Symphony boosters, riders celebrate music, horsemanship

April 23, 2018

Stable View Farm was a prime destination for local music aficionados and equestrians Saturday afternoon, playing host to Horses and Harmony II, which blended exhibitions by horses and riders with music by the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Donald Portnoy.

A similar event — the original Horses and Harmony — was held in 2016, also to benefit the orchestra, and this year’s offering was “bigger and better,” in the words of event organizer David Tavernier, with the guild.

“It’s a very unique event. I don’t know of anyone who’s doing a combination of these magnificent horses ... with the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, playing fantastic music: ‘Flight of the Bumblebee,’ ‘Enter the Gladiators,’ all kinds of great pieces that fit. Our maestro specifically picked the music specifically to fit each particular act and horse, and that just adds to the uniqueness of it all.”

Several performances were offered as duos, such as those by Helen Naylor and her horse, Claire; and Laura Abner and Bo. Others, such as the Happy Hour Drill Team, were considerably larger. At least one other — “the Bumble Bee driving team of minis” — featured horses at about the eye level of a child.

David Stinson, largely known for his work in local real estate, served as master of ceremonies, helping lead the way through a program that also included such donors as The Willcox, The Reserve Club, Outback Steakhouse, Lionel Smith Ltd., Herbal Solutions, Equine Divine and Aiken Saddlery, among dozens of others.

Among Stinson’s 400-plus neighbors at the event was Aiken resident Lucy Miller, who commented, “It’s been a fantastic experience that we have enjoyed so much — such a special, special, special day.”

Pat Kirk, with the guild, helped put the pieces together and confirmed she got thumbs-up reviews afterward. “The weather was beautiful. The horses did not really misbehave. All the drivers and riders were so gracious about giving their time, and I thought the orchestra sounded wonderful. I’d said it was an ‘A-plus’ afternoon.”

The gathering also included a catered meal. Desserts moved especially quickly, and white wine proved to be among the most popular items. “These women love their white wine, so we’ve got to readjust there,” Kirk said, confirming the possibility of having a similar event in a couple of years.

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