By Barbara Tetreault
Feb 24, 2012 12:00 am
BERLIN – The eyes of the horse world will be on Berlin this September when the Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride is expected to draw endurance riders from across New England and beyond.
The event, being organized by the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Maynesboro Stud by William Robinson Brown. An avid horseman and endurance rider, Brown was considered the most important breeder of Arabian horses in the United States between 1912 and 1933. The lineage of Arabian horses he developed is still recognized today among horse breeders. Brown was also a member of the family that founded and operated the Brown Company paper mill complex in Berlin-Gorham.
Walter Nadeau, of the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society, said the planning for the Saturday, Sept. 15 event is well underway. While the 50-mile endurance race will be the main focus, there will also be a 25-mile ride and a 12-mile pleasure ride. The event is open to all breeds of horse although it is expected to be of particular interest to Arabian horse owners. Nadeau said the historical society is in the process of sending out fund-raising packets to area businesses and Arabian horse owners seeking donations to help offset the cost of putting on the event.
“I'm confident we'll get some major sponsors,” he said.
Nadeau said the historical society will also be applying to the Arabian Horse Association for a grant. He said he believes the various fund-raising efforts, combined with proceeds from the entry fee, will provide the necessary money to cover expenses.
The historical society is also seeking volunteers willing to help out with the event. Nadeau said he has contacted the UNH Extension Service to see if 4-H horse owners are interested in volunteering.
“I am going to need help,” he said.
The route for the endurance race has been set and Nadeau said he has received the necessary permission from 17 different landowners, including the state of New Hampshire. The race will started at the Brown Company barns on the East Milan Road where Brown raised his horses. From there the route will enter the woods across from the barns on property owned by Barry Kelley. The route will travel five miles on various wood roads and come out at White Mountain Lumber Company's saw mill. It will then travel along the East Milan Road, crossing the Androscoggin River at the Twelfth Street bridge, and traveling up Twelfth Street, connecting with the snowmobile system on Cates Hill. The From there, the route will continue to the Jericho Mountain State Park where it will run along the Head Pond section of the ATV trail system. The horses will follow the same route back, finishing at the Brown barns. Along the way, it will pass by the high school soccer field to coincide with Berlin High Homecoming festivities.
Nadeau said the goal of an endurance race to to provide a challenging course for the horses and said the route put together has some steep sections. Along the route, the horses must have three mandatory veterinarian stops - Two will be held at the Bisson Farm on Cates Hill and the third will come about 25 miles into the race. Including the mandatory stops, Nadeau said it will take riders six to eight hours to complete the ride.
Assisting the historical society in putting together the route have been Tom and Sandy Hutchinson of Bethel, Maine, who have competed in such events. The rides are sanctioned by the American Endurance Riders Conference and the Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association.
Brown has one surviving child, Nancy Lee Snow of Falmouth, Maine, and she has pledged to try and make the event.
People interested in donating or volunteering for the Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride should contact Nadeau at 752-7928 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture (clockwise from right) W.R. Brown's premiere Arabian stallion, Abu Zeyd, which sired 46 foals. A current photo of the Maynesboro Stud Barn which housed Brown's Arabians. The Arabian horses outside the barn and in the fields. (Photos provided by the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society)