Coinciding with the Saratoga Race Course’s 2018 meet, The Hyde Collection will present a new exhibition, Horse and Rider, in its Rotunda Gallery from July 20 through September 9.
Americans have long romanticized their relationship with horses: the majesty of wild mustangs galloping through the plains, the allure of cowboys on horseback driving a herd, the utility of farmers tending their fields with horse-drawn plough, and the grace of racehorses. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has announced that it has deemed DEC’s application complete for the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area along the Schroon River in North Hudson. State and local officials have been touting the proposed facility as a “Gateway to the Adirondacks.”
The plan proposes an accessible public campground at the site of the former Frontier Town theme park. The campground would include RV, tent, and equestrian camp sites and facilities, and trails connecting to the snowmobile trails leading to Schroon Lake and Ticonderoga, and a new trail to Newcomb being proposed in the yet unapproved Boreas Ponds Tract Management Plan. The campground is part of the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Master Plan.
North River’s Garnet Hill Lodge is known for its full-service ski shop, Adirondack accommodations, and as a wedding venue overlooking Thirteenth Lake. Now Garnet Hill is adding Adirondack Carriage’s scenic horse-and-wagon rides for those seeking a late fall ride through the woods. Though some leaves are still hanging on the trees in North River, the mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees provides a peaceful horse-drawn outing. » Continue Reading.
Horace Brown, perhaps the greatest horse trainer from the northern Adirondacks and foothills, attained fame and many trotting victories in America, Europe, and Russia. Of all his successes, none was more acclaimed than the marvelous season of 1882. Collectively, it was among the unlikeliest stories in sports, an early equivalent of the US hockey team’s stunning Olympic victory in 1980, when a group of fresh, largely untested amateurs came together and conquered the world’s best.
The 1882 story became legend and was often repeated, but the first couple of names involved aren’t absolutely certain. Bear with me briefly through the details, for the story will get better. By most accounts, the horse in question was bred by Jeff Brown of Dresden, on the western shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. In the vicinity of Dresden, he sold it to Richard Brown (and now the names are certain,) who sold it to Lawrence Bogert, who sold it to Stewart L. Purdy of the town of Benton. » Continue Reading.
In 1894 Horace Brown relocated to Vienna and won his first race there. Riding fast mounts that he trained in a city stable, he continued claiming victories in important contests, and also won ten races in Germany. The following year was no different, as he captured many high-stakes races in Austria, France, and Germany. Of his ability to train horses and make them great, a writer for Spirit of the Times commented, “Horace Brown can get the speed out of a trotter as well as any, and better than many.”
By the end of September 1895, after heading the season’s winners list at Baden, Germany, and capturing big races at Vincennes and Neuilly in the suburbs of Paris, his contract with French owners expired. He was soon off to Russia, where he completed another very successful campaign.
In early 1896 he began training for Serge de Beauvais, another famous French horseman. After winning many races in the Paris area, Horace set up shop in Vienna, which became his adopted home. By year’s end, partly because of his winning efforts and stellar reputation as a trainer, the city became known in the media as the “foremost trotting center in Europe.” » Continue Reading.
Due to his obvious talent and strong work ethic, Horace was beset with offers from many prominent owners. Before year’s end, he became the trainer and driver for Highland Stock Farm in Lee, Massachusetts, a prolific operation that raced successfully across New England. Wallace’s Monthly, a magazine that covered horse racing, freely praised the hiring in a piece reprinted from Horse and Stable magazine. “It is a fact that the trainer of a farm is secondary in importance only to its stallions and brood-mares…. Horace Brown deserves the credit of whatever renown has been brought to Hamlin Farm…. I found that good horses improved faster under his care than that of any man of whom I had knowledge…. Horace reduced the record of Belle Hamlin to 2:18¼ and won more money with her in a single season than the Village Farm had won in its existence up to that time…. The greatest feat of Horace’s life was, in my belief, the defeat at Cleveland, on July 28 and 29, 1886, of Manzanita, Spofford, Kitefoot, Longfellow Whip, Orange Boy, and Lowland Girl, in a five-heat race that occupied two days. » Continue Reading.
One of my favorite people to visit when I was a child was my maternal grandfather, who owned a 100-acre farm in remote northwestern Clinton County. Ninety acres of the property were wooded (I loved exploring nature); he had cows, horses, and a dog (I loved animals); and he was an avid fisherman (I lived on the riverbank in Champlain and loved fishing). From my perspective, everything about my Grandpa Jim (Lagree) was cool (this was back in the ’60s, so “cool” is appropriate).
