Barrington Horse Country

Celebrating the Success of the Season

The Fox River Valley and Massbach Hounds 2017 Hunt Ball


story by Deb Nestrud Gallagher | Photo by Linda M. Barrett

The 2017 Hunt Ball Committee

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On Saturday, Nov. 18, members of Fox River Valley and Massbach Hounds hosted their annual Hunt Ball at Barrington Hills Country Club. The Hunt Ball supports the love of horses, hounds, and land conservation. More than 250 Barrington area residents and equestrians from all disciplines gather each year to celebrate in style. Attendees from The Riding Club of Barrington Hills, the Fox River Valley Pony Club, Barrington Hills Polo Club, “A” Circuit Hunter/Jumper Competitors, Top Tier Combined Training Eventers, and a few International Steeplechase Jockeys can all be seen in their finest formal attire.

Guests include current and past Masters of Fox Hounds, landowners, and longtime family patrons of the FRVH. Friends from the FRVH’s affiliates, Wayne-DuPage Hunt and the Mill Creek Hunt Club in Wadsworth, also attend. Hunt Ball dress is formal black tie, with Ladies in white or black, and Gentlemen in scarlet, white, or black tie. Scarlet refers to the traditional red tuxedo tails worn by male members who have earned their colors as seasoned riders in the field.

Guests mingled in the Barrington Hills Country Club House for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a traditional Russian Caviar and Champagne Bar. The musical stylings of Jazz du Jour set the tone. Carefully curated auction packages were on display designed to appeal to the unique audience of equestrians, animal lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Dinner was served in the 4,000-square foot marquee tent. Luxury items presented in a lively paddle bidding auction included all-inclusive Fox Hunting vacations in Virginia and Ireland; a Connemara Pony Trekking adventure in Ireland, a luxury vacation home in Santa Fe; resort privileges in Mexico; and a custom-painted Cushman Motor Scooter ready to drive out the door. After dessert and auction bidding, guests rocked into the night to the 12-piece Chris Sarlas Orchestra.

Fox River Valley Hounds is proud of its commitment to family. A love of horses, hounds, and the land carries from one generation to the next, and the Hunt Ball November date is chosen to accommodate the young adults coming home to celebrate the Holidays with family. It is not uncommon for three generations—grandparents, parents, and teens—to enjoy this annual event together and ride horses to hounds in open fields with FRVH the next day for a Stirrup Cup and Hound Exercises. Their guests, now bundled for the weather, come to toast the riders and see them off.

Nothing is more beautiful than the sights and sounds of the Fox River Valley Hounds assembling to move off. The riders are dressed in black formal riding coats with white stock ties, black dress boots, and riding helmets. MFH Tony Leahy calls the hounds on his horn to assemble while eager horses are prancing, nostrils flared, anticipating the thrill of their run.

Fox River Valley Hounds was founded in Barrington Hills is 1940. Social memberships in addition to riding memberships are welcomed. Their season begins in mid-July and they have an extensive calendar fixture until mid-December.

To learn more, visit, and read QB’s Nov/Dec 2017 FRVH cover feature article by Barbara L. Benson.

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Deb Nestrud Gallagher has been riding with the Fox River Valley Hounds along with her family since her childhood.

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