All members of the Piedmont Driving Club were invited to bring their carriages onto the polo field at Banbury Cross to perform a Carriage Exhibition and simple Quadrille.  While the Club has exhibited carriages previously at Banbury, never before had they attempted formation driving.  It was quickly decided at least one practice session would be necessary and that only those Members who attended that (under the rigorous guidance of Maryalice Matheson-Thomas!) should seek to perform at this event.  As it happened, even with a good practice session, there were a couple of missteps in the performance, but none which were immediately obvious to the appreciative crowd.  Whips who took the brave steps out on the field to “thread the needle” after performing intricate and well-timed circles were:  Red Team with Leader Carl Cox, Mary Munster, Yovani Sandoval, Sam Davis, and Alcinda Hatfield and Blue Team with Leader Mark Duffell, Lisa Andersen, Barbara Wolf, and Tom Albert.

Middleburg Life was on hand to photograph the polo, the Carriage Exhibition and, yes, Gracie the Amazing Mule.  It was hard to compete with a mule that shoots hoops, pushes a baby carriage, blows kisses and can count, add and subtract but we do believe that the horses and ponies of the Piedmont Driving Club did their best!

Lord of Banbury (as we like to think of him) Nelson Gunnell set up a tent and prime seating for the PDC so we could enjoy our picnic and watch some very exciting polo.  Caroline Cox put together a luncheon of fried chicken, salad and snacks with a variety of wine.  Club Members filled the rest of the tables with more salads, summer casseroles and other goodies.

It was a fun day.  Now, back to the drawing board to study new carriage driving formations….???


4MyLuv Farm

  Sunday, July 16, 2017 Members and guests of the Piedmont Driving Club parked trailers under huge shade trees to unload, harness and hitch for a picnic drive from 4MyLuv Farm in Middleburg, Va.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm with low humidity.  Our hosts, Brian and Patricia Walker and adjacent land owners Woody and Erika Offutt,  were on hand to greet everyone.  They had invited neighbors to watch the carriages move off.  Champagne flowed from somewhere behind the Cox trailer.  All were jovial, all was well.

But wait!  What was lurking across the lawn, peering out from between the trees?  Did I see a camel? Could that have been a water buffalo?  What about the momma zebra and her baby?  And there was more….an elephant, a bear, a giraffe…YIKES!  With giggles and sly glances, those in the Club who had driven before from this venue looked around to watch any “new comers”.  How would Lil’s pony handle these creatures?  Could Mary steer her unicorn through this unlikely “herd”?  Was Sheba finally over her suspicions?  (Just to be sure, Barbara hand walked her over to as many of the statues as time would allow.  “No problem, Mom, now let’s just hitch to the cart and get out of here!”)

Whenever we meet at the Walkers’ we wonder if they will have added to their collection.  I did see a crocodile, (or could it have been an alligator?) that I’d never noticed before, near the pond.  Fortunately there was no drama as whips, grooms and guests climbed aboard the carriages for what turned out to be a spectacular trot ‘round the countryside.

At the midway point, Kentfield, we were delighted to find a table manned by Queenie Kemmerer who was busily fixing Mimosas and placing cookies and other goodies in baskets.  A long way from Innisfree where we last saw her, how did she get here?   There was no car in sight.  Suddenly a booming voice from under a shade tree: “It is about time you arrived…. we might have finished all of the Champagne!”  And who did we see on the box seat, behind his team of chestnut thoroughbreds, but Honorary Member Doug Kemmerer.   

Picnic host Deb Bauserman had provided all the goodies which the Coxes had placed under a tree before the drive.  Who knew that the Kemmerers would have discovered the stash before we arrived at the rest stop?  We were happy to have them join the group and there was plenty to go around while horses rested in the shade.  Doug led eight carriages back to 4MyLuv.  Before long we were feasting on Deb’s poached salmon and all the delightful accompaniments that had been provided by Club members.

Caroline Collomb and one of her pretty grooms took a dip in the pool.  Several of the male guests tried to figure out who might have been the model for a recumbent statue at poolside.  It seems that the Walkers appreciate art other than the likeness of wild animals!

President Anne Watkins surprised Club founding Member Kitty Newman with Honorary Membership to the Club, a life time award.  Host Brian Walker filled glasses with his signature Bloody Marys to toast the occasion.  It was a perfect end to a delightful day.  

Whips for this drive were:  Carl Cox, Mary Munster, Bertrand Collomb, Caroline Collomb, Lil Jacobs, Barbara Wolf, Anne Watkins, Deb Bauserman and Doug Kemmerer.  Sounding the horn on the Cox carriage was Bobby Dreyer.  



Innisfree Farm Picnic Drive

There were nine turn-outs in all at the Innisfree Farm picnic drive including TWO unicorns, three pair and four singles.  Yes, host Doug Kemmerer took out three of his well -matched chestnut thoroughbreds, and Mary Munster hitched her three Friesians.  The Baturay and Collomb carriages were pulled by pairs of Haflingers (of course!)  Carl Cox drove his black and tan geldings, Barbara Wolf drove her big black Sheba, Tom Albert drove his very black Lino, Albert Andersen drove his splashy grey Amos, and Alcinda Hatfield drove her butterscotch pony (don’t know the name!)

Doug led the way ‘round a 5-plus mile loop along historic gravel roads.  The scenery was breathtaking, every inch of the way.  Every farm, house and cottage is maintained to perfection with intact stone walls and thoughtful landscaping.  We passed through the tiny village of Unison and up a winding farm road to “Kennedy’s Hill.”  There we stopped for refreshments.  The view from this height was magical in every direction, thanks in part to the Kemmerer’s continuing efforts to lobby for land preservation.

With the help of Queenie and her staff, Caroline Cox distributed Bauchant-infused fresh fruit cups and “lemon drops” with/without Vodka as requested.  Light faire for a fair day to be sure!  With temps in the low 80’s, a slight breeze and NO humidity, it was easy on horses, whips, grooms and guests alike.

Once rested we wound our way down the meadow and past a glistening pond, then it was back onto the gravel road for a leisurely trot to Innisfree.

Somehow, in between putting Doug’s horses to and loading their wagonette, Queenie had managed to transform their stable into an inviting eatery.  She’d arranged a buffet and set out chairs for all.  The tables were over-laden with homemade pulled pork, coleslaw a la Barbara Wolf, delicious stuffed grape leaves, yummy baked beans, ciabatta rolls, Queenie’s signature cheese dollars, and quiche as only the French can make it (I think I already hinted that Caroline Collomb drove with us!)  There was homemade lemonade and plenty of wine (we’re still emptying bottles left over from our Christmas Party).  In all it was quite a feast!

What about dessert?  Isn’t the Piedmont Driving Club known for finishing off every event with something sweet?  Well, how about TWO chocolate sheet cakes: one in celebration of host Doug’s birthday and the other to recognize the significant accomplishments of two treasured members.  Doug and Sam Davis were both elevated to “Honorary Membership” status for their long- time and unwavering dedication to the Piedmont Driving Club.  President Anne Watkins made the presentation.  Congratulations on behalf of the entire Membership!