One of the things I love about living in Maryland is the tradition of steeplechase racing in the spring. And one of the things I loved about living in the UK was steeplechase racing and being able to bet with the bookies!
April Saturdays are taken up with steeplechases and it's such fun to get everyone together, buy a paddock pass and then head over to the course and tailgate. The tailgate parties range from very elaborate with silver and linen, to Popeyes chicken with paper and plastic. We fall somewhere in the middle, with everyone making a special dish and bringing a few bottles to share.
One of the most fun races I ever attended was with two friends, one of whom is a gourmet cook and the other who owns a vintage Rolls Royce. The look on my brother's face when we pulled into the parking space next to him was priceless!
It's best when the weather cooperates and it is warm and sunny. But the events when it's wet and muddy provide the most excitement. The Maryland Hunt Cup, the final race of the spring season, is considered the most difficult timber race in the world. The course covers four miles and 22 fences, the highest of which is nearly five feet. The winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup gets an automatic invitation to the Grand National, raced at Aintree in England. As you can see in these photos, the fences are timber, while at Aintree, they're brush. (and you can also see that someone's missing!)The grace of the horses and their riders, as well as being outside in Maryland's beautiful hunt country, is one of the true joys of life in the land of pleasant living.