Jessica Callihan grew up fishing on her family’s dairy farm in Southern Michigan, an upbringing familiar to us here in Middleburg- pastoral landscapes, wildlife, and ‘one stoplight’ towns. But Jessica had her sights set high, and she worked hard towards becoming an Aviation Electrician with the United States Navy. That’s when fate intervened.

During a training exercise while on active duty, Jessica fell approximately 10 feet and sustained permanent nerve damage to her extremities. In between surgeries and being confined to a hospital, Jessica’s was given a set of pastels. Jessica began recreating fishing and pastoral works in earnest. Her first pastel pieces got her, well, “hooked.”

Jessica Callihan,  A Time For Reflections, pastel on panel 11 x 14 inches. Private Collection.

While exploring art as a way to relieve the pain and frustration of her arduous recovery, a group called Project Healing Waters found her and taught her how to tie flies, cast a rod, and fish with her disabilities.


“The program gave me so much more than the sport of fly fishing; it gave me a community that became extended family and ultimately gave me beauty back in life.” -Jessica Callihan

Determined to grow despite setbacks that would challenge even the most disciplined individuals, Jessica slowly transitioned from a participant to an Ambassador for Project Healing Waters, and at the same time she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Maryville College in Tennessee.


Jessica Callihan, Sweet Dreams, oil on canvas, 9.75 x 18 inches

Recently, Jessica became a Founding Member of Able Women: a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women through the strength, courage, passion, and determination found through fly fishing and being outdoors. Her own story of how fly fishing saved her life inspires Jessica to teach others, especially disabled Veterans, women, and children, how to do the sport she loves. When she is not traveling, giving speeches, or teaching the art of fly fishing, she is in her art studio recreating memories of being on the water and the awe-inspiring places her life has led her.

Photo by Two Fisted Heart Productions

Jessica will be in Middleburg speaking at the National Sporting Library & Museum event, Hooked: Changing Tides, Enduring Bonds on March 18th, 2017. Join us to hear more about her incredible journey.

The 62nd annual meet of the Virginia Fall Races was held at Glenwood Park, Middleburg, this past Saturday, October 8th. Last year’s race day was perfect, sunny weather, but this year featured lots of rain! That didn’t keep us from enjoying a great day of racing though.

Rainy weather makes for muddy horses and jockeys at the Virginia Fall Races! (Photo by Perry Mathewes)

The Virginia Fall Races features the Theodora A. Randolph Field Hunter Championship in the morning, and nine races over the rolling turf course in the afternoon. Funds raised from the event benefit Inova Loudoun Hospital. The National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, held since 1955, is run in memory of Fall Races co-founder, Mr. George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and long-time race supporter, Mr. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr.

The trophies for the day were displayed on a table out of the rain under the announcer’s stand. The NSLM Cup trophy and this year’s keeper trophy bowl, are just left of center.

Saturday’s precipitation made the course footing soft, but it held up fairly well. And, luckily for us, the rain tapered off just in time for our race. This year’s NSLM Cup was won by the Irish-bred Two’s Company, owned by Bruton Street – US, trained by Jack Fisher, and piloted by jockey Sean McDermott. The 7 year-old bay gelding beat six other horses over the long 3 1/4 mile timber course. It was anyone’s race until the tightly packed group was well into their third and final lap of the course. McDermott took the lead with just two fences to go, and won by almost 7 lengths. In second place was the 2015 NSA Timber Horse Champion, Grinding Speed; third was Puller; and fourth was Canyon Road.

Two’s Company and Sean McDermott ahead of Pured It and Gerard Galligan (Photo by Douglas Lees)


Two’s Company and Sean McDermott in the blue and yellow silks of Bruton Street – US (Photo by Douglas Lees)

Two’s Company is having a successful season so far. With the NSLM Cup as his fourth win of the year, the horse is now ranked first in purse winnings for 2016. Bruton Street – US, Fisher, and McDermott are all ranked among the very top owners, trainers, and jockeys in timber racing. And McDermott has appeared in our NSLM Cup photos before – in 2015 he won aboard Straight To It, another horse trained by Jack Fisher.

NSLM Cup Winner’s Circle: (left to right) Jacqueline Ohrstrom, Melanie Mathewes (NSLM Executive Director), Juliana May (NSLM Cup Trophy Donor), Michael and Ann Hankin, Sheila Fisher, and jockey Sean McDermott.

