OVH HUNT TEAM
Your OVH hunt team is comprised of huntsman, whippers-in, road whips and masters. Their primary goal is to provide excellent safe sport within the guideline set forth by the MFHA.
Jamie Hughes began to ride to hounds in 1998 after he was invited to a stirrup cup by a friend who was a member of Bethany Frontenac. Jamie enjoyed himself so much that the next week he bought a horse!
Throughout the years Jamie has led the first field for ten years, carried the horn for fourteen years and served on the boards for three different hunt clubs. Presently, working with the wonderful members of Ottawa Valley Hunt Club and the hounds fulfills his days. “Please come join the hounds and myself at the kennel,” says Jamie.
Jamie has had the great fortune to own three spectacular hunt horses: King Arthur (Han x thb); Royal Regalia (thb); Full Moon 3E (Dutchwarmblood). He is presently working with R Flashy One (thb). “Each of these stellar steeds has taught me the rules’n’regs of following hounds”.
Best thing about hunting: The sights and sounds of a good working pack of PennMarydel and crossbred hounds.
Etiquette tip: “To play the part, you have to dress the part!” The more involved you are with hounds, the better your enjoyment of riding to hounds.
Master responsibilities: Hunt planning and execution; drag layer organization and training; whipper-in training; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners.
Jill Bryant has been an OVH member for 25 plus years. She even started laying drag prior to becoming a member! In addition to whipping-in, Jill now mixes and prepares the drag for our great draglayer team.
Jill has had the honor to whip in for five different huntsmen, including the current OVH huntsman Jamie Hughes. At one point Jill lived on the hunt farm for five years, which taught her a lot and solidified her love of the hounds. Jill has adopted four hounds starting with Bourbon, a PMD, then Peyton, a cross bred, both from Beaver Meadow. Currently Jill has Parson, a retired English hound from OVH, and Jerry, a basset from Montreal Hunt.
“I have met many great people and made a lot of good friends over the years,” says Jill. “I hope to carry on for many years.”
Jill has been blessed with great hunt horses. Legendary Jenny, a hackney commercial cross, originally came from Pinto Valley. Jill’s current mount, Dixon, is an appendix quarter horse.
Best thing about hunting: Working with the hounds and on hunt days, when they open on a line and start speaking, you know you're off.Etiquette tip: Be aware of what is going on around you and give hounds, huntsman and staff right of way.
Hilary Popiel first joined Ottawa Valley Hunt in 1999. Hilary grew up on a farm that was a competitive eventing stable. When the farm moved to Ontario, they joined the hunt. She whipped-in for the hunt as a teenager and became part of the masters team in 2022.
Hilary has trained horses from a young age and brought along many horses in the hunt field. She has competed at the international level of eventing. “A horse that foxhunts has an advantage in cross-country,” says Hilary. She has also competed in show jumping and dressage.
Hilary’s stellar knowledge of the land helps her in whipping in. She has a soft spot for thoroughbreds, who make a great staff and overall hunt horse. Her three thoroughbred mares are a mother and two daughters that were all born at Popiel Stables.
Best thing about hunting: Watching the hounds looking for the chase we produced for them is fantastic. Riding cross-country with people who love it as much as I do.
Etiquette tip: Make your horse look his/her best. A nice tidy horse always stands out.Master responsibilities: Territory development; horse etiquette; hunt education; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners
Dennis Cullen was a road whip for the Why Worry Hounds for 13 years. He started road whipping for the Ottawa Valley Hunt in 2000.
Anne McKibbin first joined Ottawa Valley Hunt in 1953 when her parents were joint huntsmen. She was awarded her colours in 1966. After pursuing other equine interests, Anne returned to the OVH in 2000 as a senior hunting member. She served on the OVH board for eight years and as a joint master for ten.
Best thing about hunting: The camaraderie and history of the sport.
Etiquette tip: Take special care of your horse(s). Be respectful of others.
Stacey Findlay and her daughter Morgan joined OVH in 2017. Stacey served on the OVH board as treasurer in 2021 and 2022. She joined the masters team in 2023.
Stacey grew up on a farm and got her first firecracker of a pony at 8. From that young age, she rode with family members down roads and through fields until the age 14 when her friends took over as her main riding partners. Stacey bought a Canadian gelding in 2015 and started taking dressage and jumping lessons with him. In 2016 she did her first hunter pace, followed by capping (riding as a guest).
“I encourage anyone who thinks they can’t do it to overcome their fear and to give it a try. Hunting truly is one of my life’s biggest enjoyments,” says Stacey.
