The annual point-to-point steeplechase season kicks off Feb. 28 with Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds’ annual races at the Thornton Hill Racecourse in Sperryville.
Virginia hunt country offers an unparalleled and revered steeplechase circuit, both sanctioned and unsanctioned races, culminating in the Virginia Gold Cup. Riders, both local and national, compete for lucrative purses, and celebrate the agility and endurance of horse and rider in hurdle, flat and timber races. A day at the races comes with the sound of pounding hooves, as thousands of pounds of majestic long-legged horseflesh dash over hill and dale, plus tailgate feasts, prize hound races and . . .
Wait, what’s this? At Thornton Hill, the program is halted halfway through, as horses, riders and famous trainers stand aside — and stick horses take center stage. A novel idea born of THFVH’s creative membership, the Great Rappahannock Stick Horse Race is open to children in three age groups who decorate their stick horses and often themselves and race to the finish. Jeff Lehew, THFVH’s joint master of foxhounds (MFH) smilingly calls it the highlight of the day. His enthusiasm is infectious, he clearly is passionate not only of the sport of foxhunting but enjoys attracting youngsters to the sport, even if they start with stick horses.
More information (including about ads in the race program, reserved parking and tents) will be available soon; contact THFVH’s Diana Perry at 540-631-1919. Entry fees start at $20 a carload; sponsorships range from $50 to $100. (The bad-weather date is April 19.).
Mary Revercomb, all of 90 years young, celebrated her birthday with a surprise gathering of her fellow F.T. Baptist comrades on Jan. 22. Melony Myers of The Little Country Store in Etlan made one of her signature cakes for the occasion. “Mary loves to use words like fabulous and wonderful and glorious and lovely,” Melony says, “so we were torn, and decided to write ‘Happy Birthday Lovely Mary’ on her cake.” Melony wonders if the longevity of F.T. Baptist congregants Allen Simpson, 96, and Everett Yowell, 92, and Mrs. Revercomb, who posed for a picture at the gathering, might have anything to with attending church. Could very well be, Melony. Happy 90th birthday to you, “Lovely” Mary Revercomb!