News

2014 News

July 4- Carriage Exhibition , Great Meadow, The Plains, Va
The Piedmont Driving Club was again invited to display carriages in connection with the Annual Independence Day Celebration at Great Meadow. It was a time of choices, however, so with the Morven Park Carriage Show occurring on July 5 members had to choose. PDC members Dr. Tom Burgess, Mary Munster, Lisa Anderson and Wayne Porter each decided that to do both would have been a bit of a squeeze so they opted for the Saturday Show. Despite this “split”, Club members will get back together on Sunday for a Pleasure Drive (and picnic!) over the expanded carriage trails at Morven Park.

Five turn-outs went to Great Meadow and what a “show” THEY put on! PDC member Molly Savage who is the Lead Groom for Team Cox turned out the Cox wheelers (aka the “Black Boys”) to an elegant auto-topped surrey. She and groom Veronica Demarest looked sharp in blue jackets, red striped ties and black bowlers. Carl and Caroline Cox sipped Champagne in the back seat, careful not to spill it on their best “bib and tuck”. Carl is still wearing his brace but we wonder if he isn’t being spoiled a bit 
with Molly handling the reins. Al and Vicki Baturay turned out their solid gold Haflingers to a custom built wagonette, further adorned by guest (and PDC member) Adrienne Brooks who looked splendid in red white and blue. Tom and Barbara Wolf were once again a picture of elegance behind “Sheba” whose black coat glistened with every powerful stride. “Maya Luv”, the pretty Haflinger mare, pulled a Bird in Hand wagonette that was festooned in patriotic splendor and displayed several American flags. Marci guided her effortlessly around the course with Keith waving to the appreciative crowd. Lastly – but hardly least – came Sam Davis and guest Cynthia Hill, both in the colors of the day. Sam drove her bay Connemara mare, “Foxglove” to a British-made (of course!) competition gig. Foxglove made the trip around the Great Meadow course before a cheering throng of thousands in an OPEN bridle. Did I mention that Sam had bred, raised and trained this pony? She was absolutely flawless despite all the unfamiliar sights and sounds.

The weather was perfect, the crowd very enthusiastic and our trip around the famous race course was spot on. “How could anything be better than this?” we thought as we loaded up our trailers for the trip home. Those of us who returned for the evening’s festivities soon learned that things would just keep getting better and better... The Great Meadow Foundation had given the Club two rail spots and numerous parking passes in appreciation for our efforts. Club member Pat McCann was unable to participate in the carriage exhibition this year so she quietly volunteered to “host” at the rail. Have you ever felt like you were “guest of honor” at your own party? This is pretty much how we felt when we joined the tailgate! Pat and friends put together the most magnificent outside dining experience one could ever imagine. The tables were beautiful, there were chairs for all (for viewing the display of fireworks to come). The food was superb – fried chicken, grilled salmon, inspired salads, fruits, sweets 
& savories....plenty of wine and summer drinks. Friend of the PDC, Erika Payne, set up a lap top that continually rotated pictures of our carriages as they travelled over Great Meadow. Such fun to watch! We thank Pat for attending to every detail of the party and adding her gracious touch to a lovely day.

Oh, and by the way, the fireworks were pretty awesome as well!


June 29 4th of July Rehearsal, Great Meadow, The Plains, Va
On Sunday, June 29, 2014 eleven members of the Piedmont Driving Club met under our favorite tree at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. for a dual purpose meeting. Team Cox brought out the “Black Boys”put to a wagonette for a preview of the grounds. Lead Groom Molly Savage took the reins and guided the pair around the race course, past the viewing stand and then over the many inviting gravel roads that circle the grounds. Passengers included the “still mending” Carl Cox plus Caroline, Club President Anne Watkins, Mary Munster, and Kitty Newman. Barbara and Tom Wolf followed with ”Sheba” put to a village cart. Plans were set for the July 4 Carriage Exhibition. We only hope that the weather will be as lovely as it was this day!

Meanwhile Marci and Keith Bade were fast at work setting up tables and chairs for our meeting/picnic. Once the horses and carriages were put up we gathered for the MAIN EVENT.... A very special birthday party for a very special fellow.....our Keith turned 70 years young this very day! Of course there was a lovely cake, plenty of flowers and several very funny cards. Marci spent 3 days marinating the pork tenderloin to which she added her signature sesame noodles. Accompanying dished included a luscious green salad, a ranch potato salad, chips/dips and the biggest, sweetest strawberries we’ve seen this season! Pat McCann managed to arrive just in time for the luncheon with a bowl of cherries and a plate of Pimm’s cookies. We toasted Keith (quite a few times!) with Champagne, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay......somebody said there was delicious homemade iced tea as well (but I must have missed it with all the wine....!)