A big thank you to those of you that came out to support the races despite the rainy weather!

Six of the horses from the NSLM Cup lineup (including Two’s Company) have been nominated to compete against each other again in the International Gold Cup on October 22, at Great Meadow in The Plains. Fingers crossed for nicer weather that day!

For those of you who have been to one of my gallery talks, you’ve probably figured out that I love to share ideas about sporting art, sporting culture, and related trivia. It’s a passion to bring this material to broader audiences. Put me behind a podium, however, introducing someone with an impressive list of credentials, and I’m like a deer in headlights! All of a sudden I’m responsible for summarizing someone’s accomplishments. This is the worst kind of pressure, and I am not good at rote memorization.

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American, 1819 - 1905) American Deer, 1857 oil on canvas, 7 ⅛ x 5 ⅝ inches Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Timothy Greenan, 2011
Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American, 1819 – 1905) American Deer, 1857, oil on canvas, 7 ⅛ x 5 ⅝ inches National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Timothy Greenan, 2011

I like to think I’m more like A.F. Tait’s American Deer when presenting gallery talks, poised and dignified (with a dose of caffeine). You might have seen this painting in the second floor Museum galleries, but it is currently off view. Although Tait painted several full-size canvases of deer, some reminiscent of Sir Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen in the Museums of Scotland collection, the small three-quarter portrait in the NSLM collection is unusual for him. It depicts an eight-point buck with a velvet rack and summer coat framed by foliage. Fun fact – Did you know that antlers used for sparring in the fall are rich with nerves and sensitive to pain when in velvet? Bucks are extremely aware of their racks and avoid contact with objects such as tree limbs during this time.

Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) Monarch of the Glen; National Museums Scotland;
Edwin Landseer (English, 1802-1873), Monarch of the Glen, 1851
National Museums Scotland
image source:

Landseer’s magnificent portrait of a red deer in the Highlands shows the buck proudly displaying his twelve-point rack and thick winter coat. Paintings like these were embraced by an ever-increasing urban population as windows into nature.

I know I would not get tired of looking at Landseer’s painting. Working in a converted 1804 Federal-style house means that the Curatorial offices in the Museum are below ground level. Mine is the only one with a window. I enjoy the filtered sunlight and occasionally get a glimpse of the lawn service crew mowing the grass.

Curator of Art's window

I think I speak for George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian John Connolly, Curator of Permanent Collections Nicole Stribling, and myself in saying, we enjoy sharing the topics we love with  like-minded people instead of just a computer screen. Gallery Talks are about sharing ideas and intended to be informal chats that last about a half hour. If you’ve been wondering if you would like to commit your Wednesday afternoon to a Gallery Talk, know that we are down in the trenches and looking forward to coming up for some good conversation. See you next Wednesday at 2 pm!

pfeifferClaudia Pfeiffer has been the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Curator of Art at the National Sporting Library & Museum since the position was underwritten by the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Foundation in 2012. Her primary focus is the research, design, interpretation, writing, and installation of exhibitions. E-mail Claudia at

This weekend the Piedmont Driving Club invited me to a picnic drive at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia. Fortunately, I had some previous experience riding in a carriage. When my colleagues and I went to Colonial Williamsburg for the Virginia Association of Museums Conference earlier this year we were treated to a private drive through town. Historically, only certain members of society would use vehicles like these refurbished carriages. This is no longer the case, and people of all walks of life participate in driving events across the nation.

I was surprised at how different a drive was in the country versus in town. During the colonial era carriages were often used in town  or for short journeys. The American colonies and early nation had notoriously bad roads. Travel was much smoother by water (ever notice that most colonial capitals were on navigable waterways?). There were few exceptions to this, one of which was our own Loudoun County. Loudouners built – and preserved – over 300 miles of country roads, most of which date to the 18th and 19th centuries. These provide an ideal setting for today’s picnic drives.

in a row
Driving on a private road near Upperville, VA

A few different kinds of carriages were represented during the drive. Carl and Caroline Cox, my generous hosts, drove a wagonette. Wagonettes sport four wheels and seat four, not counting the driver, and can be pulled by two or four horses. Carts have two wheels, one or two occupants, and are usually pulled by one horse. Coaches, which can seat 12, 16, or more, are very heavy and are pulled by larger teams of horses. Coaches were the public transportation of their era and are not taken on picnic drives in the countryside.

