Master’s Report March 5, 2022

Sunday, February 27 proved add.  All that knee deep mud had mostly dried up. The bitter cold abated, sunshine covered all. Well, good.  While the temperature wasn’t hot given the five weeks of storms, snow, sleet, ice it seemed warm.
Hounds left from the Run-In Shed. Not much was going on.  A boo hoo here and there but tepid.  As luck would have it, all the older girls were in season so the pack consisted of two made females, three older boys and the rest were male youngsters.  The girls never go in season at a convenient time.
After an hour plus of this I decided to try Jim Klemic’s.  Might be a little cooler. Once we reached the turkey foot convergence of trails, the one being deep, hounds began to speak, moving north.  They hitched it up from a trot to a lope so I did too.  At one point Kalie and I stopped as the hounds swept up toward 611 then turned coming back down.  They then dipped into the higher land up behind Jim’s house, more or less halfway to 611.  By now the pack was back together, all speaking. So I dropped onto the north side of the creek and followed.  I turned back but saw no field behind me.  Dr. George Lindbeck was out so I looked for his scarlet coat.  George can go through or over anything.  It occurred to me while battling limbs that perhaps someone popped off.  There isn’t much time to ponder these things while hounds are speaking. Took me maybe fifteen or twenty minutes to get through but I wasn’t too far behind.  Lost my left earring, cut my ear and cut behind my right wrist.  How no idea how.  Leapt down onto the sunken trail so I could finally move faster.  Hounds had blasted past Jim’s house, into those woods.  Do I gallop down the pasture to the uncleared old north river branch trail or do I veer to the right and gallop toward the northern most bridge?  There used to be a place there were you could drop down.  Hounds began to emerge from the woods so I didn’t have to make a decision.  All came out. One had a bloodied ear, those hateful thorns and Puzzle had a cut on his right shoulder.  Obviously, they did not give up until the fox was put to ground.  Once years ago, we ran a similar pattern and the fox swam across the branch which is pretty easy,  the whole pack in pursuit.  My whipper-in, Dr. Mary O’Brien, got over there on that 17 hand horse of hers, flew up to the hay storage shed and finally got the pack back.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time.  The former run, of course, meant phone calls and apologies to the landowner who was quite good about it.
But there we were.  The pack, myself and not a soul.  Headed to the pond to give them a rest and chance to drink and spied Sara Bateman and Amy Walker sitting in the field just off the farm road.  Neither one knew where the field was.  Just as they stopped speaking, we all heard hoofbeats and here came the entire field, including the four juniors Lynne Beegle Gebhardt brought along with Jim Meister.  Later one of the riders who wears those watches telling you how far you have gone testified to seven miles.  Well, that had to be seven miles at warp speed.  And there was George. So all was well.
You never know, but we all now know with Jane in charge the field will catch up whatever it takes. The path they took was less difficult but still, that was a run. All were lucky most of the mud had dried up.  Lots of dry cleaner bills otherwise.  Nothing like the horse in front of you throwing up great clods of mud.
Lifted hounds and rode back to the hound trailer. Cut ear and cut shoulder cleaned and fixed.  Ears look so bad because they bleed so much.  The young boys did okay.  Would I have preferred some of the older girls in there?  I would.  The boys can be easily distracted but once they got good scent they poured it on, steady and true.
Here’s to whatever comes next.  Given the heat rising maybe we’ll pick up a vixen in a bikini.  Then again we have all been smacked with snowstorms in March and April.  Anything goes. 
Up and over!  RMB

Safari Ride July 24th, 2021

Join in on the search for stuffed animals while riding the fields and wooded trails bordering the Rockfish River behind Wood Ridge Farm Brewery. There will be many animals lurking along the route. “Hunters” who find 3 select animals will be awarded prizes.


TIME: RIDERS OUT 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

 All disciplines are welcome.

 Bring your own tailgate – no alcohol please,

or buy lunch at the Brewery after the ride.

 Entry fee is $40 for adults, $25 for juniors.


Enter and pay online at

Printable Entry Form:

Proof of negative coggins is required.

Boots and helmets must be worn.

