In the hunt country of Loudoun County, where a good steed is sometimes worth more than hard cash, an international feud is brewing over six horses, a carriage and ultimately who will reign as the world champion horse driver.
Virginia socialites Cloyce and Elizabeth Tippett say they bought a championship team of horses from award-winning equestrian Emil Jung so that America would have a good chance for the first time to win the 1978 world four-in-hand championship.
But Jung, a West German citizen, says he sold the animals and other horse paraphernalia to the Tippetts on condition that he could use them to win the championship for himself.
"I would not have sold the team (of horses) to the defendants had I not retained the right to use the team in the 1978 world championship," Jung said in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
"The principal reason for our purchasing the team and equipment was to have it compete in these 1978 world events as an American team owned by us in the hopes of winning a world's championship for America, which had never been previously accomplished," Tippett said in another court affidavit.
Jung is suing the Tippetts, who gallop between Miami, California, New York, Loudoun County and Europe - wherever their equestrian interests carry them. Jung said the Tippetts agreed in a hand-written contract to let him train the horses and drive them in the competition in Windsor, West Germany, before the world championship event next August.
But last October Jung said he tried to retrieve the equipment and was told by letter he was forbidden on Llangollen Farm, the Tippetts' Loudoun estate in Upperville.
"Shortly after the team was shipped to llangollen Farm a disagreement arose between myself and the (Tippetts) as to the training of the horses and as to other matters," Jung's affidavit said.
At that time Jung filed a suit against the Tippetts, but the Tippetts later agreed to let him have his property, according to court papers. Jung dropped the suit.
But Jung said when he tried to collect his belongings they had been damaged, a charge the Tippetts have denied in court papers. In addition, he charged that the Tippetts would not let him have the horses or a Bugatti carriage, which had been especially built for Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy 1920 to 1946.
The Tippetts said Jung sold them the carriage as part of the $82.500 deal last summer, but Jung contends he sold them another carriage, not the Bugatti.
So Jung renewed his suit, which was supposed to be heard in court yesterday. But Elizabeth Tippett was admitted to a Miami hospital this week for intestinal surgery, so Judge Oren hospital this week for intestinal surgery, so Judge OrenR. Lewis postponed the case until she recovers.