AP NEWS

Saddle up for the annual Greenwich Riding and Trails Association Horse Show

March 21, 2019

It doesn’t seem possible, but it is almost time for my favorite springtime event: the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association Horse Show. It will take place Sunday, June 9, at the wonderful Milliken estate on Pierson Drive in the backcountry. It is a wonderful place for a horse show, and of course, a wonderful place for a luncheon under a tent.

This event has quite a history. To wit, the show celebrates its 98th anniversary this year. Although not a consecutive run, it is an impressive one.

It started in 1914 at Nutbourne Farm in Port Chester, N.Y. One of its features, a tradition that continues today, was a luncheon given under a tent on the showgrounds. And I can attest that the lunch is delicious today, although I wasn’t there in 1914. Attendees can enjoy the show while having lunch, which I think is just as good today as it was back then.

In 1921, the show moved to Yale Farms off John Street, and then in 1925 to the Greenwich Polo Grounds on Quaker Ridge Road. The show relocated briefly in 1948 to Blind Brook Turf and Polo Club on Anderson Hill Road in Purchase, N.Y., before returning to Quaker Ridge in 1950 for a few years, and then back to Blind Brook for the 38th running in 1954.

After a five-year absence, the Horse Show returned in 1960 and was held on the property of William Heron at Lower Cross Road and Lake Avenue. When the Heron family sold their property, the show was moved to Coker Farm in Bedford, N.Y., thanks to the generosity of Judy Richter.

Talking about the show reminds me of that one day when the late Miggy Serrrell and I were having tea with our good friends, the Millikens. We were saying how hard it was to find places to have the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association Horse Shows, including the Day in the Country, a smaller show held in September. Both Phoebe and the late Gerrish Milliken said in one breath, “Why don’t you have it here?” Since then, the Milliken family has welcomed the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association each year.

It has been a grand affair each year with a delightful lunch, with the tables placed so that one can enjoy a meal and still clearly see the ring. I must say, what is going on in the ring has become extremely glamorous. Both the riders and horses have come a long way. And thank goodness for the wonderful land that we have courtesy of the Milliken family.

As I’m sure many of you know, ever since 1966, when Miggy Serrell talked to me about the loss of land for the shows, I suggested that we should have a ball to raise much-needed funds for the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association. The answer to that was, “Why don’t you?” And so I became chairman of the organization’s first ball.

I understand that we will have a ball this year. That is a fine thing that we have been able to do from 1966 to 2019.

The Silver Horse Ball will be held at the Round Hill Club on Nov. 2. It will be a ball, which one doesn’t hear about so much these days. It brings in the money to cover the expenses, which go up each year, and the proceeds will also help conservation.

Come one, come all, and thanks to the Millikens.

Greenwich native Norma Bartol, a former Greenwich Time reporter and columnist, lives in the backcountry.