Drive From Poe’s Field

Seven turn-outs gathered for a trot down the very scenic North Poe’s Road: Carl and Caroline Cox with their “Black Boys” plus groom, Molly; Mary Munster and guest with her Friesians; Keith and Marci Bade with “Maya”, Tom and Barbara Wolf with “Sheba”, Lisa and Albert Andersen with “Cloud”, Sam Davis and guest with “Foxglove”, and the Yarborough’s with their mare “Strike a Pose” who was on her first solo picnic drive. The young mare is part of the Yarborough’s driving pair and although she’d been with the group while under saddle, it was a new experience for her to come out in harness. Bob and Leslie have been very sensible about the way they’ve started their pair so it was no surprise that this mare performed beautifully – went right down the road in company like a “pro” and stood calmly during the rest stop. They deserve to be very proud of her!
Gale Johnson, land owner in the Old Dominion Hunt territory and great friend to the PDC, hosted therest stop at his picturesque farm. He had invited a number of friends, including several who came “astride”, so it turned out to be quite a party! There was plenty of Champagne, blocks of cheese, baskets of crackers and so forth. All were invited – of course – back to the PDC picnic where the celebration continued over a generous lunch. Leslie set out a beautiful table, tastefully done in autumn décor. She had marinated steak for a day or two, then grilled it to perfection. Yum! Sides included Marci’s sesame noodles, Lisa’s mixed rice/grain/quinoa concoction, Barbara’s fresh-cut string beans among other tasty treats. When in Pennsylvania to have some new harness worked on, Caroline brought back an Amish “shoo fly pecan pie”. That, along with Marci’s homemade apple cake, disappeared in record time!
Beautiful weather, lovely surroundings, and the warmth of the Yarborough’s hospitality came together once again for another great PDC drive.

Ride to Thrive Polo Classic

Once again the Piedmont Driving Club met at Dr. Seager’s Chetwood Farm, in The Plains, Virginia to perform a carriage exhibition in support of this charity event. Six turnouts participated, each different and each displaying the very best in suitability to the occasion. Carl Cox drove his Black Boys to an ”auto top” surrey. His groom, Alexis, wore jacket/tie/flat cap that smartly complemented the dark green of the vehicle. Carl’s wife Caroline was on board, wearing a contrasting yellow hat and lighter green jacket. Mr. Bobby Dryer signaled each movement of the carriage parade with his coaching horn. Mary Munster drove her Friesian mares to a lovely wagonette. On board was Club President Anne Watkins looking ever so fetching under a large black hat adorned with a bright red flower. The very dapper Gardner Howe performed the duties as groom. The Baturay turnout of golden Haflingers was put to their finest carriage. Al looked impressive as he held the lines wearing a linen jacket and matching Fedora-styled hat. Vicki was stunning in a fuchsia hat and a scarf with tiny flowers that subtly echoed that bold hue. Mary Munster’s second turn-out was another of her Friesians, this time a gelding being driven as a single by her handsome staff member, Yuvani with his equally handsome brother, Adolfo as groom. Wayne Porter looked happy, relaxed and comfortable — as always — behind “Sweetie”, his dark bay QH mare. His turnout was enhanced by his lovely passenger, Club member Pat McCann, wearing a lovely hat in tones of brown and beige. Lastly but hardly least came Sam Davis who ALWAYS turns out appropriately. She and guest Cynthia Hill looked the part of proper country ladies out for a pleasant afternoon behind the smartly stepping Connemara mare, “Foxglove.”
The carriages paraded a mile or so over the Chetwood roads to the festivities. Each turnout was properly announced before lining up in front of a huge tent. Everyone was invited to come closer to view the carriages, chat with the whips and share glasses of wine or beer. After about one half hour, carriages departed – some took the “long way” to enjoy the quiet roads that surround the farm, others went directly to their trailers. Club members were then invited to partake of a sumptuous Latin themed buffet, marvel at the exhibition of young riders who are beneficiaries of the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, watch a polo match and SHOP the huge silent auction. There was also a live auction that included a trip to Ireland, a trip to Wyoming and – we think BEST of all – an opportunity to ride with Mary Munster on a special carriage outing at the Virginia Arboretum. We thank all the PDC members who worked hard to display the charm and tradition of carriage driving to the hundreds of people who attended this event, and we especially thank Mary for her generous donation. It brought a lot of cash to a very worthy cause.