Judged Trail Ride Results

Here are the results of the Judged Trail Ride held at Teatime Farm today. Thank you to everyone who endured the heat and humidity to compete in the first ride in the Shenandoah Valley Judged Ride series. The ride hosted by Bedford Hunt is scheduled for June 19. Glenmore’s is July 10 and Rockbridge is July 17. Ribbons will be mailed out to first thru 6 place.Thank you to Mark and Karen Catron, Susan Boone, Becky Birnbaum, Cathy Denton, Kathleen King, Mary Tousignant, Cheryl Tsakis, and Becky Wood for working today and to Mark, Karen, and Susan for cleaning the trails and setting up the course. As always, John Morris put the finishing touch on the course by mowing the trails for us this week. Our events cannot go on without everyone’s help and our volunteers are greatly appreciated.We are holding a sporting clay shoot on June 13 at Teatime Farm from 9 to 1. Please join us. You can contact Mark for details at Let’s hope for cooler weather.

Name Division score
Sue Migliore E 47.5
Cathy Goscha E 47
Barbara Goodson E 46.5
Heidi Davis E 45
Karen Robertson E 44.5
Kate Kane E 44
Allie Raner E 43.5
Lisa Lefferts E 43
Ronnie Thornton E 40.5
Priscilla Friedberg E 39.5
Lynn Rowley E 36.5
Waverly McDavid J 37
Shelly Thompson N 44.5
Amy Walker N 44
Lisa Salopek N 43
Sara Bateman N 42.5
Shannon Critzer N 42
Cindy Simmons N 41
Jessica Swezey N 40
James Swezey N 40
Mary Ann Jacobsen N 39.5
Robin Ellis N 39
Meredith Williams N 37.5
Mary Lee McDavid N 36
Cheri Kula N 35.5
Tracy Ferguson N 35
Nathalie Williams N 34
Chrystal Knick N 33
Brieanna Litter N 32
Elmer Glick N 30.5
Connie Nicholson Price N 25
Jane Johnson N 15.5

2020 Hunt Ball Auction

As many of you know, Oak Ridge has had to postpone the Hunt Ball due to the COVID-19 restrictions being observed. The event has been has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 27.

Like many clubs, we count on the income from this fundraiser to cover food, care and medical expenses for our hounds.

In order to continue to provide for our hounds, we are offering some of our auction items online for the next 3 weeks. While you “shelter in place,” please consider bidding on some of our terrific auction items:

Auction: Bid Now!

The auction will run through Sunday April 19, 2020 10:00pm Eastern. The hounds thank you for your support.

Questions on the auction may be directed to

Cubbing starts September 20

We’re almost there if you don’t melt first. Summer refuses to release her vice-like grip and if our weather apps are correct, it will be hot Friday September 20 although not as hot as today.