June 15-PDC Picnic Drive, Locust Hill, The Plain, VA
The Piedmont Driving Club was pleased to find a NEW venue for picnic drives thanks to the generosity of Magalen O. Bryant, owner of the beautiful Locust Hill Farm in The Plains. Her grandson, Michael Webert manages the farm and is assisted by horse-manager Karen Russell. Together they developed a plan for the Club’s drive that included mowing the parking area as well as many pathways along the fields. The route that they chose allowed for our rest stop on the grassland where the Orange County 
Races are run. PDC Board Members Mark Duffell and Barbara Wolf (assisted of course by hubby Tom) coordinated with them, ensuring all the details that made for a spectacular 7+ mile drive. There was plenty of shade along tree-lined lanes that boasted both excellent footing and gorgeous scenery. Arrangements were made to pass through neighboring Foxbrook, the farm of Dr. William and Valerie Lees who came out and took pictures as we came up the driveway (careful not to flatten even ONE beautiful plant!)

Mark arranged for a very memorable “rest stop” hosted by Whitestone’s secretary, Laura and her son.They were tasked with serving the cucumber sandwiches and other goodies that Mark HIMSELF had prepared in the wee hours that morning. These were accompanied by Champagne, Mimosas and Sangria -- absolutely delightful! After the drive there was a huge picnic luncheon in a shaded meadow. Once again Mark, Barbara and Tom left nothing to chance – while the Club was driving Mark had been heating a huge pan of Whitestone beef barbecue and thus it was bubbly hot and delicious when the hungry crowd gathered for lunch. Side dishes included Barbara’s nearly famous wild rice salad, freshly made veggie casseroles, more salads, fruit compote and plenty of deserts. Nothing says “summer” like strawberry shortcake and Marci’s did not disappoint! (And there’s nothing like canned whipped cream to liven up a party. Laura’s son put it on everything...) Wine and chilled mojitos flowed freely, 
along with tea and lemonade. The eight turn-outs for the day included Mark and his fancy pair of Paint Drafts (with guest Erin, plus Michael & Valerie Webert and their 2 year old son William on board for his inaugural “Father’s Day” ride), Mary Munster with her Friesians (Club President Anne Watkins and Pat McCann on board), Barbara and Tom Wolf with “Sheba”, Lisa Anderson driving “Cloud” (hubby Albert and guest from Journeyman Tack on board), Judy Hahn driving her handsome crossbred “Buddy” (4 guests/grooms), Marci and Keith Bade with their lovely Haflinger mare, “Maya”, Sam Davis and her Connemara mare “Foxglove” (and guest), Alcinda Hatfield with hubby. She drove the smallest and probably most game pony, “Buster Brown”.

Not driving, but there to offer support and sample the wines, were Carl and Caroline Cox and Club VicePresident Maryalice Matheson - Thomas. Carl was sporting a sling following recent surgery to repair a torn shoulder. For anyone who may not know, he “fell off the wagon” quite literally at an earlier drive after loading his carriage. And yes, this occurred BEFORE the apres-drive party...!)

The Locust Hill Drive was a huge success and there can be no doubt that we will happily accept any future invitation to drive there. Many thanks are due Magalen O. Bryant, her family and staff, for their gracious hospitality and support of the Piedmont Driving Club.

June 8- PDC open drive, Blandy, Boyce,VA
Social/Activities Chairperson Vicki Baturay, who designs the pretty fliers sent out to announce upcoming events, came up with yet another great idea! Since the Blandy Farm at the Virginia Arboretum is a public venue, why not gather driving enthusiasts from neighboring Clubs to join with the PDC for a drive through these lovely grounds....with picnic to follow, of course.

Wholeheartedly embracing this idea, Board member Wayne Porter agreed (with the help of his lovelywife, Elizabeth) to host the occasion. Wayne drove trusty “Tucker” to his beautiful new carriage with Elizabeth at his side and Club member Cynthia Daly on board. Al and Vicki Baturay brought two guests along in their carriage behind “Nordex” and his younger buddy “Aztec“. Barbara drove “Sheba” to her high riding road cart, with hubby Tom as navigator. The most memorable turn-out of the day had to be the Frost carriage: The came all the way from Pennsylvania with Mike, Debbie, 2 daughters, one son-in-law, 2 grand-kids and a 2 month old baby. One very attractive and able Haflinger pulled the whole family, save one who stayed behind! They reported that they had a GRAND time and we are so happy to hear that as they are relatively new members.