Best thing about hunting: Hearing the hounds' voices and seeing our fellow members’ and their horses' faces light up with excitement.
Etiquette tip: Read the information that is provided on the MFHA website. There is a wealth of knowledge provided there as the learning never ends.
Master responsibilities: Contact for cappers and capping information; work parties; hunt guests; landowner night; radios; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners.
My love of all things horse started at a young age which, over time, led me to the sport of Eventing, the pursuit of training horses using natural horsemanship methods, Xtreme Cowboy Racing and ultimately, my passion for riding to hounds.
I have served the club in many capacities over the years as Joint Master 2018/19/21/22/23, as a member of the Board of Directors for 5 years and have been a Senior Riding member for the past 12 years. I was Chair/Co-Chair of the club’s Hunt Ball 2012-2020, participated in many educational clinics along with countless social events raising funds and friendship within our hunt family.
I love serving on events that are designed for all members and guests to have FUN!
After enjoying the view for many years I turned to leading riders over hill and dale as Field Master for 2nd & 3rd fields on a regular basis for seven seasons. I have six horses, two of whom I regularly use to lead the field on, but have made my horses available as reliable guest mounts or to provide lease opportunities to members either without their own horses or whose horses are currently out of commission. I enjoy fostering good relationships with area landowners, neighbours and members, lending support and reassurance to all while ensuring there is a focus on fun and having enjoyable days in the country with your horse.
Best thing about hunting: Watching hounds work, enjoying nature and the joy of sharing time in the saddle with friends and guests.
Etiquette tip: When in doubt, ask a Master! We are here to guide you through the “Do’s & Don’ts” of everything from attire to protocol and etiquette and everything in between! Our aim is to ensure a safe and fun experience for everyone in the hunt field!
Master responsibilities: Etiquette (members); landowner night coordination; junior program liaison; fieldmasters; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners.
Kirsi O'Connor first joined Ottawa Valley Hunt in 2014 after having participated in some hunter paces and deciding that she wanted to ride in the beautiful OVH territory on a regular basis. Kirsi served on the OVH board in 2020 as treasurer and was a member of the 2021 OVH masters team, then rejoining the 2023 masters team.
Kirsi has also hunted with the Montreal and Lake of Two Mountains hunt clubs in Canada as well as with Whiskey Road, Belle Meade and Camden hunts in the U.S. She has participated in hunter trials and is experienced in leading all fields.
Kirsi’s riding roots are in dressage and showjumping, but she likes to switch it up and practice cowboy obstacles, ground driving, endurance riding, natural horsemanship and skijoering as well.
Best thing about hunting: The euphoria after a rousing gallop on the harvested bean or corn fields.
Etiquette tip: Check the condition of your tack and make sure your girth is tight enough. Surprisingly many riders fall off because their stirrup leather breaks or because their girth is too loose.
Master responsibilities: Membership recruitment and retention; new members; member newsletter; territory development; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners.
Jen Stewart joined Ottawa Valley Hunt in 2011. She served on the OVH board 2012 - 2020 and was the president 2015-2016 and 2019. Jen served as a master 2016 - 2019 and rejoined the masters team in 2023.
Jen became an avid foxhunter when posted to Washington from 2001 to 2011 and enjoyed hunting with major American hunts in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. She joined the Fairfax Hunt in 2002, and was an associate member of Bull Run Hunt. She served on the Fairfax board and represented Fairfax in three Virginia Fieldhunter Championships, three Marlborough Bowls and twice at the National Pennsylvania Horse Show. She competed in three North American Field Hunter Championships and qualified for the final individual test in each one and was Reserve Champion in the 2009 Virginia Steeplechase Association Hunter Pairs Races.
Before becoming a foxhunter, Jen competed in eventing and hunter-jumper shows. She has a penchant for off-track thoroughbreds.
Best thing about hunting: The thrill of galloping over beautiful territory and navigating a variety of natural obstacles, while enjoying a unique camaraderie with your horse and fellow riders. There are no winners, losers or competitors in the hunt field!
Etiquette tip: Think safety as well as correct hunt tack and attire. Make sure that your horse has well-maintained – and comfortable – equipment and that you wear a state-of-the art safety helmet. Safety vests are now accepted as part of hunting attire, so go for one. It’s now fashionable to be as protected as possible in our exciting and sometimes unpredictable sport.
Master responsibilities: MFHA liaison; supervising huntsman and kennel; hunt licenses and insurance; hunt journal/member complaints; relationships with an assigned portfolio of landowners.