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"Horses" on WCVE-TV 23

An Equine Obsession

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While Charlottesville may be the home to many distinguished writers, the region is also teeming with horses — more today than there were in the days when horses provided the primary means of transportation. "Horses," the first installment in the "East of the Blue Ridge" series, examines the Charlottesville area's equine obsession.

The program takes us through a year in Charlottesville's horse country, opening with the blessing of the hounds before the Thanksgiving hunt at Grace Episcopal Church. As we see a female priest making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the horses before the hunt, we are reminded of the sanctity with which some Virginians regard fox hunting. As fascinating as this is, it would have been interesting to see more of the hunt action — but perhaps it is logistically impossible for a camera to follow a high-spirited fox hunt.

"Horses" then takes us to visit Debbie Easter of Springhaven Farm, "The Mare Midwife," as we watch her help deliver a foal. The program also takes us inside Oakland School, where a riding program helps students get back on the academic track; to Braeburn Farm in Crozet, a thoroughbred training facility; to the Keswick Horse Show; and to polo matches at Tea Time Farm and with the Piedmont Women's Polo Club, the only woman's polo club in the country. "Horses" ends with the Montpelier Hunt Races, a steeplechase race held on James Madison's front lawn.

To those unfamiliar with Virginia's horse culture, "Horses" provides a nice overview of the thriving equestrian scene. And to those who "can't imagine life without horses" as one of the program's participants says, there is plenty of interest here as

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