Perhaps it was the threatening weather (it did actually rain a bit....) but we were joined by only one person from another Driving Club. She drove a very cute VSE (I still call them “mini’s”) and seemed to enjoy both the venue and the picnic.

Since I was not actually present for any of this (Hubby Carl Cox was home recovering from surgery to atorn rotator cuff), I shall quote in part an email I received from Barbara Wolf:

“Not as hot as expected thanks to clouding up and breeze, but once we were out, the sky darkened steadily to the NW and wind picked up. Baturays went first and Vicki navigated around the grounds. Frosts followed us and kept a very nice pace – we were sandwiched by Haflingers! Who knows when or where Wayne went, indeed there are many options at Blandy. We eventually got into the woods on some fairly narrow trails, not exactly suited to carriage horses. But we made it out eventually. We were going to kid new member Mike Frost about giving him the “steering audition” in the woods – and noted that he passed with flying colors! By the time we approached the parking area again there was clearly a storm brewing: we’d been sprinkled on several times, dark clouds were moving in, and there had been a distant lightening flash or two. Time to come in. When we got back who should we encounter but Lisa and Albert Andersen. They’d been riding 4 year olds, acclimating them to the sights and sounds of carriages.....The rain held off and Club President Anne Watkins had arrived in time for the picnic. The Frosts are a cheerful bunch and had a good time in spite of the foreshortened drive; he was just as glad, actually, since it was a new experience to drive in a group and the weather was risky at best. Baby never made a peep and the little kids were very nice. Great addition to the Club, for sure! Lisa and Albert returned as the picnic was winding down but they were hungry and had a huge amount of watermelon amply marinated in blueberry vodka, so they ate while people admired the new Kentucky Break in the trailer, and the watermelon disappeared. By the time we finished the picnic, the storm had blown by to the north and the sun was out.”

It all goes to show that no matter how many or how few members of the Piedmont Driving Club gather together, everyone can be assured of a good time!

May 21 Your Hat Lady Event, Warrenton,va
Once again members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club were invited to gather for a sampling of “Chapeaux and Canapes” at Gertie Edwards’ shop in Warrenton, Va. Your Hat Lady never disappoints! She had a huge collection of spring and summer hats for us to try and we bought quite a few! Among the happy hat shoppers were Vicki Baturay, Caroline Collomb, Caroline Cox, Teresa Young and Pat McCann. Yes, Carl Cox also managed to find the “perfect” hat, this one to complement his newly acquired rain gear for his roof seat break. Sadly some of our “regulars” were still in England at the “post Windsor” festivities. Gracious Gertie provided no end of sandwiches, fruit and cheeses platters and homemade goodies to accompany the bubbles we discretely brought along (!) Afterwards we had a delicious meal at “Sibby’s”, arguably some of the BEST barbecue south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
May 18- Great Meadow, The Plains , VA
Fifteen Members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club met on a spectacular Spring Sunday, May 18, to drive the roads and fields of the Great Meadow Event Center, home of the Virginia Gold Cup.  This drive had been cancelled earlier in the season due to uncooperative weather.  We did not have as many carriages as we had previously planned for because many Members had been lured to England for the Windsor Horse show (and who can blame them for giving in to THAT temptation!).  

The tone was set:  leisurely, “go as you please”, so it was the kind of day where participants set their own pace and travelled where they wished.  Views of the race course were magnificent, as were the scenic hills that surround it.  The adjacent “Fleming Farm”, which is comprised of a couple of hundred acres had just been purchased by the Great Meadow Foundation.  Plans are to build a world-class  “three day eventing” venue on that site.  Gates were left open for the Club so we were able to preview the land from our carriages.  We drove through lovely groves of trees and around old corn fields to another open area where we discovered bull dozers and other heavy equipment “at rest”.  Obviously work has already begun to transform this newly acquired land.  Our gracious host, Mr. Robert Banner (Event Manager for Great Meadow) told us to expect additional roads suitable for carriage driving once the project is finished.