On the wall near his usual sitting area in the living room was a framed photo of a horse and sulky with the caption, “Dan Patch.” Since it was my grandfather’s picture, I knew it had to be something cool, and I was right. As he explained to me, Dan Patch was the greatest trotter ever. Trotting, as I learned, was once the most popular sport across Northern New York.
Within a general loop from Albany north to Glens Falls and Plattsburgh; west to Malone, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Watertown; south to Boonville; southeast back to Albany; and many stops in between, dozens of communities in the Adirondacks and foothills had trotting tracks of varying quality. Participants ranged from farmers to professional horsemen, all of them eager to put their horses’ abilities up against others for bragging rights, money prizes, and, of course, side bets. » Continue Reading.
Since its closure in 1998, Frontier Town could be more accurately described as a ghost town, but parts of the moldering theme park would be granted new life in a $32 million plan by the state to establish a Gateway to the Adirondacks at Exit 29 on the Northway.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan in his State of the State Message in January and filled in some of the details later in the month. It will include an information center, day-use area, equestrian trails, and a campground along the Schroon River. » Continue Reading.
The Ranger’s brother Charlie did most of the horseshoeing and set many a shoe. Uncle Charlie was a little harsh. He expected obedience and may not have believed in ”horse lib,” but he could make and train a horse.
Nellie and Topsy were young horses Papa bought from his brother Wilber, who had a mare name Mabel and had raised these colts, a beautiful pair. Prince was a lovely horse Papa liked very much. We were a large family, and many times cash was not plentiful. Papa would get his supplies on credit at the Frank Thissell store in the village of Bakers Mills. Papa wanted to get the bill paid and made some arrangement for paying them $100 and the horse Prince. » Continue Reading.
Uncle Charlie Dalaba was one of the helpers many times for sugaring. He was a bachelor for years. Then he married a lady preacher, pastor of the Bakers Mills Pentecostal Holiness Church. Esther Thomas was a city girl from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and before her conversion and ministry she had played in theaters. One name she mentioned was Helen Hayes, who was a child. When the opportunity for a part in a movie came, she listened. The child must have curly hair, which she did not have. Her mother thought her daughter would make a good actress and carefully curled her hair. Esther got the part and a movie career.
In the country, Aunt Esther Thomas Dalaba decided to learn what she could about her new way of life. One of those experiences led her to go watch the making of maple syrup. Aunt Esther was so large that walking was impossible. The men helped her onto the lumber wagon box and gave her a joyride to the back roads. Over the bumpy roads and swaying on the seat as the wagon wheel hit a stone, she laughed with pleasure and some alarm. What a good sport. » Continue Reading.
Hillmount Farms on Edwards Hill Road was made of many rolling hills. The Ranger’s team of horses was his companion for many days of labor. The team drew the plow over the hilly terrain. There were several kinds of plows used by the farmers, such as the side hill plow, flat land plow, and sulky plow. The Ranger used the side hill plow most, for plowing deep furrows, turning the sod to the right as he went up and around and down a field. The next furrow overlapped, falling into the path of the one just plowed.
Long wooden curved handles were fastened to the plow for the farmer to hold onto. It was difficult for the teamer to hold the lines, so he tied them together and threw them over his shoulder. They dropped to his waist, leaving him in control of the plowing. The horses were well trained with “gee” to turn to the right and “haw” to turn to the left. The horses understood these words. » Continue Reading.
When I suggested to my girlfriend Carol that we jog around Cascade Lake in the Pigeon Lake Wilderness, she endorsed the idea without hesitation. Not only is Carol a trail runner, but she also is an avid swimmer. You might say she is a little obsessed. When I mentioned that Cascade Lake has a sandy bottom, I could barely hold her back.
I had my own reasons for wanting to visit Cascade Lake. I was just finishing a guidebook (published in June by the Adirondack Explorer) called 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge and wanted to take a few photos for the Cascade Lake chapter. » Continue Reading.
I recently discovered an article written by Alexander Byron Lamberton, one of Old Forge’s earliest historical figures, that was published in Forest and Stream in March of 1876.
The article describes the first large-scale stocking of fish on Fulton Chain waters. Lamberton had only recently taken over as owner of the Forge House, and his story reads like an adventure tale: » Continue Reading.
The snows are gone and mud season has begun on the Otter Creek Horse Trails. Those hearty folks that stay North for the winter have been enjoying snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and even trekking with Alpacas, and now look forward to another season on the trails.
The Otter Creek Horse Trail system is located just outside Lowville on the Independence River Wild Forest, and the Independence River and Otter Creek State Forests along the western border of the Adirondack Park in Lewis County.
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