Anyone who’s spent a day following hounds knows the ideal field hunter can be any shape or color as long as he gets across country safely. This was demonstrated by two eye-catching mounts at different foxhunting events on Nov. 16.
Karyn Treble Wilson rode her Idlehour Mayflower at the Cleveland Bay Hunting Day at Hetty Mackay-Smith Abeles’ Farnley Farm in White Post, Virginia. The 10-year-old mare, by Cleveland Bay stallion Ramblers Richard Lionheart out of the Thoroughbred mare Jordan’s Rose, joined 16 other part- and purebred Cleveland Bays at the annual gathering.
“This was my first time at the Cleveland Bay Day, so I was really tickled to be there,” Wilson said. Organized by the Mid-Atlantic Cleveland Bay Network, the meet alternates each year between Farnley—where Alexander Mackay-Smith imported Cleveland Bays in the 1930s to help preserve the rare breed—and other area hunt fixtures.
Wilson and her husband, Paul Wilson, a joint master at Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, maintain seven hunt horses at their home in Purcellville, Virginia. “Mayflower is the only mare in my barn, so she had to be good!” Karyn said. “She’s just a lovely, very independent horse. She watches the hounds, and when the horn blows, she’s very excited.”
Mayflower’s thick tail drew admiration—and at least one inquiry as to whether it was real. “It is all hers; there is no clip-on there,” said Karyn with a laugh. “It’s a very luscious tail, but it’s banged short enough for hunting. We do use ShowSheen, but that’s it!”
The same afternoon, a horse with a very different tail maintenance regimen won the Tryon International Equestrian Center’s Festival of the Hunt Field Hunter Championship (North Carolina). Finnis Chrome Magnum (Straws Mighty Magnum–R Rumor Has It), owned and ridden by Erin Stormont Kimmer, is an Appaloosa who sports that breed’s distinctively thin tail hair.
“He is on a biotin supplement, and we try to fluff it up a bit,” said Stormont Kimmer, a trainer and USEA “r” eventing technical delegate candidate.
While “Finn” comes from working ranch bloodlines, he’s proven a reliable and versatile mount under English tack, and Stormont Kimmer has evented him in addition to riding him in the hunt field. The pair regularly whips-in at Mecklenburg Hounds, and Stormont Kimmer even rode Finn side-saddle at this year’s opening meet.
“Honestly, I bought him as a lesson horse and thought he could be my backup,” she said, “but as I hunted him more, he really started to shine.”
Stormont Kimmer, Locust, North Carolina, makes sure Finn’s connections stay up-to-date on his accomplishments. “I’m in contact with his breeder and his sire’s owner in North Dakota,” she said. “They’re always fascinated to see what he’s doing, because I don’t think they had any idea he would end up foxhunting and doing this kind of stuff.”
This article appeared in the Dec. 2-16, 2019, issue of The Chronicle of the Horse as part of our Foxhunting issue.
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