September 19, 2012BERLIN - The 2012 Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride held Saturday, Sept. 15, went off without a hitch. Although the weather was overcast most of the day and a little cool for humans, it was perfect for the horses. Only one of the 32 horses involved in the 25 and 50-mile endurance rides was unable to finish, and that was due to some lameness.
All of the remainder of the horses and riders finished in good shape and when organizer Walter Nadeau suggested at the awards ceremony that maybe there'd be another one, the room erupted in cheers. Everyone seemed happy with the manner in which everything had been run.
"It was terrific," Nadeau, who organized the event for the Berlin Historical Society, said. "I was hoping for 30 horses and we had over 50, including the pleasure riders."
Nadeau said participants told him it was the best-marked trail they had ever seen.
"That's the most important thing for them, so they don't get lost in the woods," he said.
Nadeau said he attended two other similar events to see how it was done and put out 50 directional signs in the woods. He said the riders told him they thought it was great that people sat out along the route to see the horses.
So, is he going to do it again? He said possibly the pleasure ride, but he wasn't sure about the endurance rides.
"Someone else who does this told me you always say no way for about a month and then you get the bug again," Nadeau said, so maybe it's a maybe.
The event was a year in planning. The historical society got a call from Kim Fortune of Warner, N.H., who owns a fifth generation Arabian horse with a direct line back to Maynesboro Stud. She discovered Maynesboro Stud was started in 1912 when W.R. and Herbert Brown began importing Arabian horses from Europe. She told Nadeau this was a big deal in the Arabian horse world and something should be done to mark the 100th anniversary and so planning for last Saturday's event began.
About a dozen members of the Brown family attended the event, including two surviving children to W.R. Brown, a son, Fielding Brown and daughter Nancy Lee Snow.
This weekend's event started Friday afternoon with horses and riders arriving to camp in the field next to the largest Brown Company barn on Maynesboro Road. It began with a dinner in that barn. Somehow the historic barn was transformed into an elegant (as much as possible) dining room with round table, white tablecloths, and dangling lights. A buffet dinner that included vegetable and fruit salads, bread, potato salad and three hot dishes as well as desserts and special cakes made for the occasion followed.
Towards the end Nadeau thanks participants for coming and recognized the several members of the Brown family who had come.
Mayor Paul Grenier noted that the Brown family had built Berlin. "Berlin will be forever grateful to that family," he said. "Their legacy goes on, which you can see by all the beautiful animals here."
Nadeau thanked Fortune who had started all this by discovering it was the 100th anniversary of the founding of Maynesboro Stud this year.
He also thanked Tom and Cassie Hutchinson for their outstanding help in organizing the event.
"The only horse I'd ever been on was on a merry-go-round," Nadeau said.
Horses and rides got an early start Saturday morning with the 13 horses doing the 50-mile endurance ride taking off at 6 a.m. The first ones returned about 3:30 and the last about 6 p.m.
Those participating in the 25-mile endurance ride left at 7a.m. and were all back by the time the first 50 mile horse and rider came in.
About two dozen horses and riders participated in the 12-mile pleasure ride.
One of the vet stops was the field across from the Godbout residence on Cates Hill Road. There a vet told this writer what they looked for. They listen to their stomach for gurgling noises that tell them the digestive system is working the way it should. They check their feet and legs to make sure there's no heat. They push on the gums, and then let up to check their capillaries to make sure the horse is not dehydrated. They look at the eyes to make sure they are bright and alert. They make them run a little to make sure they are not lame. After this check, the horse must rest for 40 minutes before continuing.
While the horses were coming in, a BBQ was going on at the Brown Company barns.
Although two 50-mile riders were still out, the awards ceremony was held about 5:30 p.m., as many had a long ride home. Some, who had come from a long distance, stayed overnight and left Sunday morning.
The winners of the 25 and 50-mile endurance ride each got a trophy cup. Those coming in 2nd to 10th place got a plate and after that participants got a tote bag.
The winner of the 25-mile ride was Cindy Seames of Oxford, Maine. The first three finishers of the 50-mile endurance ride crossed the finish line together holding hands. There was only one trophy, however and Nadeau put their names in the trophy and pulled them out for first, second and third place winners.
Winning the draw for first place, and the trophy cup, was Sally White of Marlboro, Vt., second Kathy Downs, from Somerville, Maine and third Ruth Ferland, from Cornish, N.H.
Winning the Best Condition award was Wendy Bejarano, with her horse Zambizy's Red Comet, from W. Windsor, Vt.
After each horse comes in they are examined by the vet and the rider of the horse that finishes in the best condition wins this award. For these riders, who all cherish their horses, it is considered just as important and prestigious as coming in first.
The last two riders coming in, to cheers, were Krista Alderdice and her horse Essor, from Brownsville, Vt. and Mindy Vienneau and her horse Movette, from Dixville, Maine.