MFHA Field Hunter Championship: Celebrating That Special Horse

Results from Virginia, Northern Virginia / West Virginia, and Maryland-Delaware District Qualifiers.
Reports given by Virginia Perrin, MFH (Virginia), Dawn Colgan, MFH, (No. Virginia/West Virginia),
and Christy Claggett MFH (Maryland)

The month of November hosted three Field Hunter District Qualifiers: Virginia, Northern Virginia/West Virginia, and Maryland-Delaware Districts. A tremendous thank you to the organizers, riders, landowners, staff, and the horses.

The MFHA Field Hunter Championship regional field hunter competitions will continue to be held into the New Year. The two (2) divisions of each Qualifier will be Adult/Junior Hunter (jumping) and Adult/Junior Hilltopper (non-jumping). The top six horses in each division of these Qualifiers will earn the title of MFHA Field Hunter.  The top two (2) horses in each division from each District Qualifier will be invited to compete in the finals scheduled for the last weekend in May, during the Virginia Foxhounds Show. From this group of competitors, the MFHA Field Hunter Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion for each division will be chosen.

Virginia District Field Hunter Qualifier: Full Results Click Here

The Virginia District Field Hunter Qualifier was held Sunday, November 6, 2022, at Deep Run Hunt Club, Manakin Sabot, Va. The qualifier was co-chaired by Deep Run joint Masters Ginny Perrin and Marsh Davis and judged by Sue Bopp; Joy Crompton, MFH, Farmington Hunt; Rob Scranton, MFH, Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds; Kathy Scranton, Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds and Mary Robertson, ex-MFH, Deep Run. Participating hunts included Keswick Hunt, Deep Run Hunt, Farmington Hunt, Bull Run Hunt, Caroline Hunt, Bedford Hunt, and Princess Anne Hunt.

Best Turned Out was awarded to Sophia Goluses, owner, and rider of Knight, a 14-year-old14 black Percheron Cross from Deep Run Hunt. First Flight Hunter was won by Divine Oath, a 12-year-old Bay Thoroughbred ridden by Sophia Goluses and owned by Kasandra Wohlschlegel from Deep Run Hunt. The Hilltopper Division was won by Sputnik a 24-year-old Russian Warmblood ridden and owned by Stuart Saunders, from Caroline Hunt,

If the team of Sputnik and Stuart sound familiar, you are correct. This magnificent team won the Centennial Field Hunter Championship Finals in 2005. At the time Stuart Sanders was 18, a Junior Rider, and her 9-year-old mount was Sputnik. The duo impressed everyone with their hunting excellence, most memorable was the way Sputnik would push the gate closed with his nose – a trick he was known for out hunting. Life has changed for Sanders over the past 17 years as she is now married and building a family of her own, however, her equine partner has remained constant. How many of us are lucky to say that? Stuart has this to say about her 24-year relationship with Sputnik.

“I began riding because of my mother’s love for the sport and the unique companionship of a horse. She purchased Sputnik at 7 months old and he originally was to be her horse. We, along with our trainer at the time, broke him and after a few years, it was clear that he and I were a superior fit. I would like to say the rest is history, but it has been a long, wonderful history with ups and downs. I am so thankful to continue to share foxhunting with him and appreciate our bond is one in a million.

We know each other through and through, good and bad. He certainly can push my buttons like no other and I imagine he would say the same. We have certainly slowed down some over our 24-year relationship but we have both always preferred to take the slower, more direct approach so I am happy to report not too much has changed.” Stuart Sanders

We look forward to seeing this loved and lasting pair again at the Field Hunter Championship Finals in May.

Maryland -Delaware District Qualifier: Full Results Click Here

The Maryland -Delaware District Qualifier was held at the Marlborough Hunt Club, Sunday, November 13, 2022, in Upper Marlboro, MD. They were delighted to have a wonderful day and were pleased to have participants from so many Maryland hunts. It was a very successful event with 28 horses/competitors, 11 Hilltoppers, and 10 Hunters called back for the individual tests.  Hunts included De La Brooke, Marlborough Hunt, Goshen Hounds, Green Spring Valley Hounds, and Wicomico Hunt. The Qualifier was judged by Tommy Lee Jones from Cassanova and Loki van Roijen from The Plains.

Best Turned-Out Junior was awarded to Penelope Baldwin, owner, and rider of Maxmara, from Goshen Hounds. Best Turned-Out Adult was Christina Mulqueen owner and rider of Darla from De La Brooke Foxhounds. The First Flight Hunter was won by Newmarket Touchstone ridden Addie Jabin of Goshen Hounds. The Hilltopper Division was won by Eli, ridden by Amanda Smith of Wicomico Hunt.

Northern Virginia / West Virginia District Qualifier: Full Results Click Here

Even with a blustery cold Sunday, Northern Virginia/West Virginia District Qualifier entries enjoyed good footing and sport on November 13, 2022, in Warrenton with Old Dominion Hounds. The course rode well and the mock hunt was fun. The mock hunt ended up being 3.25 miles and 22 fences (for the hunters). Debbie Welch, MFH, Old Dominion led the first field mock hunt, and Dawn Colgan, MFH, Old Dominion led the Hilltoppers. The individual tests consisted of jumps, creeks, dropping rails, and a gate. There were 11 entries in the Hunters and 10 in Hilltoppers and was a very good quality of horses and riders competing. The judges were E. Sue Bopp, Snowden Clarke, Joy Crompton, MFH Farmington Hunt, Juliet Graham, Linda Reynolds, and Kathy Taylor.

Participating hunts included Warrenton Hunt, Middleburg Hunt, Loudoun/Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Orange County Hounds, Blue Ridge Hunt, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Old Dominion Hounds, and Thornton Hill Hounds. The winner of the Hunter Division was Barbara DuPree on her 15-year-old Hanoverian Chestnut, Warlock, from Warrenton Hunt and winner of the Hilltopper Division was Beth Dombrowsky on Privateer’s Buck from Middleburg Hunt. Best Turned Out was owner and rider Katie MacSwain on London By Night from Middleburg Hunt.

Congratulations to all the riders and horses. District Qualifiers will continue after the New Year. Keep following along and even enter a qualifier to celebrate the best foxhunter – yours!
Schedule listed here.