Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Brush With Greatness

On the same day that I had my awful but revelatory ride on Ringo, I also got to do one of the cooler "Middleburg" things I've yet experienced: namely, I got to ride out on one of the biggest, most beautiful, and historic properties in town. And that's saying something!

(Sunny Bank)

I went to high school with a wonderful girl who, I found out over the years, is part of one of the most famous and celebrated steeplechasing families in America. What I didn't realize until this summer when I saw her on the street is that her family's farm is located right in Middleburg! In fact, it's not more than two minutes away from my house, on the same road that Ringo lives on. Creepy small world!

I went over to her house for dinner the first week I was there, and was admittedly a little starstruck by how gorgeous and storied their farm was (it was even the birthplace of Traveller, Robert E Lee's horse, in addition to its 20th century sporting fame). So when they (unbelievably graciously) offered to let me come ride, I was pretty dumbfounded!

(One of the paddocks)

So Friday morning, I arrived at Sunny Bank bright and early and, paired up with a wonderful foxhunter named Jake, set off on a tour of the farm with my friend's godfather, an extremely successful retired steeplechase jockey.

For over an hour we meandered over hills and through forests, crossing streams populated with cool-seeking cows and cantered up the same hills that the family's famous racehorses breeze up. It was pretty unbelievable, and it was certainly one of the most gorgeous pieces of land I've ever seen in my entire life. Riding through rolling green fields in the fair, golden light of the early morning, on a dependable horse and in good company: it was heaven.

(So beautiful!!) 

I'm so thankful to have been given the opportunity to see it and ride on such a historic property. Hopefully I'll get to ride there again before the summer's out!


jenj said...

Middleburg is GORGEOUS country. Lucky you!

K.K. said...


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