By The Hill Staff - 07/25/12 09:00 AM EDT
Hometown: Winterhaven, Fla.
Political Party: Republican
Relationship status: Declined to specify
In another time, Leslie Rath might’ve ridden into Washington on her horse.
The scheduler for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) owns and rides a warmblood thoroughbred cross named Blondie.
“She’s huge,” Rath says. “She’s about 17 hands, with buckskin [coat] and a blonde mane.”
“That’s one of my favorite things to do,” she says.
Rath and company strap on helmets, traditional coats, pants, boots and vests, and then literally release the hounds.
“We follow the hounds in the morning — it’s really early in the morning — and the hounds follow the scent,” she says. “We don’t actually kill the fox; the whole thing is the chase. We jump jumps, natural jumps they build in the woods, or you can go over fallen trees, and it’s just all about the chase.”
Florida, it seems, has a dearth of foxes, so a typical chase in the Sunshine State involves coyotes, bobcats and panthers. Rath is presently keeping Blondie at a stable in Florida where a trainer works her out, but she hopes to find boarding for the horse in Virginia so the two can ride up here.
Outdoor activities have always come naturally to Rath. Her family has been in the Florida orange-growing business for almost 80 years. In fact, you might have seen them — Rath’s grandparents are pictured on the side of the Florida’s Natural orange juice carton.
“There’s a little thing called ‘Meet the growers’ they do to try and sell American products,” Rath says. “They put their picture on the side of the carton, and we always joke around: They’re on the side of the carton, but they’re not missing.”
— Jonathan Easley