This is a reminder that cubbing you are there for the hounds. After Opening Hunt, the hounds are there for you.
Easy to say but in practice this means one should be more silent than usual. Of course, you are always to be quiet especially when hounds are cast or have lost the line. As there will be young entry out there, also second year with the veterans, this is especially important.
The youngsters have never seen so many people on horseback. We want them not to be afraid of you, loud noises will do that, and we know they must learn to concentrate with the big kids. Takes time but with even a hint of scent it’s fabulous how quickly they learn their task.
The hardest time for any hounds is trying to find a line then trying to keep it. Soil changes, of which we have plenty, a stiff unexpected wind, crossing a creek can all cause a line to disappear. The fox is a master at it.
While our youngsters are learning their trade so are this year’s cubs, now almost fully grown.
We don’t want to pressure them overmuch but we do want them to run. One of the fascinating things about fox behavior is often the young will run a pattern like their parents. Usually their parents are not with them although that has happened. I do not know if parents teach their young their hunting boundaries for their own game or if this is simply figured out quickly as they are so smart.
As fox has been considered vermin, few state sponsored studies of their behavior have been funded. Maryland funded one the year Princess Diana died which is why it’s vivid in my memory as I was driving to the lecture when the news reached America or perhaps when it reached me. Others may have known it earlier.
Since then there has been some progress such as the book “How to Tame a Fox”, first seen in National Geographic. If one were young, studying wildlife would be a growing field, wide open, I think.
So what I relay concerning foxes or other wildlife is based on a lifetime of observation. I can’t prove a thing scientifically. However, what I have observed helps the hounds and I scare up a fox.
A few rules concerning your turnout. No red. If you wish to wear a short sleeved polo shirt, you may. Our territory can be rough. I always wear a light coat, a salt sack in the beginning, to protect my arms. Your tack and horses should be clean.
Your headgear is up to you. A hardhat helps but my derbies are harder than my hardhat. However, one doesn’t hunt hounds in a derby so I wear a standard hardhat maybe forty years old. If you feel the need for modern headgear, use it. My take on all this is we do not have the numbers that the NFL does so headgear for horse sports is way behind yet better than earlier gear. Not being a person who relishes doom and gloom, I trust your judgement for yourself.
Boots should be butcher boots or field boots, those are the ones with laces which are so helpful because you can not tightly draw your laces so as your foot swells you aren’t pinched. The color of your boots should match the color of your hat. Newmarkets are canvas and leather. The leather usually matches the color of your hat, brown with brown. If you wear oxblood boots of either type, they are exceedingly handsome, you wear a black cap.
That’s about it. Gloves are not mandatory even on the coldest days. Up to you.
Should you wear a stock, doubtful in the heat, it must not be white for cubbing or bye days. You may also wear a tie or bowtie.
In the heat you are not obliged to wear a vest. Should you wish to wear a vest without a coat in the heat, that’s fine.
Cubbing allows you more personal expression than formal hunting. Bye days likewise. Seeing how people throw themselves together is  half the fun.
Britches should be tan, canary, or brick. No white, that’s formal. Canary is also formal but it’s ok for cubbing. They are the devil to find so most people go out in tan or brick.
Sounds like a lot but it isn’t. One time out there and you’ll be fine.
Oh, no colored saddlepads. White. In the old days people did not use saddle pads but the practice caught on as it does save your saddle from all that sweat.
Given the heat, we won’t be out long until the mercury falls aven a bit. High heat beats up hounds, horses, and humans. And they have fur coats. Worse for them.
Here’s to seeing you all at the Arena Friday the 20th at 8:00 AM. The Run-IN Shed at 8:00 AM Sunday.
Up and Over, RMB
P.S Raingear is permisable. No bright colors. Barbour is the best, costly, but lasts forever.
P.P.S. The NFL has just put up $3 million as a grant and award on a helmet challenge to create a better helmet.

August 10 Foxhunting Clinic

  • If you’ve ever dreamed of foxhunting but don’t know where to begin, Oak Ridge Hunt will hold an Introduction to Foxhunting on August 10 at Tea Time Farm in Afton, Virginia from 9 to 1.
  • The morning will begin with a mounted session with groups for both jumpers and hilltoppers.
  • This will include an introduction to hounds and a short hack with the pack.
  • The lunch break will feature a discussion by Dr. Rita Mae Brown about the history of hunting attire, with examples of proper turnout.
  • There will also be a discussion about tack and safety in the Hunt field
  • If you’ve ever dreamed of foxhunting, contact

Susan Boone for

information and to register. Entry fee $50.


Registration Form

Upcoming Events

Mark your Calendars! Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club will be holding several events over the coming months. We’re announcing dates in advance this year so folks can plan ahead.

Sunday, April 7: Judged Pleasure Ride at Penlan Station on Ridge Rd. in Arvonia, VA from 9 AM to noon. Enjoy a 7 mile ride along the dirt roads and rolling hills of Penlan Station. The ride includes 6 judged trail obstacles, all optional. Lunch is included, entry fee is $40. Please contact Susan Boone or Sara Bateman at

Oak Ridge Pleasure ride flyer

Pleasure Ride entry

May 18: Spring Hunter Pace 

Spring Hunter Pace Flyer

Hunter Pace Entry

Release for all events
June 15: Poker Ride from Starvale Farm in Shipman, VA to Wood Ridge Farm Brewery and back. This will not be timed, so you can enjoy a leisurely ride on a summer morning.

Poker Ride Flyer

Poker Ride Entry

Release for all events

August 10: Introduction to Foxhunting Clinic at Teatime Farm in Afton. There will be divisions for Hunters, who want to improve their jumping skills while riding to hounds, and Hilltoppers, who are new to the sport.

