The Virginia Foxhound Club held its annual meeting and luncheon last weekend outside Warrenton. As the organization that runs the the largest hound show in the world, the Virginia Foxhound Show, the VFC has already been planning events, securing judges and raising funds for this year's edition on May 27th at Morven Park in Leesburg. A highlight of the weekend will be a Foxhunting Art Exhibit, featuring images of Virginia hunt clubs by select member artists of the American Academy of Equine Art.
Judy Allen received a beautiful painted plate in appreciation for her work. Betsy Smith, at right.
Artists selected to exhibit their works include Chris Cancelli, Kathleen Friedenberg, Morgen Kilbourn, Booth Malone, Joanne Mehl, Sally Moren, Fr. Michael Tang, Linda Volrath, and Larry Wheeler. The show, arranged in concert with the Museum of Hounds and Hunting at Morven Park as part of the Hark Forward initiative, will open May 25th and run through June 23rd. Details about the opening reception will be released soon.
The keynote speaker at the luncheon was John "Jeb" B. Hannum, III, a lifelong foxhunter who is also executive director of the Virginia Equine Alliance, a nonprofit group uniting various associations to promote and sustain breeding and racing in Virginia. Grandson of legendary foxhunter Nancy Penn Smith Hannum, he began his remarks with several anecdotes involving his grandmother's dedicated, if somewhat madcap, devotion to car following in her famous Jeep; neither a transmission failure which left her only able to navigate in reverse, nor making contact with and unhorsing his future wife deterred her zeal to keep up with hounds.
Bidders evaluated several tables of appealing silent auction items; proceeds directly support the Virginia Hound Show in May at Morven Park.
Hannum continued to summarize the status of Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeding and racing in the state, and his involvement in trying to find solutions and win support in the legislature. He noted that the Virginia Equine Alliance, comprising the Virginia Harness Horse Association, the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, the Virginia Gold Cup Association, and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, may be the only such umbrella nonprofit entity in the country serving the equine industry. Through aggressive pursuit of partnerships with various wagering platforms and strategic planning, the organization has been able to financially support racing and 'chasing meets, and Hannum was optimistic that this could continue into the future, with favorable bills now under consideration in Richmond.
Board member Betsy Smith presented Judy Allen with a decorative serving plate in recognition of Allen's service and work on the show committee. The membership elected to office Joan Jones, president; Sherry Buttrick, 1st vice president; Bob Ferrer, 2nd vice president and treasurer; and Diana Dutton, secretary.
For more information about the Virginia Foxhound Club, including a link to this year's show prize list, click here.