Walnut Hill


Jill is at this year’s installment of the famed Walnut Hill Driving Competition with the CAA booth and is sending daily reports and photos. The show started at 8 a.m. this morning and continues through the pleasure drive on Sunday morning.

Here’s Jill’s report from Day One:

Tuesday — check in day at Walnut Hill

While on my way to Walnut Hill (in a rental vehicle with a lot of CAA stuff for the booth), I received a phone call from a friend telling me that it was pouring down in Pittsford. So I expected not to be able to drive up to my booth upon my arrival due to the wet grass, but we all were able to (thank goodness — so we didn’t have to carry heavy boxes a long way). I understand the stabling area is quite muddy due to the large number of motor vehicles coming and going.

I saw all the officials for the show: Mickey Bowen (PA), Kail Palmer (OK), Diana Brownlie (UK), and Terry Pickett (MI), plus organizer Trish Remley and show manager Ed Young.

All the vendors were unloading and setting up today. I unloaded and set up the book stands and tables, but did not get any of the books out of the plastic tubs because of the weather.

I have been coming to this fantastic show for so long I almost feel part of the crew. My job in the mornings is to stop at Dunkin Donuts and pick up coffee for everyone in the show office and even some of the grounds crew (I get one of those big coffee boxes, which has about fifteen large cups in it). This I do early and then I sit and enjoy my coffee while others are scurrying around. The show starts bright and early Wednesday at 8 a.m., and one thing that you can set your watch by is the fact that it will be on time and remain so all day. This show is a real lesson in organization and a pleasure to watch.

I understand there is a record number of entries again for this year — the fortieth anniversary of the show — 230 entries! The largest division in the Large Ponies, with more than thirty entries. Bill Remley would be so proud.

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And a few photos from Wednesday morning. It looks like a gorgeous day at Walnut Hill!

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the CAA booth (photo by Jill Ryder)

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the Walnut Hill show office (photo by Jill Ryder)

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the first class started promptly at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning (photo by Jill Ryder)

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entries in the Single Horse / Runabout Pleasure Turnout class (photo by Jill Ryder)

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John White won the Four-in-Hand Reinsmanship class (photo by Jill Ryder)

First, the Parade of Champions from Walnut Hill:

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Next, the latest (fresh photos, taken this morning) on the ongoing parking-lot construction at the KY Horse Park — getting the various pavilions, tents, etc. ready for the WEG:

Jill’s final report (for Sunday) from this year’s Walnut Hill competition:

It was too good to last! We got rain on Sunday, from early on until around 2:30 p.m. In the morning was the pleasure drive and, despite the weather, most elected to go and not disappoint the hundreds of people who had lined the streets to see the turnouts go by.

The afternoon featured a variety of classes and ended with the Parade of Champions, where every champion came into the ring for a final review.

And the dates for the show in 2011 were announced: August 10-14.

“The show must go on!”

Jill’s report from Saturday, the final day of the Walnut Hill competition:

A perfect day! Not always sunny, but a cool breeze helped the day. The crowds came out today for the show, and they were treated to some spectacular sights.

One of the favorites was the Afternoon Wicker Phaeton class, which included the set-up and eating of picnic lunches. The entries were first judged in the ring, then excused to a grassy holding area where tables were set up. Each entry unhitched and took the horses back to their stalls, then they set about setting up a variety of picnics, ranging from traditional to a lobster lunch! The crowd flocked to watch as the judges went from picnic to picnic and then conferred at the end. In the end, Mary Mulligan of Canada won the class.

The coaches came out again today for a Performance class and an Obstacle class. The Four-in-Hand / Unicorn class was also held today, to the crowd’s delight.

The show ended today at 5:30 p.m. The crew scurried around, tidying the chairs and making sure all was set for the dinner this evening at 7 p.m. in the large tent on the grounds.

Several championships were awarded today, and we get to see every champion come in the ring tomorrow afternoon for the Parade of Champions.

Here is Jill’s report on today’s events at Walnut Hill (it’s just barely still Friday as I type this):

Today was beautiful: picture perfect, sunny with a cool breeze. Although it did get a little hotter in the afternoon, everyone was in a gread mood, enjoying the stunning turnouts, class after class.

The Juniors Division was held today, with sixteen young people in various types of turnouts, all vying for a good ribbon.

The Coaching Performance and Obstacle classes were this afternoon. There were five coaches in all: three horse teams and three pony teams, so they were split into two sections. After the Performance class (won by Harvey Waller of Massachusetts), the Cones class was held, and as the coaches each completed the cones course, they were sent out on a drive down the road to Toddy Hunter’s nearby farm.

The evening performance then began with the return of the coaches into the arena and the presentation of the Tom Ryder Trophy (Best Road Team) by Elizabeth Ryder Ashbridge, visiting from England, to Toddy Hunter. The Jack Pemberton Trophy (Best Park Team) was presented (by Elizabeth again) to John White of New Jersey.

The always-popular evening performance (the only one of the entire show) then continued, with an emotional tribute to Bill Remley, after which Peter Doubleday announced, “In the words of Bill himself, the show must go on!”

Next into the ring was the Carriage Dog class, followed by the always-entertaining Costume class, the Trade class, and the Evening Bonneted Phaeton class.

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