BERLIN – The Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride will draw over 50 horses and riders to Berlin this weekend for an event that has captured the attention of the Arabian horse world.
The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Maynesboro Stud by William Robinson Brown. Brown, a member of the family that founded and operated the Brown Company paper mill, is considered the most important breeder of Arabian horses in the United States between 1912 and 1933.
An article about the event in the current issue of Modern Arabian Horse Magazine said Brown “once boasted the largest, finest and most influential herd of Arabian horses in the Western Hemisphere. W.R. Brown’s breeding program has such a positive and pervasive effect upon the breed in the United States, that the descendants of his many excellent stallions and mares are now omnipresent in modern bloodlines.”
Attending the festivities will be about a dozen Brown descendants including his daughter and son, Nancy Lee Snow and Fielding Brown, according to Walter Nadeau of the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society. The society has been working for over a year to plan and organize the event.
The highlight of the event is the 50-mile endurance race on Saturday. The race will start and finish at the Brown Company barns on the East Milan Road where Brown raised his horses. There will also be a 25-mile limited distance race and a 13-mile recreational ride.
Nadeau said riders are coming from across New England as well as New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina to compete here.
"This is a big deal in the Arabian horse world,” he said.
In addition to the article in Modern Arabian Horse magazine, Nadeau said Anita Enander, the publisher of Arabian Horse World magazine, is flying into Berlin to do a story.
The 50-mile endurance race will started at the Brown Company barns at 6 a.m. Saturday. From there, the route crosses the road onto property owned by Barry Kelley. The route travels five miles on various wood roads and comes out at White Mountain Lumber Company's sawmill. It then travels south along the East Milan Road, crossing the Androscoggin River at the Twelfth Street Bridge, and traveling up Twelfth Street to the field owned by Rachel Godbout on Cates Hill. The route continues to the Jericho Mountain State Park where it runs along the Head Pond section of the ATV trail system. Along the way, the trail passes by the high school soccer field to coincide with Berlin High Homecoming festivities. The horses will do a second loop from Cates Hill to Jericho and then follow the same route back, finishing at the Brown barns. Depending on the weather, it will take the horses six to eight hours to complete the endurance ride.
Along the route, the horses must have three mandatory veterinarian stops – two tents will be set up at Godbout’s field where the checks will be conducted. The horses must rest for 30 to 40 minutes at each check.
The 25-mile ride will leave at 7 a.m. and follow the same route but will not do a second loop. The recreational ride will start from the barns, cross the road and ride along various woods roads.
Nadeau said there will be a number of opportunities for people to view the horses and race. He said the public is invited to come up to the Brown barns Friday afternoon and evening to watch the horses arriving. The riders will be setting up corrals for their horses – most riders will be staying in trailers at the field. Two food concessions will be operating during the day and a dinner for riders and volunteers will be held Friday night at the Brown barn.
During the day Saturday, Nadeau said he expects the horses in the endurance race will be crossing the 12th Street Bridge at about 6:45 a.m. He said the horse checks on Cates Hill will take place between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and another good public viewing spot is the high school field between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. As the riders finish on Saturday, there will be a barbecue at the Brown barns starting at 3:30 p.m.
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. Nadeau said the event has attracted volunteers with some people coming as far as 100 miles to help. He estimated there will be 40 volunteers working the event.
In addition to his work as a breeder, W.R. Brown served as president of the Arabian Horse Club Registry from 1918-1939. He was considered one of the foremost scholars of the history of Arabian horses with a library unmatched in the world. His book, ‘The Horse of the Desert’ is still regarded as one of the finest books written on Arabian horses.
Brown sponsored the first United States Mounted Service Cup for Endurance Tests in 1919. His horses won the event five times.
Brown was forced to sell off his horses in 1933 to help save his family’s paper mills during the Great Depression. Among the buyers were W.K. Kellogg and William Randolph Hearst. Nadeau said Brown’s wife, Hildreth, wrote about the horses leaving.
“I think for them it was very heartbreaking,” he said.
The Modern Arabian Horse article on W.R. Brown’s Maynesboro Stud can be found at http://www.pagegangster.com/p/duL7U/#/page/47.