In all there were 5 turn-outs:  Caroline Cox drove her “Black Boys” to a wagonette, while husband Carl gave a few pointers in between sips of Champagne.  Tom Wolf, ousted as he was from his own carriage, popped the corks.  Barbara drove “Sheba”, turning the reins over from time to time to Leslie Yarborough.  Lisa Andersen drove “Cloud” to a wagonette brimming over with friends:  Pat Flynn and her daughter Barbara Ferneyhough (both new members to the PDC….Pat is retired from a lifetime of breeding, showing and promoting the “Ragamuffin” cat and Barbara still rides at the Grand Prix level).  No room today for Albert so he rode his impressive 17.3 h. hunter along side the carriage.  Marci Bade drove “Maya” and brought along a friend, Christine Pearson, while Keith set up for the picnic.  The Cox turn-out was happy to welcome back Groom Veronica who just finished her first year at Virginia Tech.  Lead Groom Molly, who as most of you know is a professional photographer in “real life,” spent the better part of the day taking pictures.  Bob Yarborough’s principle duty was to exercise “Dina’, their beautiful and sweet-natured German Shepherd.  For all concerned, whether on or off a carriage, it was a day for simple pursuits and relaxation.  Even on such a day, however, this group managed to work up an appetite.  Eventually a huge circle formed under a shade tree and the table was set.  Marci had grilled spare ribs all evening – just fabulous!  These were accompanied by fried chicken, Lisa’s “secret recipe” coleslaw, Caroline’s broccoli salad, Barbara’s fantastic bean concoction, pimento dip, deviled eggs, homemade potato salad, decadent “brownies-by-Marci” and of course plenty of drink choices.  It was certainly a pleasant way to spend a day in the country!  


May 11 PDC Drive from Innisfree, Round Hill, Virginia on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014 
 
Once again, Members and guests of the Piedmont Driving Club wrapped up an afternoon of carriage driving and comraderie with CAKE – birthday cake, of course! But allow me to page back through the day, for there is so much more to report, and I’ll get to the cake…. 
With temps in very agreeable low 80’s, puffy clouds and verdant green as far as one could see, 6 carriages set out to travel the quiet gravel roads from Doug and Queenie’s Innisfree, home to their many chestnut-hued Thoroughbred (yes!) driving horses. There was a plan afoot…..we needed to get Doug off his mower (as he was still “making ready” for company) and AWAY from the property. Queenie insisted that she could manage setting up for the picnic that was to be held in the stable following the drive. Doug never questioned that, why would he? This was Queenie, his wife, life-partner, care-taker of all things great and small (horses, Dalmations, cats and chickens…), and most loyal supporter. We convinced Doug that he could be more useful in the Cox carriage, where he would sit beside Whip Molly Savage as she led the group on a 6.5 mile drive. Carl and Caroline Cox sat in the rear of the wagonnette with Marci Bade’s son and his fiancé while Doug provided commentary on the many estates and points of interest along the way. Following were Barbara and Tom Wolf with ”Sheba” put to a lovely village cart. As usual they were a pleasing picture – 
Tom in jacket and tie, Barbara in a spring dress with a lovely hat – but this time they were completely out-classed by Sheba who wore a simple strand of PEARLS around her sleek neck! After all it was Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate feminine pulchritude… 
Albert Anderson once again squired his lovely wife Lisa via a cart he restored. “Cloud” responded beautifully to his strong but sensitive hands. Albert, as you may know, spends much of his day fashioning metal into intricate and often delicate shapes. Deb Bauserman and guest were stunningly dapper behind her Hafie gelding. No more struggles for her – with a new trailer that houses both horse AND carriage, she simply slips both out, dons harness, puts to and goes…..! Marci and Keith Bade drove “Maya” to their new carriage and after the rest stop made a switch of passengers, bringing her son and fiancé back to the picnic while Keith joined the Cox carriage. Judy Hahn came again with “Buddy”, her handsome Standardbred/Percheron gelding, strong enough to pull several members of “Team Gleneden” in the Bronson Wagon. They are a pleasure to watch – each has his/her job and the horse is 
always the center of attention. They are careful to see he gets what he needs, be it a pat, a rub or a cooling spray when his work is done. 
The group travelled together through the quaint village of Unison and up to the top of a very special meadow – special because it was nearly lost to a developer who sought to plant 28 houses there and now, thanks in part to Doug and Queenie, it remains forever in scenic easement. Queenie, Lisa and Marci had conspired earlier to provide us with Mango Mojitos and canapes stuffed with crab and chicken while we rested horses, chatted and savored the view. On certain dates one can observe the sun set in one direction while the moon rises in another – spectacular! After a leisurely trot to Innisfree, we arrived back at the Kemmerer Stable to find that it had been totally transformed. The plan worked! In Doug’s absence, Queenie had managed to string Happy Birthday banners, balloons and decorations throughout. And on the table, of course, was an enormous cake inscribed, “Happy Birthday Doug”. Who knew that this was his 76th birthday????? Well, we all did, but we never let on and he was TOTALLY surprised! There was plenty of food and fun (the standard for a PDC picnic!) but one thing about the venue that made it extra special was Doug and Queenie’s tack room……those who took the time to enter saw a lifetime of carriage adventures depicted in pictures. Doug, as many of us already knew, has experienced more on the box seat (behind single, pair, team and tandem turn outs) than most of us will ever even be able to read about! He is a legend in the art and sport of driving and we of the PDC are honored by the interest he takes in our simple pursuits! Indeed it was a very Happy Birthday for everyone present. 

