A Christmas Story

By Julie Reardon   Merry Christmas from the Blue Ridge! A friend who lives in the mountains shares this story every holiday season and it’s one of my favorites. I only recently found out the author’s name since various versions have been around for many years, variously titled A Christmas Prayer and The Rifle, and […]

Animal rights activists do not care about your animal’s welfare

Animal rights activists do not care about your animal’s welfare Julie Reardon Just when you thought you were safe from politics, my column, normally focused on rural life, has a political hot potato this month. But this is not liberal vs conservative politics; it’s city vs country. As the percentage of us that grew up […]

Hunting in Hunt Country

Hunting in Hunt Country by Julie Reardon They don’t call our area of the Blue Ridge “the hunt country” just because of the foxhunting. Horses and hounds begin their informal training hunts, called cubbing, in September, after spending the past few weeks getting ready. And local hunters have been honing their skills for other game […]

Dogs Diving During Dog Days

Dogs Diving During Dog Days by Julie Reardon It’s that time of year again: the dog days, that time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” The excessive panting of dogs at this time […]

Olympic Riders, Air Acrobatics, Outdoor Concerts and the County Fair

Olympic Riders, Air Acrobatics, Outdoor Concerts and the County Fair By Julie Reardon For the first time ever, the U.S. will host the best equestrians in the world at an FEI Nations Cup for the Olympic sport of three day eventing July 8 –  10, the Land Rover the Great Meadow International. And it’s right in Fauquier County, […]

Dog Day Afternoon

By Julie Reardon DOG DAY AFTERNOON Perhaps you’ve seen them on the news, the hardworking search and rescue dog and handler teams that work to find missing persons. Few of us can forget the haunting images of the dogs and humans working late in the night desperately looking for survivors as they sorted through the […]

Fast Horses, Old Whiskey and Young Women

Fast Horses, Old Whiskey and Young Women by Julie Reardon Kentucky has the Derby but in Virginia, the first Saturday in May has always been about the Virginia Gold Cup. While there’s no longer even an operational flat track here, Virginia’s love affair with horses runs longer and deeper than Kentucky’s; we’re starting to produce […]

In Full Bloom

In Full Bloom by Julie Reardon   There’s a little voyeurism in all of us. We love to peek through the windows and behind the closed doors and walled gardens of others, especially the wealthy. So even if you aren’t an avid gardener, Historic Garden Week in Virginia offers a rare chance to visit a […]

History, Horses and Spring Racing Season

By Julie Reardon   History, Horses and Spring Racing Season   A favorite spring ritual begins this month, when the point to point season starts. All winter, an army of volunteers have been planning for these events, getting the courses ready, arranging logistics, manning the phones and websites, renting the tents and assigning jobs on […]

The Making of a Champion

By Julie Reardon   THE MAKING OF A CHAMPION   Could you identify a Bergamasco? How about a Cirneco dell’Etna? A Lagotto Romagnoli or Berger Picard? Most people don’t know what a Xoloitzcuintli is, much less how to pronounce it. Even I couldn’t have identified the first four, although I had the chance to see […]