Each of the carriages on this drive were a work of art in their own right. And with the exception of cleverly disguised champagne coolers, these vehicles are using the same technology as their 18th century counterparts, including braking systems, building materials, and driving techniques.

rich and molly

I had a wonderful time learning about these carriages and the people who drive them. If you want to know more about wagonettes, carts, coaches, and more, don’t miss Carriage Day at NSLM. We are partnering with the Piedmont Driving Club and Colonial Williamsburg to bring these carriages to you! Over twenty carriages will be displayed (without horses) across our grounds on May 21 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The day will include walking tours, kids activities, an afternoon drive-by, and a keynote talk with Paul Bennett, Colonial Williamsburg’s Director of Coach and Livestock. Yes, it’s all free of charge – Don’t Miss It!

Carriage Day mailer_marks FINAL



Anne Marie Barnes is the Educational Programs Manager and Fellowship Advisor at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM). Her passion for museum work began shortly after graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in History from James Madison University. Between her expeience working at the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center and the Washington Heritage Museums, she has done everything from designing summer camps to formulating major fundraisers. Have a question? Contact Anne Marie by e-mail

A few months ago, NSLM was approached with an offer we could not refuse: go to Charleston for Garden & Gun‘s Made in the South Jubilee. If you have not yet attended Jubilee, it is an incredible experience to see, hear, taste, and bring home the best of Southern and sporting life. From the Oyster Roast Thursday night to the concert Sunday afternoon, our mission was tell the thousands of visitors about our Museum and Library in Middleburg, Virginia.



the rear view of the Legare Waring House

We were set up in the library of the historic Legare Waring House, just one part of a whole campus of Jubilee event areas at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. The event saw close to 3,000 people!


We were right at home in the library

Over the course of the weekend we met hundreds of people, and saw several friends of NSLM all the way down in Charleston. In addition to handing information to attendees, we met the governor of South Carolina, some folks from museums across the South, and several businesses we look forward to seeing again soon.

Top: (left) Sea Island Forge,  (right) Foggy Ridge Cider. Bottom:  (left) Rappahannock River Oysters LLC,  (right) Cannonborough Sodas

This opportunity would not have been possible without the help of some key friends. All of our contacts at Garden & Gun were quick to help and very supportive to us newcomers. Our event sponsor, Highcliffe Clothiers, generously lent us some of their pieces to make sure we looked our hunt country best.

At the end of the weekend, we gave out over a thousand pieces of literature to folks at Jubilee, and inspired many to donate to our organization. We are very fortunate to have been included in an event whose attendees care about our mission to preserve and promote equestrian, angling, and turf and field sports. So long Charleston, we hope to see you next year!


Ada Gates Patton is one of the most recognizable farriers of our day. She shoed racehorses across the United States for decades with an infectious passion. With her tenacity and genuine love for the inelegant life of a farrier, it’s easy to imagine her childhood taking place in the wild plains and dramatic mountains of the West, with a blacksmith’s apron and a pocket full of nails. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ada, first woman farrier

Ada Gates was born into New York high society, a descendant of industrial businessman Henry Burden, who–coincidentally enough–created the first iron works to mass produce horseshoes. With a family tree that features Fricks and Vanderbilts, Ada’s early life included riding at her family’s estate and at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA. She was also a debutante, model and actress who enjoyed the finest things in life.

Ada Gates Patton modelling in the early 1960's
Ada  modelling in the early 1960’s
Jumping in Spain
Jumping in Spain

In the early 1970’s, a roadtrip gone awry left Ada in Colorado, where she first took to shoeing out of necessity rather than choice.  She was the only female in her Oklahoma horseshoeing school, and the first woman ever to be licensed as a farrier in the United States in 1978 and first female member of the International Union of Journeyman Horseshoers.


Despite, and maybe because of the opposition she encountered in a male-dominated field, Ada’s love for her craft only grew. She was an equestrian liaison for the 1984 Olympic games, she was honored with the American Farriers’ Association’s Edward Martin Humanitarian Award in 2008, and has recently been inducted into the American Farriers Hall of Fame.


Ada has also been featured in Time and People magazines, and on What’s My Line and Late Night with David Letterman. Today she owns and operates Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supplies, which was founded by her late husband. She also serves as an equestrian supervisor to the hundreds of horses who march in the Rose Parade.

