racing and foxhunting go hand-in-hand when you're Hampton Addis of Broomes
So it seems only fitting that this talented 12-year-old--who dominated
the Governor's Cup pony divisions last spring--should also merit the
inaugural Governor's Cup Junior Foxchasing Scholarship.
Like many equestriennes, Hampton and her sister Jennifer, 15, come from
a family steeped in hunting and racing traditions. Both her father and
paternal grandfather were huntsmen, while their mother raced over timber
and served as a whipper-in.
Not surprisingly, Hampton started riding, in her words, "...before
I can remember." Her earliest efforts came at home, aboard her
sister's pony Cocoa.
At one point, she attended Loftmar Stable's pony camp, and followed
foxhunts in a car with her grandmother.
Despite her angelic demeanor, Hampton is one of the most tenacious riders
you'll ever meet. At the tender age of nine, she went straight for the
gusto, riding full-tilt with the Marlborough Hunt. "My first foxhunt
was with Angel [in Disguise]," she recalled.
But that wasn't all. The same year that she began foxhunting, Hampton
also started competing "between the flags." "My sister
started racing...and was really good," she explained. "And
then she got too big for Angel, so I stared racing her. I was competitive
from the start, because she handed me a perfect pony on a silver platter!"
With help from Jennifer and her mom, Hampton learned a lot about this12.1
1/2-hand dynamo. "She IS a little ornery-- and she can be a little
lazy," she admitted. "But she's a relly fun pony to ride;
you can hop on her bareback and gallop around. And she jumps really,
really well; she can jump 3 1/2 feet.
Like her rider, "Angel" adjusts to new situations with aplomb.
"You can take her to a race--and then a couple of weeks later,
you take her to a pony club event, and she's fine! Hampton attested.
"A little hyper, but she's pretty cool."
As a junior jockey, Hampton was quick to master race-riding technique.
Although she admitted to being nervous about the starts, she noted,
"My ponies have always been really good at that. They watch the
flag, too, and they see the flag go down, and they're smart, and they
Steering was another hurdle that Hampton learned to overcome--especially
after the wire, when some ponies make a beeline for the barn. "And
at the end of the race, ou don't know where to turn," she pointed
out. "You think, 'Well, I could turn this way, or I could turn
that way...and by the time you've started, you've already run into the
Last spring, Hampton also began riding the immortal Garfield, one of
the most cherished ponies on the circuit and one that has been handed
down from family to family. Now 14 or 15, the grey gelding--who has
a reputation for being tough to hold--is apparently still up to his
old tricks. "Garfield is very sweet on the ground. And you can
ride him around your house, but you don;t want to race him up a hill
or anything!" she warned.
At first, learning to handle
this legend was a bit of a challenge, Hampton confessed. "I didn't
know what he was going to do, because I'd never raced him before. I
didn't know what to expect!" But before long, he two where best
Pony racing has certainly given Hampton her share of thrills--and spills.
Her biggest fall came two years ago, in the winner's circle of the Howard
County Iron Bridge Point-to-Point. Without warning, Angel in Disguise
reared up, dropping Hampton and breaking her ankle. "She has really
sensitive ears," the young rider explained. "We were right
next to a loudspeaker, and it was blaring!"
As a result of her injuries, Hampton was grounded for three long months.
"I was even out of school for 2 or 3 weeks," she said. "I
had to have a really big splint, and I couldn't get in the car!"
Since the accident occured at the start of the point-to-point season,
it was decided that sister Jennifer would finish the season of Hampton's
pony, as well as her own. They were fit and ready to go, and the result
was a banner season for Jennifer.
Always a good sport, Hampton sat on the sidelines and cheered her sister
on. Although disappointed, she seemed more concerned about her pony's
welfare. "I think Angel likes racing and I was glad she could do
it," she said.
In the end, Jennifer swept both the small and medium pony divisions. Then,
in a heartfelt demonstration of sisterly love, she gave the recovering
Hampton one of her hard-won trophies.
The Addis girls took junior racing by storm last year, with Hampton restored
to her rightful place atop the small pony division, and Jennifer again
taking medium pony honors.
This year, the pony races were nothing short of a Hampton Addis tour de
force. Never worse than second, she dominated both the small and medium
The highpoint of Hampton's 2001 season was the Elkridge-Harford meet April
7 near Monkton. "That was the first time I'd raced against somebody
with Garfield, and I won," she said. "And then I won with Angel,
too! There was also this boy at my school who was racing against me, and
I really wanted to beat him," she said, laughing.
Besides racing and foxhunting, Hampton currently enjoys Pony Clubbing
a small Thoroughbred named Cricket who has outgrown her status as a large
racing pony. "Jennifer raced her twice when she was smaller, and
she won both [races]," she explained. "Then she started Pony
Clubbing her, and I started Pony Clubbing her...and she was really good;
she's really quiet." Noted horseman Charles Fenwick Jr. once said
that a person isn't ready to ride steeplechase until he or she has...jumped
If that's true, Hampton is well on her way to qualifying as a jump jockey.
Certainly, Pony Club has improved her balance and her confidence. But
she feels that foxhunting is more useful when it comes to her immediate
occupation, pony racing. "In Pony Club, they always tell us to go
slow," she pointed out. "But foxhunting helps. The only problem
is, when I go foxhunting, I have to remember not to lean forward, or I'll
get pitched over their heads!"
The Junior Foxchasing Scholarship was created by Maryland Steeplechasing
Association to foster that traditional link between foxhunting and steeplechasing,
and to support the nurturing of future horsemen and horsewomen involved
in both disciplines.
Because of her outstanding displays of sportmanship, Hampton was a natural
for the scholarship, which was presented at the Governor's Cup Awards
Dinner May 23 at the Manor Tavern near Monkton. The young winner--who'd
already swept the small and medium pony championships--was totally floored.
"I didn't even know there was [such an] award!" she enthused.
In one of the evening's more touching moments, Hampton dedicated the honor
to her sister Jennifer, much as Jennifer had done for her two years ago.
"When I broke my leg, my sister gave me back the trophy," she
Although Hampton's a regular with the Marlborough Hunt, the Junior Foxchasing
scholarship allows her and an adult to "cap" with the Potomac,
Howard and Elkridge-Harford hunt clubs--as well as--this coming season.
"I'm really looking forward to it," she said.
Clearly, the future is bright for young Hampton, who says she has "lots
of fun" racing ponies and plans to continue doing that as long as
possible. "I think it's really safe and a lot of fun; I think everything
is great about it!" she said.
Of course, equines aren't Hampton's only hobby. A budding thespian, she
recently acted in a Calverton School production. Her interest in sports
knows no bounds, it seems. "I'm planning on playing field hockey
and basketball this year," she said. "I didn't get to play last
year, because we didn't have time."
But who knows? Eventually, like her sister, she might start "catch
riding" for trainers like Ricky Hendriks. That, of course, would
mean graduating to horses.
But for now, Hampton's content to stick with ponies. After all, as she
pointed out, "I'll have to get a little bigger [to ride horses];
I'm kinda skinny right now!"