the coast, in an area known as “The Low Country”. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the primary cash crop was rice; the clearing of the tidal swamps and the construction of earthen levees necessary for the cultivation of rice is still apparent and it is through these rich agricultural lands that the Hunt chases fox, coyote and bobcat. Rice requires alternate periods of wet and dry and as a result, many of the rice fields are located along rivers to take advantage of the tidal flow which pushes water through the floodgates and into the ditches.