May 4-North Wales, Warrenton,va
A Festival of “Firsts”…. 
There were plenty of “FIRSTS” on this delightful spring day: FIRST time ever that the Club has been invited to drive the beautiful grounds of the North Wales Estate in May.  Previously we have been asked to wait until October, after haying and all crops were harvested. Everything about the day was lovely, with the grounds freshly green from a well-soaked April, and our horses ready for a brisk trot over welcoming roads.  It was, however, WINDY! In all we travelled over 7 miles of the estate, but were reticent to approach the lowlands and the water crossings due to the torrential rains of the past couple of weeks.  

 Nice that the Whitestone folks thought to bring along an agile, young proper British groom --   he was better able than most of us to pop off the carriage and retrieve the many hats lost to the relentless breeze (It was the very dapper-looking Tom’s FIRST outing with us as well and we hope to see him often!)  This was also the FIRST time Whitestone’s Mark Duffell brought out his handsome (and formidable!) pair of Paint geldings.  They were a perfectly behaved splash of color, even bigger than his Belgian pair.  Mark drove them to a wagonette full of happy guests: George Lemm, Kirsi Kaiser, Dixie Noffsinger, Nancy Adracsek and Robin Clewes.   Another FIRST came in the form of “Team Gleneden”, new PDC member Judy Hahn’s spectacular turn-out.  Her handsome crossbred gelding was put to a beautifully restored Bronson Wagon and everyone—whip, grooms, horse and carriage were decked-out in matching blue appointments.  Very nice!  Another “FIRST?”  Mary Munster left her Friesian girls at home but she shared reinsmanship duties with Wayne Porter, driving his smooth-moving Chestnut gelding.  Club President Anne Watkins, accompanied by PDC member Kitty Newman and groom Alita, drove the cute and steady “Windsor Greys”.  Despite the wind, Club Vice President Maryalice Matheson managed to school Bob and Leslie Yarborough’s snappy TB/Connemara mares…..with plenty of nicely executed turns, stops and “stand please” in pair harness.   Also a FIRST:  Team Cox’s Lead Groom Molly Savage made her debut as sole whip of the Cox carriage.  She kept the Cox “Black Boys” up in the bridle while Carl continued to nurse his separated shoulder with a few glasses of Champagne and Caroline spent her time in the back of the wagonette trying to keep her hat on her head, her skirt in a respectable place and chatting all the while with the very charming Tom Adracsek, a spill-over guest from the Whitestone carriage.  Not quite a “FIRST”, but happening more and more:  Albert Anderson drove “Cloud” while wife Lisa appeared to concentrate on nothing more than looking relaxed and gorgeous at his side. “Sheba” (and by now you ALL know who she is) demonstrated that she is happy and obedient at the other end of the lines wherever Barbara chooses to place her, thus the Wolfs (Tom and Barbara) presented an elegant picture congruent with the spectacular location. For sure that is NOT a “FIRST” for them, as they can always be counted on to turn out with grace and style!   FIRST, last and in the middle at times, Marci and Keith Bade piloted the ONLY Haflinger of the day (and THAT is another “FIRST” for this Club).  The lovely “Maya” hauled Marci, Keith, and ALL of the food and drink that Keith served so gallantly (despite 30 mph gusts?!) at the rest stop atop the farm.  When we weren’t clutching our hats, spilling Champagne and dropping canapes in our laps, we enjoyed the panoramic view. 

