Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Summer -- Er, Spring

What a terrific, busy weekend at the farm! Four young and old friends from Massachusetts arrived last Thursday to visit, ride, eat, ride, sightsee and ride all around central Virginia. We fit in so many different activities before they returned home today, starting with a trip to James Madison's Montpelier estate. By chance, exercise riders were breezing a couple of thoroughbreds on the flat track when we pulled in, which was so exciting to watch! The house has far more furnishings than on my previous visit, and our tour guide was excellent (and who knew it was Mr. Madison's birthday, too?). After laying hands on the 200-year old Cedar of Lebanon tree in the back yard and strolling through the formal garden, we found a very horse-y docent in the Visitors' Center. She shared some information about Mrs. du Pont Scott and her love of hunting and racehorses, and we oohed and ahhhed at all the photographs on the wall. If you haven't been to Montpelier, put it on your list!

On Friday, I enjoyed having extra hands to help catch horses for the vet, who'd come to perform some annual procedures. We also went to Dover Saddlery, of course, and attended a fun soiree in Free Union, complete with abundant food and entertaining tales from the hunt field. Saturday, we loaded up Henry and Zender and headed down to Rita Mae Brown's gorgeous Tea Time Farm for the final hunt meet of the season. More than 80 horses and riders were there, as well as a champagne and brownie stirrup cup (I vote this becomes a mandatory institution at all hunt meets in the future), lots of entertaining bumper stickers, and a fascinating mix of country folks. Three of my visitors had the pleasure of following the hunt in a truck with John the kennelman. His insight and knowledge of the country and hounds gave them an inside scoop and the best seat in the house, not on a horse!

After a relaxing trail ride yesterday and some fun cross-country schooling back at EKF today, they were off to the airport and I am here catching you up! There's lots of fantastic news from my regular weekly visitors to share, like first-time canterers, 60+ riders just starting lessons, and 2 more kids already signed up for camp . . . but I'll have to keep you waiting until next time.

P.S. As you know, EKF is Zenyatta country, and we extend our congratulations to the retired famous racehorse on the arrival of her beautiful, healthy colt -- for photos and news, click here.