One remarkable thing about equestrian sports is that the age of a competitor doesn’t always make a difference in the ribbons.
No one demonstrates that better than Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, 71, the renowned veterinarian, MFH and huntsman of Arapahoe Hunt, and vice president of the Masters of Foxhounds Association.
For the second year in a row, Beeman showed younger riders how to maintain a focused edge in a spirited competition. With his Thoroughbred mare Missy Long Legs, from whom he regularly hunts hounds, Beeman dominated the Pine Cliff Challenge Trophy classes at the Arapahoe Hunt Hunter Trials on Sept. 25 with elegant and polished rounds. It was a pleasing sight to see these two sail to victory in class after class.
Hosted by Nancy and Richard Gooding at their Plum Creek Hollow Farm in Larkspur, the annual trials attracted members from both the Arapahoe and Bijou Springs hunts, along with numerous juniors and Pony Clubbers.
Beeman’s main competition was junior hunt member Liz Benton riding E. Coli.
“I was a little slow and rough in the first couple of classes,” noted Beeman, “but then we got to going in the next few classes, and the judge liked what she saw.”
Beeman’s evaluation was a bit modest, for his rounds in the handy hunter and under saddle classes were his and his alone.
But Benton rode well, despite a recent knee injury that had kept her grounded. And Shari MacCallum, on her handsome gray Sebastian, had a spectacular round in the owner-rider class.
Beeman also turned in a notable round in the appointments over fences class, where he finished second on his other hunter, Claude, who had never competed before. But the class’ real star was Chris Towt’s Max, an import from England. Towt and Max negotiated the course in spectacular fashion, although they began the round as though each obstacle were at least 4 feet high. Towt, however, expertly settled the big bay, and they finished smoothly.
Although a heavy afternoon thundershower, complete with spectacular lightning, put the show on hold for nearly an hour, it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the competitors, who turned out in near record numbers.
Veteran hunt members Jerry Burk and Heidi Long put in elegant rounds in the senior hunt members’ special classes and ended up sharing the trophy. Burk’s Victoria’s Secret, now 26, has competed successfully in these hunter trials for more than 15 years. Long’s Atlas also is a seasoned hunter, and each of these teams demonstrated the meaning of experience and confidence. Victoria’s Secret, a brown-and-white pinto mare, won the Mountbridge Farm appointments over fences class in this division for the fourth consecutive year, a record.
Beeman climaxed the day by exhibiting the Arapahoe hounds with his staff, culminating with the entire pack crowding on top of the piano bench obstacle.