Lefeda Willliams and Jan Van Fossen (both 83) and Betsy Rainoff, 84, are the ‘senior citizens’ of the Moore County Hounds, Southern Pines, NC.
Lefreda started hunting in 1945 at age 8. Her grandfather was joint master of Camargo Hunt in Cincinnati, Ohio, where her whole family followed the hounds, thanks to her grandfather keeping a stable full of horses. This year, she will celebrate her 75th year of foxhunting. Lefreda started the great Olympic horse, Bold Minstrel, in the hunt field and was also an eventer, following this love by founding the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, NC.
Jan was an accomplished rider and foxhunter when she took a job breaking young horses and keeping the hunt horses fit at Raymond Firestone’s Lauray Farm in Bath, Ohio. She hunted with Mr. Firestone’s drag pack six months of the year in Ohio and then moved with the Firestone family to Southern Pines for the winter season to chase live quarry with Moore County. Now a long-time resident of Southern Pines, Jan has hunted with Moore County continuously since 1969.
Betsy took a different path to her love of foxhunting. She started riding lessons at the age of 8 at Ted and Bobby Wahl’s Round Hill Stables in Greenwich, CT. By the time she was 12, she was allowed to ride with the Fairfield and Westchester Hunt, a long-disbanded drag pack. A family move to Greensboro, NC, soon gave her the chance to hunt with Sedgefield, with occasional trips to Tryon and Moore County. When career, marriage, and children interfered, she took a long hiatus from horses, but a retirement move to Southern Pines, NC in 1995 gave her the chance to get back in the saddle with Moore County.
Lefreda, Jan, and Betsy soon became best friends as they all rode first flight together for many years. Betsy and Lefreda have dropped back to second, trading in their large horses for ponies. Betsy leads the field with Lefreda right behind, still loving to run fast after the pack in full cry, while Jan often leads the Hilltoppers.