 What a great group of horses we have, they stood like statues through it all!  Then “Maya” gamely trotted back to the picnic site where Marci and Keith had stretched out tables laden with marvelous food, flowers and a few heavy LOGS, just to keep everything in place. We were met by the ever-enthusiastic PDC member Teresa Young (and we so look forward to her FIRST club outing with her harness horse!) Fortunately the elegant stable yard of North Wales is quite sheltered from the kind of wind we experienced on other parts of the farm.  Or maybe, with all that fried chicken, lamb, salad, deviled eggs, veggie casseroles, wine, more wine, Marci’s SANGRIA, and a few left-over bottles of Champagne, we simply forgot about the wind?  Finally, and this is hardly a FIRST for this Club. we all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Club President Anne Watkins!  The whole thing ended, of course, with cake……again, NOT a PDC “FIRST”!  
  
April 18-It was decided that the Piedmont Driving Club would suspend picnic drives in much of the Northern Virginia territory due to at least one confirmed case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) in the area.  Consequently the drives planned for Easter Sunday (April 20/Innisfree Farm, Round Hill) and for the following Sunday (April 27/Glen Bolton Farm, The Plains) have been cancelled, with the hope that they can be rescheduled once this crisis has been resolved. Plans are being made for “non-driving” activities, so please continue to check your emails.
 
On a happier note, take a look at the lovely painting that will be entered into a contest in Baltimore.  Michele (?) painted the picture of Club President Anne Watkins and friends from a photo she took at last year’s drive from Philip Carter Winery in Hume, Va.
 
The May/June issue of “In and Around Horse Country” features an article about the Club’s 2013 season that was submitted by yours truly (Caroline Cox).  Of the many photos also submitted, they chose to include three with the article, hence Carl Cox, Mary Munster, and Lisa Anderson have perhaps achieved a modicum of fame!


April 13 Kittery Point Farm Bluebell Drive , Va
Piedmont Driving Club President Anne Watkins left nothing to chance as she hosted the Club for this stellar event! At a balmy 80-plus degrees, it was the warmest day so far this year, with just the right touches of sunshine through billowy clouds and gentle breezes. The route from her farm to the Shenandoah was lovely, with plenty of daffodils along the way and a vivid profusion of blue bells all along the river banks. Fourteen turn-outs, including one pair under saddle, made the delightful 7 ½ mile journey to a waterfall and back. There was, of course, a rest stop in a meadow along the way. In keeping with the celebration, Champagne flowed along with plenty of good cheer on the part of Whips, grooms, guests and neighbors who gathered to view the carriages. 

Turn-outs included: Carl and Caroline Cox driving their 4 in Hand with new PDC members Michael and Debbie Frost, plus grooms Molly and Alexis on board; Anne Watkins driving her “Windsor greys” with PDC member Kitty Newman and groom Alita; Mary Munster plus grooms driving her Friesian mares, Al and Vicki Baturay driving their Hafflinger pair, Caroline and Bertrand Collomb plus groom driving their Hafflinger pair, Debbie Bauserman and guest driving her Hafflinger, Marci and Keith Bade, driving their Hafflinger mare ……wait, do we see a trend here?....well, not everyone in the Club drives Haffies (at least not yet!). There was also Pat McCann and guest with her Saddlebred/cross, Wayne Porter and guest with his QH, Lisa and Albert Andersen with their Percheron crossbred (and did we see Albert take the lines for a while? Yes we did!), Sam Davis drove the venerable Torr (more on them later!); New PDC member Judy Hahn,a neighbor of Anne’s, drove a lovely dark bay to a natural wood four wheel vehicle and let’s not forget Alcinda and Tom Hatfield with their HALF Hafflinger! Rounding out the group, Leslie Yarbrough and friend rode her pair of TB/Connemara mares and she promises that soon she will bring them in harness. 

