Places to See
|First Posted: Sept 10, 2008|
May 29, 2013
Hunt Country Stable Tour - 2008
Galleries: Hunt Country Stable Tour 2008
Note for 2011 Middleburg Stable Tour:
"Saturday & Sunday/Memorial Day Weekend
Presented by Trinity Episcopal Church
Tickets available at Trinity Episcopal Church, all tour locations and online
Adults $20 in advance, $25 after May 21; children 12 and under free
For information call Trinity Episcopal Church - (540)592-3711
Hunt Country Stable Tour Official Site
Proceeds benefit the Ministry of Trinity Episcopal Church"
My husand and I are planning to go to this year's stable tour if we are back in the country. If so, I will do another html page for 2011, however, often times there are repeats on the stables to be visited.
Every year Middleburg and Upperville have a Hunt Country Stable Tour. It is a self-driven auto tour that usually takes place Saturday and Sunday of the Memorial Day Weekend. This is a special opportunity to see some of the most elegant farms and stables in the country while supporting good works. It is a benefit for the Trinity Church. The benefits from this event go to support the mission and ministries with special emphasis on outreach. Trinity Church was built in the style of a medieval French provincial church. It is an adaptation of a church built in the 12-13 century.. The Church was built from native Virginia sandstone. The office and parish hall were given to Meade Parish by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon in 1960. Trinity Episcopal Church Upperville
The following is a direct quote from the 49th Annual Hunt Country Stable Tour, 2008, brochure:
"Upperville has been described as 'a mile long and an inch wide.' The 19th century linear village began life in 1790 as Carr Town, named for the mill owner Joseph Carr, but by the time the first post office opened in 1807, the name was Upperville. Today's quiet village shows few traces of the once bustling commerce along Route 50 that served its 300 residents. Although the population has barely changed, Upperville is now the center of America's famed 'Hunt Country' and surrounded by internationally recognized Thoroughbred farms. It lies within the Piedmont Hunt.
Just east of town are the famous show grounds of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, the oldest horse show in the United States. Established in 1853 by Colonel Richard Henry Dulany, this five-day event draws the best equestrians in the country to its hunter and jumper competitions, and is capped by the exciting $100,000 Budweiser/Upperville Jumper Classic.
Upperville has been designated an Historic Landmark by the Virginia Landmark Commission."
"Middleburg, known by Colonial Virginians in 1731 as Chinn's Crossing, was originally owned by a cousin of George Washington. In 1787, the Virginia Assembly established the town, which had become a mid-way overnight stop on the pike between Alexandria and Winchester. Fittingly, its name was changed to Middleburg.
The village is rich in history, from tales of Mosby's Rangers and skirmishes during the Civil War, to the glamorous years, when the Kennedy's were regulars, to its current international reputation as a breeding, showing, and racing center for Thoroughbreds. Country life and traditions are prized by local residents. The hunt and the hounds, carriage, drives, polo, charity balls, and walks along peaceful back roads make up the fabric of Middleburg life, along with delightful boutiques, art galleries, fine restaurants, and historic inns.
In 1905, the MIddleburg-Upperville areas created a renaissance in American fox hunting with the International Hound Trials. The riders and their hounds, with all their pomp and pageantry, lead off the annual Christmas parade in Middleburg."
This year we were pleased that some friends were staying in our home in Washington, DC. They had never been to the Hunt Country Tour so we took them for the day on Saturday. The weather was just perfect. There was a cool breeze and no bugs. We did do a tick check after the tour land came up clean! Although we were unable to see every stop, we did our best to enjoy all that we could. Unfortunately the Polo had been cancelled because of recent rains. The field was too wet.
The following are some of the stops that we made:
Locust Hill Farm
Locust Hill View Farm is a working farm located just outside Middleburg. Primary products are Thoroughbred Racehorses, Angus cattle, and horse quality hay. The farm is 1.037 total acres with 339 wooded acres dedicated to wildlife and trails for riding and fox hunting. The farm is under conservation easement to preserve the farm for future generations. Locust Hill Farm is home of the Orange County Hunt Point to Point races, and boasts one of the oldest barns in the area. The original property line between Grasslands Farm and Locust Hill Farm as surveyed by George Washington. The broodmare barn was built in 1935. We felt quite special to be able to meet Junior in the tack area. He has been working at Locust Hill Farm for more than 50 years.
Fox View Farm
Fox View Farm
Fox View is a serene 30 acre horse farm centered around a lovely pond and is home to Joe and Laura Cramer. Fox View is also the home of Sandra Conchar who is the National Side Saddle Champion for 2006 and Reserve Champion for 2007 on "American Idol," owned by Laura and Joe Cramer. The stable is believed to be at least 60 years old, when it was built as a Quonset hut, probably used to store hay and machinery. The Cramers bought the farm in 1999 and began renovations on the barn. The two silos were transformed into a wash stall and workshop. The 11 horses at Fox View have dual roles, they spend fall and winter at fox hunters and spring through summer as side saddle show horses. Riding side saddle is a passion of Laura Cramer, often riding aside in the hunt field as well as the show ring. She has enjoyed much success in the ring having won both the National Side Saddle Championship and Reserve Champion. Some of the horses at Fox View include Mistress Connie and her foal, Neville Longbottom, TAngo and American Idol.
