Practice Drive at Great Meadow

Since we were rained out on Sunday, it was decided – rather quickly – that as many “carriagers” as could should show up at Great Meadow for a practice drive, in preparation for the Piedmont Driving Club exhibition scheduled for July 4.  It was a hot, muggy day but that did not deter Carl Cox, Mary Munster, Barbara Wolf and Marci Bade from harnessing and hitching and executing a good working trot around the race course!  These four intrepid Club members worked out the details for the carriage parade which would ultimately have 7 turn-outs (a 4 in Hand, 2 pair of horses, 2 single horses and 2 single ponies).  Among those lending support to this effort were Kitty Newman and Pat McCann.  Both took seats in the carriages, along with Great Meadow Event organizer, Kim Shelly.

What we discovered is that Great Meadow is a FABULOUS venue for our Club.  The staff was welcoming and very carriage-friendly.  Parking is ample and the greens and roads are just perfect for a nice trot!  Since we were in “rehearsal” mode, the group put together an impressive, albeit impromptu picnic.  We’re hoping that this could be a fore-runner to a more lavish spread once we organize a future picnic drive at Great Meadow.  Thank you, Marci, for the delicious salad, deviled eggs, and assorted cheeses/crackers.  Don’t know how she does it, but Barbara always manages to pull something tasty out of her trailer — even with her impossibly tight schedule.  This time it was a bowl of yummy homemade coleslaw.  The Coxes can always be counted on to pop open a bottle or two of Champagne to round out any PDC gathering.  All in all, we had a GREAT time and managed, we think, to put together a very promising plan for the Club’s debut at the Great Meadow festivities on the 4th.

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Innisfree Farm

‘Twas a lovely day in mid June, Father’s Day in fact, that Mr. Doug Kemmerer again hosted the Piedmont Driving Club at Innisfree Farm in Bluemont, Va.  This time Doug had prepared a route which included a rest stop atop a lovely green knoll.  Mary Munster, with help from “team Baturay” treated us all to champagne and assorted munchies while Doug related how he and others were instrumental in preserving this spectacular piece of land.  In the evening, one can watch the sun set behind one hill while observing the moon rise over the other — quite an amazing spectacle!

The carriage roads that surround Innisfree are unparalleled and we were delighted to travel nearly 7 miles before gathering back at the stable for lunch.  Caroline provided chilled salmon and everyone else filled in with salads, sesame noodles, wines, appetizers and (of course) wonderful deserts.

Although Bob and Lesley Yarborough did not drive their new pony pair, they and their lovely daughter celebrated Father’s Day with “Team Cox” (Carl’s wagonette drawn by his 4 “black boys”.)  Who KNEW that lawyers come so young these days….?….and who knew that Leslie and Bob could have a daughter who is not only charming and beautiful but also a law school grad?!  

Upperville Horse Show

Several members of the Club participated in the Carriage Classic at the 160th anniversary of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show on June 9, 2013.  In all there were about 30 entrants, with former PDC President Maryalice Larkin-Matheson serving as judge.  In addition to the “pleasure” and “reinsmanship” classes for  singles and pairs of ponies and horses, there were cones classes for all.  The final class, a “Concours d’Elegance” took place in the very stylish and challenging Grand Prix Jumper ring in front of thousands of spectators.

The Club was pleased once again to have a member take the trophy in this prestigious class.  Carl Cox won it with his 4 in Hand of Black Crossbreds put to a Fenix Roof Seat Break.  Sounding the horn for him was Bobby Dryer.  Mary Munster was the last PDC member to win this coveted trophy when she competed with her elegant pair of Friesian mares.

Competition was stiff, with entrants coming from various places in Northern Virginia and Maryland.  We are pleased to announce that Mary Munster took first in the pleasure driving class, and second in  reinsmanship with the same pair.  Other PDC members:  Lisa Anderson, Pat McCann, Barbara Wolf, and Wayne Porter each captured ribbons in several classes, while Carl Cox took second in cones with his team.

A very special feature of the Carriage Classic is the hospitality tent that is so graciously provided by members of the Club.  Special thanks go out to Vicki Baturay, Marci Bade, Adrianne Brooks, Ben Cox, Elizabeth Cummings-Cox, Anne Watkins, Tom Wolf, and  Brenda Milne (who although not a member of the Club, contributes generously) for their tireless work as hosts/hostesses.  The food and drink was prepared and donated by these and  numerous other Club members.

The cones competition was made possible by another very special group of volunteers.   Thank you, Club member Sam Davis, for your hard work in ensuring that wheel measurements were properly done.  Sincere thanks also go to Babs Timmerman (scribe), Michel Denny (time keeper/cones), Tom Wolf (cones), Linda Robeson (cones), Owen Snyder (cones).

Oakwood farm

It was a privilege for the Club to traverse the beautiful Oakwood Farm property, which consists of about 800 acres of rolling fields, trails and farm roads. The views are unparalleled. The carefully restored mansion dates back, in part, to the Revolutionary War and both it and the copious gardens have been featured on the Virginia Garden Week tour. We think that there is no better way to enjoy this property than from the “box seat”!

Afterwards the picnic was held on the shaded patio surrounded with flowering plants near Caroline’s beautiful stately mansion’s pool. The table was set with colorful dinnerware, placemats and napkins with a vase of beautifully arranged flowers in the middle.

On the menu was specially seasoned grilled salmon, succulent slices of beef, diverse delectable salads, corn on the cob, cheese and crackers, delicious desserts, fruit, ice water and wine.Conversation was lively; stories of horse health issues to carriages to travel. It was a delightful afternoon in a beautiful tranquil setting with an amiable group of fellow horse lovers.

Glen Bolton Farm

Once again Mary Munster opened her picturesque Glen Bolton Farm, in The Plains, Virginia to fellow driving enthusiasts.  With only a week to go before the competition at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, members of the Piedmont Driving Club were eager to refine their skills on Mary’s challenging cones course.  Always the considerate hostess, she had a huge level area closely mowed and set with cones.  Some members came to drive, others to observe.  It all looked very easy as we watched her guide her Fresian mares deftly through…but as others tried their skill we could see that indeed there must be an art and a skill and, yes, a bit of luck if one is to successfully get around the course without incurring “faults!”  Carl Cox brought his team, the first time he ever attempted cones with a 4 in Hand.  Pat McCann and Barbara Wolf each took their horses for a spin through the course.  All agreed that they had fun and, most importantly, that they learned from the experience.  It will be ON to Upperville June 9!!
Since no PDC gathering is complete without food, Mary opened her stately (and air conditioned!) home to the group.  There was barbecue and chicken and salads and — best of all – Mary’s home made gazpacho.  Did I mention that, as an option, it could be served “spiked?!”  Delicious!