On such a beautiful day with so many lovely turn-outs to view, there were plenty of appreciative guests. Anne’s neighbors are well aware of this annual event and rarely miss the opportunity to come out. They join us of course for the sumptuous luncheon she and the Club lay out beneath the eaves of Anne’s stable. To get the party started, Vicki Baturay greeted each person with a little cup of “blue bell cheer”. She’s been at it again: this time she suspended blue berries in “shots” of Jello that had been infused with vodka and BLUE curacao, creating a delightful-looking and tasty treat. This year Anne also invited members from her bridge club, a fun loving group for sure. It was a day of celebration as the Club met for its traditional “opening meet” at Kittery Point. Lunch was “over the top” with spring lamb, beef tenderloin, fried chicken, soup, about a dozen different salads, quiche(s), beans, beets, fresh asparagus, chips/dips, crackers/cheeses, wine and even more Champagne. It was also Carl Cox’s birthday so there was, of course, cake for all. The most honored guest, however, had four legs: Founding member Sam Davis brought “Torr” to the party. Perhaps one of the earliest equine members of the PDC, the Connemara came to celebrate his 30thbirthday with carrot cake and several swigs of Guinness straight from the bottle. And, yes, he took his beloved Sam for a cart trip, although not quite down to the river (Torr has seen it many, many times anyway!) Having Torr celebrate his longevity with us at the party presented an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own horses/ponies and to appreciate that without their willingness to serve and their inherent patience and kindness, we could never know the joys of carriage driving. 




April 6 Temple Hall, Leesburg, Va
With the deluge of last weekend but a soggy memory, ten turn-outs gathered to drive the soon-to-be verdant fields of Temple Hall Farm in Leesburg, Va. So eager were Club members to be “a-horse”, they came with shaggy, shedding coats and carriages that were perhaps a bit dusty, but with no lack of enthusiasm. Leslie Yarbrough even came WITHOUT her carriage….so to exercise her new pair of TB/Connemara mares, she enlisted the aid of good friend Emma and they rode astride among the carriages. Janet Olcutt and hubby Mike ARRIVED as members of a neighboring Club, the “Weekend Whips” and LEFT as members of the PDC. Their pair of snowball minis took the day’s “awe, how adorable!” award -- hands down. The little pair trotted gamely among the PDC turn-outs which included Carl Cox’s (no doubt daunting) 4 in Hand of crossbred black geldings. Caroline was beside him as grooms Molly and Alexis flawlessly performed their duties. Also enjoying the day were: Club President Anne Watkins’s “Windsor greys” with Kitty Newman and groom Alita, Mary Munster’s pair of Friesian mares, the Baturay’s dapper Haflinger geldings, Pat McCann’s elegant-looking saddlebred cross with Mary Jo Beckman on board, Wayne Porter’s big QH with guest Maureen, Debbie Bauserman’s able Haflinger accompanied by Debby Feemster, and the still hunting-fit Sheba with Barbara Wolf at the other end of her lines. Tom was, of course, at her side. 

Temple Hall is a welcoming venue for many equestrian pursuits, with wide grass trails that also wind through the woods. There are inviting stream crossings and even piles of logs to pop over (intended we believe for those who come WITHOUT carriages….and while we did not witness it, I expect that since Leslie and Emma have regularly fox hunted her mares, they may have sailed over a few of these.) As a working farm, Temple Hall is a place where horses can be safely desensitized to chickens, peacocks, sheep, pigs and several unusual looking breeds of cattle. 

As it was early in our season, this outing was promoted as a “tune up” drive…..an opportunity to go at one’s own pace. It was up to each whip whether to stay on the trails which circled the mowed cornfields, wind through the woods and go in/out of streams, or stick to the farm roads that would take us past machinery, sheds, and all of the afore-mentioned animals. So accommodating is the staff at Temple Hall, the farm manager paid us a visit to ask how we enjoyed our experience and to remind us to sign their guest log. This would help, he pointed out, in future allocations of Park assets for equestrian activities. 

With so many decisions to make as to where to drive, at what pace, whom to follow, whom to avoid (!) and so forth, it is no wonder we were famished by the end of it all. So, in keeping with the traditions of the PDC, we put up our horses, ponies and VSE’s (the PROPER term, I am told, for “minis”) and then we hurried over to several long tables that were over-laden with food and drink. If the array presented is any indication, there are bountiful times ahead for the PDC! There was fried chicken, vegan-friendly squash soup, pasta casserole, fruit salads, bean salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, sandwiches, chips, dips, cheeses, pies, cookies, left-over birthday cake (what?! Yes, 3 PDC members celebrated together earlier in the week and even they could not finish the enormous cake that was presented to them….) the weather, the venue, the feast and the friendship – it all made for a perfect day! 



March 29-Glen Bolton Farm The Plains, VA
Due to heavy rains throughout the area, the picnic drive that was scheduled for March 29 at Mary Munster’s Glen Bolton Farm in The Plains has been postponed untilSunday, April 27.

