To Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club
Established in 1887 and reestablished in 1993
by Dr. Rita Mae Brown MFH.
The Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club was founded in 1887 in Lynchburg and transferred to the Oak Ridge Estate in 1910. The group was a nationally recognized hunt in Nelson County for three years, although more informal fox hunting occurred throughout Thomas Fortune Ryan's ownership. Ryan himself was an avid hunter. The Bedford Hunt was established as the institutional successor after World War I. In 1993, Dr. Rita Mae Brown, Master of Fox Hounds, re-instituted the Fox Hunt at Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club has a growing membership - 75 + strong, at least half of whom hunt regularly. Many have been with us since our reestablishment in 1993. Our territory consists of Nelson County and a large portion of Buckingham County. The terrain varies dramatically from deep ravines and spurs leading up to the Blue Ridge Mountains to more open pastures and galloping country sides. The James River bisects the territory granted us by the MFHA which means we traverse many strong running feeder creeks and river branches.
The glory of Oak Ridge resides in her landowners, each of them generous to a fault and true country people. Many of our landowners don't hunt, yet they go out and clear trails on their land, clean up jumps and they act as though we are doing them a favor by hunting over their land. You will never meet finer folk. The Oak Ridge Estate, which boasts over 5000 acres, is being restored by owners Mr. and Mrs. John C. Holland, Jr. In addition to foxhunting, the estate hosts steeplechase and harness races, game hunting and can be rented for private functions. Tea Time Farm is our home fixture as the kennels are there. Cherry Hill, owned by the gracious and doting Mrs. Anne Fortune Henderson is over 1000 acres of beautifully managed land. Several fabulous properties owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gene Dixon, who also regularly hunt with us, have given Oak Ridge some of the most challenging territory in Virginia.
The most suitable horse for our territory is a Thoroughbred or a Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse cross. Your mount needs to have stamina and be handy. Warmbloods and Draft crosses are increasing in popularity, so you'll see several in our field on any given day.
The requirements for membership are that you genuflect before the Masters, you stay out of the hounds' way and you possess a good sense of humor because you'll need it. If you cap with us a few times you'll know if we're the hunt for you. We respect the traditions of this greatest of sports without being haughty. The Oak Ridge members are warm, delightful people and if they have a motto surely it is: A stranger is a friend I haven't met yet.
Our Field Masters, Hilltoppers' Masters and Third Flight Master will put you where the action is. All of them love hunting and extend themselves to their field. The real stars of our show are the hounds. Since the foxes think they are the stars it makes for a combustible mixture. Oak Ridge has 35 couple of hounds - mostly American Foxhounds, some crossbred. No matter whether your heart is with the fox or the hound, you'll have a good time even on those odd days when it's 80° (in November no less). Usually the fox wears sunglasses on those hot days.
Our formal season usually begins the first Sunday in November: Sundays are formal and Fridays are informal. We now go out two Wednesdays a month which are also be informal. The season ends on the Sunday closest to March 17th - St. Patrick's Day. (Lots of Irish blood in our human pack!) Cubbing will begin again the first Friday after Labor Day.
Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club
1295 Greenfield Road
Afton, Virginia 22920
© 2004 Rita Mae Brown, All rights reserved