Fox/Hound Riding Competition Concludes in a Tie

From Director of Riding Kate Worsham

In an afternoon that showcased team spirit, accurate and thoughtful riding, well-loved horses, and a lot of fun, the Foxes and the Hounds emerged jointly victorious on Wednesday when the final Fox/Hound competition of the year was held at the Jean DuPont McConnell Stables and Riding Arena.
The Hounds started with some winning momentum by mounting their well-dressed Lead Line riders who embraced this unique experience. With smiles on every face, ribbons in their hair, heels pressed down, and shoulders pulled back to look poised in the saddle, all the Lead Line riders made a good showing for this competition. For their overall win in this class, the Hounds earned a one-second advantage for their best Big Team rider's score. This advantage was secured by Hound seniors Emma L., Maya K., and Elizabeth V., who were awarded 1st, 3rd, and 4th places by judge E. Robyn Anderson of Unison, VA. 

The format and course for Fox/Hound Riding are based on the showjumping style of riding. There is a single round over a course consisting of verticals and oxers with areas where riders have inside turn options which can be used to create an efficient line between jumps. The course is timed, and an Optimum Time, which rewards a tidy track, a quick but safe pace, and an accurate plan, is posted for each competition. The winner of each group is the rider who gets closest to the Optimum Time. This format encourages safe and effective riding and good horsemanship.

As the riders warmed up for the jumping rounds, the spectators watched with rapt attention to see who might prevail as the winning team. After combining Big and Middle teams to adjust for some roster changes, the riding phase of the competition began with a victory for the combined “Biddle” Fox Team riders, supported by the many Foxy students and faculty in attendance. As is the spirit in the actual hunt field, the Hounds were hot on their heels as they gave the Foxes a run for their money in the chase for the win, and the teams ended up with only .5 seconds separating their final averaged optimum times. In these riding classes, Anderson gave a Style Award (also worth a one-second time advantage) to the rider on the original Big Team and Middle Team rosters who best demonstrated a correct position, safe and smart decision-making skills, and proper technique. Foxes Sarah B. ’25 and Esme D. ’27 won the honors for the Big and Middle Team competitions, respectively.

The Little Team riders demonstrated confidence and technical prowess as they navigated their competition rounds. With a margin separating the teams’ optimum times of just 1.3 seconds, it was a tight head-to-head battle on three of the most wonderful senior Foxcroft school horses, Splash, Manny, and Kitty. These horses did not let their ages show (23 and 24 years old!) as they responded to their riders’ cues to gallop around this year’s twisty jumping track with ease and athleticism. The Style Award for this section was given to the Hound’s Julia L. ‘26 after she completed a smooth round by riding with a sense of relaxed focus that encouraged Kitty to jump her best. Ultimately, the Hounds prevailed, which ended the riding competitions in a tie with a win for each team. 

In the spirit of camaraderie and "true friends til the end," the competition remained amicably tied for this year as the riders went to care for horses and thank them for a job well done.

Complete results follow:

Lead Line Team
Winner: Hounds

Combined Big & Middle “Biddle” Team
Winning Team Time: Foxes 23 seconds, with the Optimum Time being 25 seconds
Style Award for Big Team: Sarah B. ‘25
Style Award for Middle Team: Esme D. ‘27

Little Team
Winning Team Time: Hounds 28.6, with the Optimum Time being 30 seconds
Style Award: Julia L. ‘26
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.