Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Monday, June 20, 2011

Horsin' Around in the Old Dominion

Now just to be clear, technically, the photo above is not Easy Keeper Farm! It's Montpelier, the home of James Madison, author of our Constitution and fourth president. The equestrian community also knows the estate as the home of Mrs. Marion duPont Scott, an avid breeder and owner, who established the steeplechase races that still run at Montpelier every November. Not only did the late Mrs. Scott and her family leave Montpelier to be restored and open to the public, they also established the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. This charity, headquartered on the 2600-acre property, provides a safe, beautiful home for ex-racehorses when their days at the track are over.

David Bourke, the farrier, invited us to trailer over to his home, and we rode out for a guided three-hour trail ride. David knows everything about the horsey history of the farm, and even led us around the shedrows of the training barns -- where slender young Thoroughbreds took a second look at my pinto draft cross and Chubbs the cobby pony! The highlight was cantering up and down the dirt training track, though these guys look a little out of place:
A week before, we also enjoyed a fantastic hunter pace through the foothills of the Blue Ridge near Free Union, Virginia . . .
. . . as well as a stroll along Lake Anna State Park. Virginia is a terrific place for riding out with friends!