Trappe Hill Farm
This beautiful farm is a horse conglomerate, home to Thoroughbred mares and foals, yearlings, race horses in training raining, hunters, show horses and 100 mile endurance race Arabians, with experts on hand to describe each specialty. We saw the swimming of the horses in the pond. This swimming is used to condition the horses. There were video tapes of steeplechase races described by steeplechase riders, petting and feeding carrots to hunters, plus sculptress Jean Clagett creating equine bronzes. Owner Bruce Smart and his lovely wife, Eddie, were there to greet everyone. Bruce has authored several books. Again, we forgot to take our copies for his autograph. Maybe we will remember next year. A number of visitors were picnicking at the farm.
Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center (M.A.R.E. Center)
The M.A.R.E Center's mission is to improve the care, growth and health of the horse through research on pasture based nutrition. Various nutritional programs are studied and evaluated for pregnant mares, foals, weanlings and yearlings with a focus on their healthy development as well as good stewardship of the land. The results of this research can be used to optimize the production of the land. The results of this research can be used to optimize the production of the equine athlete while minimizing the risks of digestive and developmental diseases in the horse. Current studies underway include: studies on nutrition's affect on bone and cartilage development as well as reproductive efficiency, the use of electrolytes in endurance competition, insulin response to feeds, understanding the seasonal fluctuation in both the plant and animal to improve overall management strategies, as well as designing feeds that complement nutrients and energy in the pasture. As an extension facility, the M.A.R.E. Center also aims to bridge the gap between academic research and the day-to-day practices of horse owners.
Research by VA Tech's graduate students is under the guidance of Dr. Jim Bowen, the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor Dr. David Kronfeld, and Dr. Burt Staniat. As part of their training experience, the graduate students work with the mares, foals and weanlings in addition to helping prepare the yearlings for the Annual Yearling Sale, held each year on the second Sunday in October. The Center's young stock is sold for racing, hunting, showing and pleasure prospects. Proceeds from the auction help defray feeding and other costs for the rea search herd.
The M.A.R.E.Center is a 420 acre working farm donated to Virginia Tech in 1949 by Mr. Paul Mellon. Among the facilities on the farm are a 10-stall barn with foaling observation, a breeding shed, a multi-purpose barn used for the Auction, an academic annex, and a barn converted for high speed treadmill studies. A clinic and laboratory are housed in the main office building at 5527 Sullivans Mill Road. All the Center's Thoroughbred mares and stallions were donated to the Center by individuals in the equine industry who understand the importance of its nutritional research. This year 22 mares are expecting foals.
Several foals had been born and were being named by guests from the Farm and Stable Tour. Also, hay ride tours were being given of the farm every hour. Graduate students were giving presentations when we arrived around a little after 10:00 AM.
Peake Wood Pharm is a beautiful private horse farm transformed from a traditional rural setting in only two years by owners Lou and Bill Kennedy. At a fork in the driveway, a bronze fox sculpted by the late local artist Eve Prime Four greets visitors. To the right sits the charming, relatively new stone farmhouse and to the left is the outdoor horse arena. The Kennedy daughters, well-known equestrians, care for their horses in this amazing 12 stall, log bank barn, with logs more than 100 years old. Numerous buildings are scattered about the farm, including a seven-stall barn with a stone paved center aisle, a guest house and a farm manage's dwelling. The "Pharm" comes from a successful pharmaceutical business.
Beautiful native trees grace the back gardens such as Zelkovas, Sweetbay magnolias and Weeping Willows, and a boxwood parterre greets visitors in the front. A charming picket-fenced herb, vegetable and cutting flower garden is plentiful in summer months. The Kennedy daughters, well-known equestrians, care for their horses in an amazing 12-stall, log-bank barn, with logs more than 100 years old. Part of the upper-floor hayloft houses a lovely apartment with scenic views of the Bull Run Mountains and the outdoor arena. Numerous buildings are scattered on the farm, including a seven-stall barn with a stone-paved center aisle, guest house, farm managerís dwelling, a stream and pond. Mr. and Mrs. William Kennedy, owners."
Welcoming you to this magnificent courtyard and brood mare barn are the glistening brass nameplates of famous Mellon Home bred champions such as Sea Hero, 1993 Kennedy Derby winner; Quadrangle, winner of the Belmont, Wood Memorial and Travers Stakes in 1964; and Horses of the Year Fort Marcy, Arts And Letters and Key To The Mint.
In the middle of the courtyard stands the half-life-size bronze by John Skeaping, honoring home-bred Mill Reef, the first racehorse to win the Epsom Derby at Epsom, England, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Logschamp, France, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, England, in the same season. The owner of Rokeby is Mrs. Paul Mellon, who defined the art of excellence in the Virginia hunt country. Beagling, brought to the United States from Great Britain, is the sport of tracking hare with a pack of hounds bred especially for this purpose. Demonstratoins were given.
Heronwood Farm was an outstanding Thoroughbred breeding operation for over 15 years. The farm ecompasses nearly one square mile of pristine rolling countryside. Heronwood now boards horses, has a successful polo team and is home to a colorful herd of Haucaya Alpacas originating from Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The farm specializes in show quality alpacas concentrating their breeding efforts on superb conformation and fleece. We were able to see Heronwood's champion herd sires, dams, yearlings and baby "crias." There was also an educational display of raw and processed fiber along with many finished products. There was a weaver on site who answered many questions about the wool. The alpaca yearling barn was also open.
Other stops included the Stone Bridge Over Goose Creek, Northern Virginia Animal Swim Center, and the Middleburg Training Track.