Shortly after World War II, a group of Virginia Foxhunters wanted to hold a hunter trial for horses that had been hunted regularly for the past hunting season from each hunt within the State of Virginia. The Masters from each hunt were to nominate two horses to represent their hunt in a class which they called The Virginia Field Hunter Championship.
This competition, under hunting conditions, was to begin a yearly event to select the best hunting horse in Virginia. The rider and winning horse would be the field master for the next year. The winning hunt would then be expected to host the hunter trial the following year. The first event was a huge success and immediately became a fiercely competed annual affair which has been held every year since 1950.
The Keswick Hunt Club has been fortunate enough to win the Hunter Championship seven times. It was won twice by Mrs. W.H. Perry riding One More Pennant, and twice by Alexander Rives riding Wedgewood and LaBarron. Sandy Rives won the championship in 1984 riding Ms. Teddi Ismond’s Dark Ivory. Will Coleman won in 2003 and then again in 2016 riding Flying Aces.
By virtue of tradition, Will Coleman having won the Virginia Field Hunter Championship in 2016, the Keswick Hunt was host this year for the 2017 trials at the Coleman’s Tivoli Farm in Gordonsville, Virginia on Sunday, November 5th. Two horses from Virginia Hunt which have been regularly hunted during the past season, to be ridden by their owners, or a bona fide member of your field were invited to compete for the Field Hunter Championship of Virginia.
Twenty-One entries participated this year representing twelve Hunt Clubs:
Blue Ride Hunt, Boyce, Virginia (Anne McIntosh, jt. MFH – Brian Ferrell jt. MFH)- Entries:#1 Donna Poe; #2 Heather Allison Heider
Bull Run Hunt, Culpeper, Virginia (Mike Long jt. MFH – Rosie Campbell, jt. MFH) James H. Moore, Jr., jt. MFH – Entries: #3 Jamie Temple #4 Amy Savell
Farmington Hunt, Charlottesville, Virginia (W Patrick Butterfield, jt.MFH – Joy Crompton jt.MFH- Elizabeth King jt.MFH)- Entries:#5 Stephanie Guerlain; #2 Mark Thompson
Keswick Hunt, Keswick, Virginia (William S. Coleman Jr, jt.MFH – Mary Motley Kalergis jt.MFH- Nancy M. Wiley jt.MFH)- Entries:#7 Jennifer Nesbit; #2 Chuck Meehan
Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Hamilton, Virginia (Dr. James Gable, jt.MFH – Donna Rogers jt.MFH – Linda Devan jt.MFH – Michael Harper jt.MFH)- Entries:#9 Amy McNeely; #2 Larry Campbell
Middleburg Hunt, Middleburg, Virginia (Jeffrey M. Blue, jt.MFH – Mrs. John Denegre jt.MFH – Timothy Harmon jt.MFH)- Entries:#11 Terese Crose; #12 Amy Brown
Old Dominion Hunt, Orlean, Virginia (Gus Forbush, jt.MFH – Dr. R. Scott Dove jt.MFH – Timothy Harmon jt.MFH)- Entries:#13 Sarah Crocker
Orange County Hounds, The Plains, Virginia (John Coles, jt.MFH – Malcolm Matheson III jt.MFH – Neil R. Morris jt.MFH)- Entries:#14 Cherre Nichole; #15 Emily Hannum
Piedmot Fox Hounds, Upperville, Virginia (Shelby W. Bonnie, jt.MFH – Tad Zimmerman jt.MFH – Colvin G. Ryan jt.MFH)- Entries:#16 Robyn Harter; #17 Mo Baptiste
Thornton Hill Hounds, Woodville, Virginia (Erwin Optiz, jt.MFH – Beth A. Optiz jt.MFH – Colvin G. Ryan jt.MFH)- Entries:#18 Nicollet Merle-Smith
Warrenton Hunt, Warrenton, Virginia (Kimbrough K. Nash, jt.MFH – Celeste Vella jt.MFH – James C. Elkins jt.MFH)- Entries:#19 Sophia Vella
Deep Run Hunt, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia (Polly Bance, jt.MFH – Mrs. Coleman P. Perrin jt.MFH)- Entries:#20 Marilyn Ware #21 Emily Heyworth