September 7: Fall Hunter Pace Locations will be announced soon. Both Hunter Paces are part of a series of 6 Paces with Glenmore Hunt Club and Rockbridge Hunt, with series end awards.
All of our events include lunch for the participants. Mark your calendars- we look forward to seeing you soon.

Master’s Report November 2018


      A beautiful day, a beautiful prayer from Reverend Judy Parrish, whom I call Father Parrish. She laughs at me but she does that anyway. We’ve known one another for years and like most people called to religious service, she makes light of it but has always tended to her flocks whether they come through the church doors or not. She’s retired now but still serving others.
      The big news apart from the fabulous weather was the fact that we had Rhonda, Heather, Regan Holland and the grandchildren to see us, as was Anne Seaton.
     You can’t miss Anne, tall, willowy, bursting with energy. I so like to bedevil her. She takes it in good stride. Anne and Mark Catron were and remain, the driving force behind the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra fundraiser October 26. Hard to believe, but this is our tenth year.
     At opening Hunt, Anne presented me with a check for $2000. Thank you, Anne and thank you, Mark. We are honored to be a small part of this remarkable orchestra.
      Hounds pushed out a fox and ran him to the graveyard by the Cistern. I couldn’t stay behind them as they crossed to the other side of the deep creek by the dying beef barns. Fortunately, Becky Birnbaum was there. By the time I got through a trail somewhat open and somewhat not, he was put to ground but at least we got a bit of music.
     Open Hunts are rarely barn burners for us and usually they aren’t the best for other hunts either. For one thing, almost all of our opening hunts in Virginia take place during bow season or black powder. The important thing is we are all together looking glorious as did Becky, Kristen Jones, the Field Masters  ( Priscilla Friedberg, Sara Bateman, and Susan Boone) and all of you.
      Isn’t it fun to watch the horses? They know what braids mean and we have some vain creatures in our hunt field. Well, when you look that good, it’s hard to be modest.
      Here’s to a good season with hopes that the animals will not start marching two by two. I don’t think Old Man Noah will take a pack of hounds. Onward.


     Do you remember the parable, Matthew Chapter 25, Verses 1 through 12? All ten virgins were invited to a wedding and all brought lamps. However, only five brought oil. The bridegroom tarried. When he finally arrived at midnight, the foolish had no oil. They asked the wise for some oil but were refused and missed the wedding.
      Sometimes I think our foxes are like those ladies. Some store food and others play too much. They prefer to go out around dusk and come back at dawn. We do not hunt at those times so basically we may be hunting the foolish foxes. I don’t know, but I do know whether we hop a foolish one or a wise one, the animal is smarter than we are.
      Finally, they have grown winter coats. We watch a few new den, modern architecture, and a few old ones more of the Federal period I think. The fox with the den at the back of Jim Klemic’s dug into the creek bed with other exits and entrances, is quite tidy. She or he lives in sharp contrast to a den not far from my house, which belongs to a hoarder. No doubt this fox, red, will blame groundhogs for the mess but really it’s his. I’ve watched this domestic debacle for years, which is where I got the idea for Uncle Yancy in the Sister Jane books. The current fox must be the grandchild of the original inspiration. Certainly makes one consider or reconsider inherited traits.
      Thanks to deer season, our game sits tight. We’ve gotten them out a bit but one red, always a good runner, shoots straight to Jimmy Carter’s. Well, the music sounds lovely.
      We are almost halfway through our season. We have just begun formal hunting and we all are hoping for better weather. Hounds like to hunt and so do I, so we go but the footing is deceptive. Surprisingly, in some places it is solid. However, mostly not. This is a mess for all of us and I swear you can hear that mud sucking off your horse’s shoes.
       Some of you have asked if you can wear raincoats as I have been going out in all but heavy rain. As long as it’a not hot pink, go ahead. As to water sliding down your boots, I know of no solution to that.
      Let’s hope for the best. We will be able to return and vigorously hunt our fixtures now hosting hunt clubs and hunting parties. I hope they have a good season as we are overrun with deer. Fortunately, I work on that when puppies are puppies. Even our young entry are hitting their stride. When first a deer shoots out in front of them, they either stop cold or run after it. Seeing that they are alone or only with another youngster, they come back quickly. Often, no whipper-in is needed. The other hounds chastise them, which is really more effective than if I do it. I will do it if I am encountering a hardhead, but in the main I let the hounds do their own policing.
      I’m surprised that our member numbers are growing despite the weather. Usually in bad years, there’s a downtick. Not this year and I credit that to the extra special events, continued glorious tailgates, and general good cheer. The season hasn’t been dreadful but it’s hard for hounds and staff in a monsoon.
      This makes me think most of our foxes are wise virgins, so to speak. They aren’t coming out in this stuff.