 Ada is visiting NSLM on Thursday, October 29th from 6:00-8:00pm

To save your seat, contact Anne Marie Barnes, Educational Programs Manager
(540) 687-6542 x25

This Saturday, October 10th, the Virginia Fall Races will be held at Glenwood Park here in Middleburg.  Glenwood is a fantastic venue – just outside of town, and there are no bad seats to be found!  It’s easy for guests to get close to the action along the courses and at the paddock.

Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park, 2011. (Photo courtesy of VA Fall Races)
Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park, 2011 (photo courtesy of VA Fall Races)

We here at the NSLM take care of the literature, art, and history of sports like steeplechasing. But we also love to celebrate the sport today. Steeplechases, or jump races, are generally held on grass tracks, often with somewhat hilly terrain, over fences of brush, timber (wood), and sometimes water jumps. The horses are thoroughbreds and many of them got their start racing on the flat. They are generally older and a bit sturdier than their cousins and siblings at the flat racing tracks. And the jockeys don’t have to be the size of Derby winner Victor Espinoza (he’s 5’2″), but instead can be quite tall.

The Fall race meet at Glenwood is a particularly special one. The feature race of the day is the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, which is held in memory of NSLM founders George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and George L. Ohrstrom, Jr.

Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. (1894 - 1955) by Erik Guide Haupt (American, 1891 - 1984), oil on canvas Gift of the Ohrstrom Family
Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. (1894 – 1955)
by Erik Guide Haupt (American, 1891 – 1984), oil on canvas
Gift of the Ohrstrom Family
Thomas S. Buechner (American, 1926 - 2010) Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. (1927 - 2005) oil on canvas, 40 x 30 ¼ inches Gift of the Ohrstrom Family, 2003
Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. (1927 – 2005), by Thomas S. Buechner (American, 1926 – 2010), oil on canvas
Gift of the Ohrstrom Family, 2003

The Virginia Fall Races were founded not long after the NSLM (founded as the National Sporting Library in 1954). In 1955, George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., who was president of the Orange County Hounds, and Mrs. Theodora A. Randolph, the famous horsewoman and Master of the Piedmont Foxhounds for 40 years, worked together to create a new race meet for Virginia.  Sadly, Mr. Ohrstrom passed away just a month after the first October races. His son, George L. Ohrstrom, Jr., carried on supporting the races and the sport of steeplechasing. Today the Ohrstrom family continues to support the sport and sponsors the NSLM Cup.

The NSLM Cup is a timber race run over a long 3 and 1/4 miles course. The race is open to horses 4 years old and up – and a whopping 17 entries have been nominated to run this year.

National Sporting Library & Museum Cup Elkington & Co., London, 1920, sterling silver Gift of Juliana May, 2014
National Sporting Library & Museum Cup
Elkington & Co., London, 1920, sterling silver
Gift of Juliana May, 2014

The beautiful sterling silver NSLM Cup perpetual trophy will be awarded to the winner, and their names will be engraved on the base. New this year is a gorgeous “keeper” trophy. The owners of the winning horse will receive a stunning sterling silver salver (flat tray with small feet on the bottom) – for keeps! Generously donated by Juliana May, this piece was crafted by English silversmiths William Hutton & Sons, in 1930. It was engraved this year for the 2015 race.

National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, 2015 Winner’s Trophy William Hutton & Sons, Sheffield, England, 1930, sterling silver Gift of Juliana May, 2015
National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, 2015 Winner’s Trophy
William Hutton & Sons, Sheffield, England, 1930, sterling silver
Gift of Juliana May, 2015

Post time for the races is 1 pm. But come to town early and see fox hunters from around the country compete in the Theodora A. Randolph Field Hunter Championship on the infield. Or come to the NSLM to see great examples of steeplechasing in art – before you go see the real thing!

Cecil Aldin (English, 1870 – 1935) The Grand National Series: No. 3, Valentine’s Brook, c. 1923 photogravure, 13 x 25 inches Gift of Dr. Laura Jane Schrock, 1996
Cecil Aldin (English, 1870 – 1935)
The Grand National Series: No. 3, Valentine’s Brook, c. 1923, photogravure
Gift of Dr. Laura Jane Schrock, 1996
Paul Brown (American, 1893-1958) The Last Fence, Pickering, 1934 pencil on paper Gift of Boots Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Riegel, 2013
Paul Brown (American, 1893-1958)
The Last Fence, Pickering, 1934, pencil on paper
Gift of Boots Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Riegel, 2013

When you get to Glenwood, come visit us on the rail at spot A23!