Race To The Finish With Charles Owen & Co
Owen & Co recently sponsored at NAPPA. The Northern Area Point
to Point Association Finals in Leesburg, Virginia, America.
meeting is the final for a wide variety of race types, including
a Junior Horse Fieldmaster's Chase. This involves the 'jockeys'
aged approximately thirteen or fourteen years old, having to follow
a Fieldmaster over a course of jumps for about two miles. They
are not allowed to pass the Fieldmaster at any time. But once
the Field has jumped the last fence, they race to the finish line
about a quarter of a mile away. The aim of the NAPPA races is
to teach children the most basic concepts of race riding and the
importance of having ridden a well judged enough race to still
have 'fuel in the tank' for a finish. The 2003 Junior Fieldmaster
Chase was aptly led by Chris Gracie who won the Maryland Hunt
Cup this year at the grand age of 16!
proceeds of the meeting are given to NAPPA and put towards Educational
Seminars across America. Youngsters are taught how to Race Ride
at Schooling Sessions by Professionals on made horses at different
tracks and barns. Chris Gracie is obviously one who has benefitted
from the scheme, being the youngest ever victor of the Maryland
Hunt Cup 2003. Charles Owen believes that by investing in the
education of tomorrows riders throughout the disciplines they
are helping to safeguard the future of the sport.
Highlight of the day was 'The Beat Up Cup' invented by Rob Banner.
Jr. to raise further funds and showcase some Legends who began
as Amateur Race Riders. Six heavier, slightly rotund and older
ex-jockeys were invited to participate for a mere $1,000 Entry
Fee. Leading Owners, Trainers and Captains of Industry volunteered
themselves. If they won they got their Entry Fee back. The race
was reduced in length to just over half a mile to save the horses
backs from too much damage and the jockeys from themselves. Peter
Walsh, the official starter was astounded at the lack of manners
and the abundance of foul play in evidence. He was later heard
to comment that 'Age has not improved the character of these men'!
Nick Arundel, Director of Great Meadows Equestrian Centre, was
the ultimate victor on Man O'War and promptly headed to the Bar,
leaving his fellow 'jockeys' trailing in his wake - again.
are already afoot for a re-match next year, and Charles Owen and
Company will be sponsoring when again the meeting coincides with
the Virginia Hound Show and a Reception of Hunting Dignataries
at Morven Park, providing an attentitive and rapt audience for
the day's sport ahead.