      Anything about hunting, I read and re-read. Re-reading Henry Chapin’s memoirs, a very rich and good Master, English. Have read everything I can find about Tom Firr, Fred Findlay, Ikey Bell, and other outstanding huntsmen from the 19th and 20th centuries. Have unearthed some old books about a few notables from the eighteenth century.
      The reason I assault you with this is, I especially love the handwritten diaries which occasionally find their way into used bookstore. No one wants them. I do. As Tallulah would say, “Marvelous, Darling, Simply Marvelous.” ( I adore this woman!)
        So should you come across a diary, whether printed (those with funds often did so) or handwritten, usually in a leather bound book, I will pay for it and your efforts in finding same.
      I can’t get enough. I even keep old pedigree notes. .Hey, you might find another Squire Obaldeston’s Furrier.
      Learning keeps me going. For instance, Mr. Pip has white spots. He’s polka dotted. That coat goes back to an English Thoroughbred, Birdcatcher of 1833. Mr. Pip is a Saddlebred, but Saddlebreds are a good 80% Thoroughbred.
      I you have materials but don’t wish to sell them, if you allow me to borrow same, I will return within one month in perfect condition. I put such things in a drawer so the cats can’t read them. Enough.


The William Woods girls and one professor, Michelle Smith, rode well, covered a lot of beautiful Virginia and Laura Hayon, whipping-in with Becky Birnbaum, saw a bear. Professor Laura Ward rode in the truck with John and couldn’t stop talking about it. She had such a good time.
      They hunted Friday and Sunday. Thank you all for the use of your horses.’
      And now to thank Marion Maggiolo of Horse Country who once again went over the top. She arranged for tickets to the Gold Cup. She had a tailgate organized with tables, food, everything. And for each young lady, she had a bag containing clothing and items they could use.
      I told her I would pay for this as it really is an awful lot. She wouldn’t hear of it. She has done this for the girls each visit and she won’t take a thing.
      Marion says she loves seeing young people learn about foxhunting and she knows William Woods teaches all four seats.
      When you see her, for surely you will go to Horse Country to buy some elegant Christmas presents, thank her.
Dr. Rita Mae Brown, MFH

Master’s Report November 2018

Dear ORH Member,

     You showed the William Woods University girls and two professors a good time. The bear helped but they rode in the rain Friday like troopers. Sunday, beautiful, gave us scent but it wouldn’t hold except for the bear.

     As you know, it is deer season which restricts our use of territory. With the exception of Cherry Hill, every fixture now hosts a deer hunting club or hunting parties. I remind you they pay the landowner. We do not.

     Sara, Bob, Pam cleared trails at Cherry Hill and Bob, James, Sara, Kathleen, Chris, Mark, Ed, Susan, and Pam at Oak Ridge. The Hollands allow us to use that Sunday for Opening Hunt and give us the use of the Carriage House at no cost. This is a large gift indeed and we are now on our 26th year of same.

     Oak Ridge hosts weddings throughout the year. Usually these take place over a weekend. An activity was planned for Nov. 4, Sunday but the Hollands gave us Nov. 11th. In effect they surrender a payday for us. Given the world in which we live, this is extraordinary.

     The Waynesboro Symphony proved a smashing success, another triumph for Mark Catron and Anne Seaton. I will let them tell you what happened after the concert. Quite wonderful.

     Thanks to Andy Lynn, ex-MFH of Keswick, Stephanie Gill, professional whipper-in and Heather Player, professional whipper-in and huntsman, we had enough horses for the WWU girls. Thanks also to Heather and Stephanie whom I asked to ride those days to help in the field if needs be. Only one horse and rider went down and that was due to slippery red clay. No injuries.

