Keswick Hunt wasn't fooling around when it entered the Foxhunter's Series this year. The Palmyra, Va.-based hunt knew early on in the five-show series, which ended last night at the Washington International Horse Show in Landover, that the more horses you have, the better the odds.
Keswick dominated the competition at the other shows--Warrenton Horse Show (Sept. 5), Middleburg Classic (Sept. 26), Capital Challenge Horse Show (Oct. 3) and last week's Pennsylvania National Horse Show--and was a shoe-in to win at Washington. The hunt finished with 168 points overall.
"We started out the season with three teams, but we knew we would only be able to show two teams tonight, so it was a weeding-out process along the way," said Magruder Dent, whose horse In Retrospect was the high-point winner for the series. "We committed long before Warrenton. If you want it, you have to set your sights on it early."
Elkridge-Harford Hunt of Monkton, Md., was the reserve champion series winner at 108 1/2 points. For the second year in a row, Elkridge-Harford Hunt came away with the Foxhunter Challenge Trophy and the WIHS championship for winning Washington's Hunt Night.
For Elkridge-Harford, Mexican Wave and Liz Dolmetsch were the Field Hunter 35-and-under winners, and Rose To The Occasion and Kristian Hafner placed second. But it was Elkridge-Harford's two hunt teams finishing second and third that clinched it.
"We are a very team- and hunt-oriented group," said Liz McKnight, who rode on one of a match team of grays.
But it will be Fairfax Hunt that would have their named etched on Washington's Hunt Team trophy. The team of Joe Muldoon III (Damian) Joseph Keusch (Glasnost) and Mary Frances Smoak (Tucker) bested the competition with their smooth ride and their brilliant last fence all abreast. Fairfax Hunt was the WIHS reserve champion winner for the evening.