Great Meadow

Fifteen Members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club met on a spectacular Spring Sunday, May 18, to drive the roads and fields of the Great Meadow Event Center, home of the Virginia Gold Cup.  This drive had been cancelled earlier in the season due to uncooperative weather.  We did not have as many carriages as we had previously planned for because many Members had been lured to England for the Windsor Horse show (and who can blame them for giving in to THAT temptation!).

The tone was set:  leisurely, “go as you please”, so it was the kind of day where participants set their own pace and travelled where they wished.  Views of the race course were magnificent, as were the scenic hills that surround it.  The adjacent “Fleming Farm”, which is comprised of a couple of hundred acres had just been purchased by the Great Meadow Foundation.  Plans are to build a world-class  “three day eventing” venue on that site.  Gates were left open for the Club so we were able to preview the land from our carriages.  We drove through lovely groves of trees and around old corn fields to another open area where we discovered bull dozers and other heavy equipment “at rest”.  Obviously work has already begun to transform this newly acquired land.  Our gracious host, Mr. Robert Banner (Event Manager for Great Meadow) told us to expect additional roads suitable for carriage driving once the project is finished.

In all there were 5 turn-outs:  Caroline Cox drove her “Black Boys” to a wagonette, while husband Carl gave a few pointers in between sips of Champagne.  Tom Wolf, ousted as he was from his own carriage, popped the corks.  Barbara drove “Sheba”, turning the reins over from time to time to Leslie Yarborough.  Lisa Andersen drove “Cloud” to a wagonette brimming over with friends:  Pat Flynn and her daughter Barbara Ferneyhough (both new members to the PDC….Pat is retired from a lifetime of breeding, showing and promoting the “Ragamuffin” cat and Barbara still rides at the Grand Prix level).  No room today for Albert so he rode his impressive 17.3 h. hunter along side the carriage.  Marci Bade drove “Maya” and brought along a friend, Christine Pearson, while Keith set up for the picnic.  The Cox turn-out was happy to welcome back Groom Veronica who just finished her first year at Virginia Tech.  Lead Groom Molly, who as most of you know is a professional photographer in “real life,” spent the better part of the day taking pictures.  Bob Yarborough’s principle duty was to exercise “Dina’, their beautiful and sweet-natured German Shepherd.  For all concerned, whether on or off a carriage, it was a day for simple pursuits and relaxation.  Even on such a day, however, this group managed to work up an appetite.  Eventually a huge circle formed under a shade tree and the table was set.  Marci had grilled spare ribs all evening – just fabulous!  These were accompanied by fried chicken, Lisa’s “secret recipe” coleslaw, Caroline’s broccoli salad, Barbara’s fantastic bean concoction, pimento dip, deviled eggs, homemade potato salad, decadent “brownies-by-Marci” and of course plenty of drink choices.  It was certainly a pleasant way to spend a day in the country!

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