     Per usual, I check with other masters and huntsmen. Those of us in Virginia and Maryland are having similar seasons. Those chasing coyote are getting more scent than those of us chasing foxes. Pennsylvania is doing a bit better but it’s been wet there, too. South of us, well, the damage is terrible but they’ll pull through. Much as we all love foxhunting there are people without homes. Kentucky is doing ok and Nevada is the usual “Yahoo”.

     The bridge floods. The boys get back to work. The last flood didn’t tear it up but it was out of commission for two days. I await another quote on labor but I am not hopeful.

Given all the problems with communication, if there is hard rain assume the bridge is out and use the back entrance to TTF off Rt. 611.

     Having been hermetically sealed in the recording studio with two dub days to go, I don’t know much about outside events. This is a good thing. I will, however, trundle to the polls on Nov. 6, and hope you do, too.

Up and Over,


The Difference Between a Subscription and a Private Pack

     Some time ago I said I would explain this as I don’t think many of you know the details.

     A subscription pack elects its master or masters on May 1st. A Board of Governors is also elected at this time and Committee Chairs may also be elected. A Committee Chair does not automatically sit on the Board of Governors. Each subscription pack figures that out for itself. The huntsman is not elected. Staff hires or assignments are the province of the masters.

     When a subscription pack works, a great deal is accomplished as the workload is spread. Also, dues are usually higher and canvassed. That, too, is a big help.

     The problems arise when all these different committees, people on the board, engage in in-fighting which sometimes happens. Then uproar ensues, even club splits and generally a few people march out at a high decibel level no matter what. They may well be right but it creates chaos. Sometimes it takes years to recover from these tempests.

     A private pack is exactly that: private. It is usually owned by one person or a few people. Oak Ridge is private as is Red Rock and I think Stonewall is, too. Lynne Beegle Gebhard calls it a benign dictatorship. Membership is freed from politics to enjoy hunting and one another’s company. The workload falls on the master or masters’ shoulders. However, they may do ask for labor assistance and sometimes financial Assistance. The dues are usually lower, often much lower, at a private pack.

     Think of this as an inexact parallel but a subscription pack is a C corporation for profit while a private pack is more like a non-profit structure.

     This doesn’t mean there can’t be in-fighting at a private pack. People being people disagreements occur but the frothing is usually at a lower temperature. One can be dismissed from a subscription pack usually by a Board of Governor’s meeting. One is dismissed by a private pack with a subtle or not-so-subtle “Hit the Bricks”.

     When the weather is good and the hunting good, fewer dramas arise no matter where you hunt. Eventually people realize no master or huntsman can control the weather. It all evens out.

     Being a private pack you all can enjoy the hunting, one another, the beauty of central Virginia with few distractions. The last few days remind each of us how beautiful central Virginia can be as well as how variable the weather.


     Years past I made the call concerning hunting three hours before the first cast. As more people from farther away joined this was pushed back to four hours. My accuracy impressed even me.

     Given members at even greater distances, I now make the call the night before. This creates more mistakes because the Weather Channel makes mistakes. Our weather system by the mountains changes rapidly. You all have looked at the radar, clear, get here and it’s anything but.

     As stated at the beginning of cubbing, I will go in a soft to medium rain, light winds. I won’t go in a downpour or high winds, given the moisture in the earth, the small root balls of pine trees, high winds can create havoc. Each time winds pop up over even 20mph pines come down. The next day John and Toot clear the roads. We often can’t check the trails for days. The roads come first and we have many trails here, Mr. Campbell’s, Jim Klemic’s and Foxden.

     You all may not realize how much work there is to do or for this year how distressingly consistent.

     Please don’t bug Lynn Stevenson about when and where. The call will be made the night before a hunt. When you have your fixture card, the call will be made the night before a hunt.

     Given how odd this year has been I expect to wake up and find unannounced either snow or forsythia blooming.


College Signs

     About twenty interior jumps remain to be adopted. Lafayette College and Florida State University came on board. It’s easier if we can get these painted in ten or more at a time.

Be sure to tell me what color you want as the background. Cost: $100. And it is your jump forever.