March 15- Blandy Farm Boyce,VA

The Piedmont Driving Club has decided to schedule 4 “tune up” drives prior to our Opening Drive which is scheduled for April 13, 2014 from Club President Anne Watkins’s Kittery Point Farm in Berryville, Virginia

 The first of these drives occurred on Sunday, March 15, 2014 at the Virginia Arboretum, Blandy Farm, in Boyce, Virginia.  It was two days prior to St. Patrick’s Day -- close enough for a “Wearin’ of the Green” theme! Who knew that on St. Patrick’s Day there would be a foot of snow at Blandy?  Could it be that the “O’Baturays” were ken (that’s an old Celtic word that roughly translates to “they knew about it”) to this outcome?  Clever and crafty, the “O’Baturays” concocted the Club’s first picnic drive in 60-plus degree temps, with mild winds.  ‘Tis sure there was no GREEN at Blandy, but happily there was no SNOW either.  As with all of the “tune up” drives, the idea was to give Club members the opportunity to reunite equine, harness and carriage with as little stress as possible.  The decision was made to make these drives “come as you are, go as you please….have as much fun as you can”…..with no worries!

Carl Cox was so relaxed about the whole thing that he simply handed over the reins to Team Cox Lead Groom Molly Savage, while he and Caroline and new PDC member Teresa Young polished off a bottle (or 2?) of Champagne.  Mary “McMunster” piloted her Friesian girls throughout the Blandy grounds with Club President Anne Watkins at her side.  The “O’Baturays” could be seen driving their McHaflinger pair across the fields where they were observed at least once on a “stop” (an Irish whiskey break perhaps?)  Most colorful of all was Deb “O’Bauserman” with PDC Member Lisa “McAndersen” on board -- both were festooned in green, with “tams” to match.

Afterwards, we met for a picnic as usual.  Did I mention that the “O’Baturays” hosted?  With THAT information you can be sure that the picnic was anything but “usual”.  There were potted shamrocks in profusion over a groaning board of traditional Irish fare:  bangers and potatoes, a tasty array of cheddars, soda bread, fruit salad, sandwiches, green quiche and about 300 crème puffs (or so it seemed). No green beer, to be sure, but there was plenty of 

 WINE and even a bottomless pitcher of mango mojitas.  At the end of the feast there was a “pot of gold” filled with (chocolate) coins and other sweets….but wait, I’ve left out the BEST….Vicki met each whip, groom and guest with a green mini tankard of an amazing concoction:  “whiskey Jello shooters”  (Yes, indeed!)  Wonderful way to bring in the 2014 driving season!

The next PDC “tune up” drive was scheduled for Sunday, March 23 at Great Meadow.  Sadly, and because of the afore-mentioned FOOT of snow that arrived on March 17, this drive had to be cancelled.  Next “tune up drive” is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 at Mary Munster’s Glen Bolton Farm. 



March 2 2014- Whitestone Farm Aldie, VA
Approximately 50 members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club met on March 2 for the Club’s Annual Meeting, held at Whitestone Farm in Aldie, Virginia.  In recognition of the Club’s outstanding 2013 season, in which members participated in 35 picnic drives, including 7 exhibition drives, Dr. Tom Burgess (CAA President and PDC member) and Mr. Doug Kemmerer (noted 4 in Hand Whip and long time Coachman) presented Club President Anne Watkins, of Berryville, Virginia with a Certificate of Achievement.  Pictured with Anne are Dr. Tom Burgess, Mr. Carl Cox (PDC Picnic Committee Chairman) and Mr. Doug Kemmerer.
 
A highlight of the PDC Annual Meeting was Mr. Kemmerer’s talk on the history of coaching in the United States.  He first drew parallels with the system of mail delivery by coach in the UK and the challenges of coaching in the Northeastern United States.  He then gave special emphasis to the the logistics of both travel and mail delivery by coach in the Western United States.
 
The Piedmont Driving Club will begin the 2014 season in March.  In addition to dozens of local drives throughout the Northern Virginia area, the Club anticipates another trip to Acadia Park in Maine, a trip to Fair Hill Maryland, and possibly a trip to the Jamestown State Park in Virginia.   There is also a possibility for a trip (without horses/carriages!) to France to attend a Concourse elegance near Chantilly.  The PDC cherishes its affiliation with the CAA and would welcome CAA members to join us.
 

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