Gleneden Farm

Relatively new to the Club, but hardly to the sport of carriage driving, PDC member Judy Hahn hosted a picnic drive at her Gleneden Farm in Berryville, Virginia. From start to finish, the event was SUPERB! Eight turn-outs participated: Leading the group was Judy Hahn with her bay crossbred gelding, “Buddy”. Leslie and Bob Yarborough drove a lovely bay mare that she also foxhunts, Kitty Newman with “Redwing”, her Farnley pony (also a bay), Marci and Keith Bade with Maya Luv, their Hafflinger mare,
Deb Bauserman with her smooth-moving Haffie, Al and Vicki Batturay with their pair of Haffie’s (do we see a trend here?). But wait, there were a few “dark horses” to round out the group: Mary Munster drove her Friesian girls and Molly Savage drove the Cox “black boys”.
The group travelled through Gleneden (and past a passel of Paint horses!) over to Woodley. For anyone who may not know, Woodley is home to the Blue Ridge Hunt races. It is a pristine estate of over 350 acres and a former home of one of Virginia’s pre-eminent foxhunting families, the Mackay-Smiths. A bit more of the history: Mr. Daniel Sowers bought the land from George Washington’s cousin and built the magnificent main house of pink Flemish bond work. As was typical of early houses built without
benefit of architects, Woodley was likely designed by its owner. It is a fine example of a Georgian house with some Federal conceits (including fanlights, side lights and dentil moldings at the front porch.) The wing was likely built during the Civil War because the brick façade changes from a darker brick to one that is slightly paler. The Civil War would have made it impossible to get bricks and the later shipment was not of the original fabrication. It was in this wing that Alexander Mackay-Smith had his study where he wrote “Foxhunting in North America.” The property boasts 2 generous secondary houses and an eight stall stable that was designed by the Mackay-Smiths to accommodate the hustle of a foxhunting morning. There is also a huge bank barn. This estate remains a working farm to this day.
Woodley is probably best known today as a host site for steeplechase racing, so what a thrill it was for the eight PDC carriages to trot ‘round the mile-plus track! Just before we set off to do that, however, we were treated to a Champagne stop beneath towering shade trees. Who knew that grapes actually taste better when served “kabob” style on sticks, along with chocolate-bottomed macaroons and chocolate covered raisins?!
Back at Gleneden, the happy whips and guests tended to their equines before gathering poolside behind the Hahn’s lovely home. Between the pool and a glistening waterfall we sat to enjoy fried chicken, warm biscuits, salads, more salads, canapes, pie, and Mary Munster’s “cookie sandwiches” (YUM!). There was, of course, a variety of wines and other cool drinks. The Hahn family showed that they are not only avid horse people but very gracious hosts!

Acadia Park Driving Week

The great news is that this was the “second annual” PDC trip to drive the carriage roads of Acadia Park inMaine…..the sad news is that there was only one PDC turnout that made the trip! Carl and Caroline Cox brought their half bred “Black Boys” north again for a fabulous week-plus of driving. The weather was unbeatable! Club President Anne Watkins generously offered a cottage at her family compound on Mt. Desert Island so the three of us (Carl, Caroline – that would be ME, and Anne) made the very best use
of every wonderful moment. We drove every day, save one when rain “threatened”. This group always looks forward for an opportunity to shop, so it was rather nice to turn the horses out for a rest and hit LL Bean, a huge shoe outlet, and possibly the BEST “kitchen” store I, Caroline, have ever seen. ( Fortunately for Carl, there was a large wine selection in the basement level……) There’s nothing quite like being on “the Island” with Anne – she’s been spending summers there for 20? 30? 40? Years and knows ALL the best spots! Like us, our horses were boarded in the very lap of luxury. No mucking/feeding/wondering what to do without turnout……such is the situation at the Park Stables….the Black Boys stayed at Wild Iris Farm, where their every need is met. (If you are not familiar with this place, you MUST “google” it. Your horse is treated as one of their own!)
We met up with last year’s PDC hosts, Gail and Ham Clark, for dinner one night and for a coupleof carriage rides through the Park. The Clarks also hosted a cocktail party for us and several other carriage driving buddies at their spectacular residence on the water. Our friends (and hard working doctors!) Tom and Lisa Sherman (formerly of Warrenton, Va. And now of Rye, N.H.) happened to be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in Bar Harbor (yikes, could they be that old?), thus weput together ANOTHER carriage drive and picnic lunch (with Champagne of course!) in their honor. We were fortunate as well to spend a little time with fellow 4-in-Hand Club member Jimmy Granito. Unfortunately, plans we had to drive with him had to be cancelled due to a situation back at his South Carolina farm.
All in all it was a fabulous trip, well worth the arduous drive one must endure to get there. Maybe nextyear we will have more Club members come up….maybe next year we’ll stay longer….maybe next year we’ll take 3 days, instead of 2, to get there. One thing is for certain, we WILL find a way to gather again at Acadia with as many driving friends as possible! There are still a couple of carriage roads we have not travelled over….. and perhaps a couple of restaurants where we have yet to sample the lobster?!