This question arose when we noticed that Ada Plumb was riding in the Junior Training class at the Millbrook Horse Trials, where she finished with a very respectable sixth place. We remembered that Mike Plumb rode in the MHT back when it first started in 1984. Mike was, in those days, already a senior rider, having ridden in more Olympics than any other athlete. It was Louise Meryman who lured Mike to participate. Mike’s son Charlie rode in the MHT as a youngster.  For a couple of years, there were two Plumbs navigating the course.  Then age took its toll, and there was a gap that ended this August when 14 year-old Ada Plumb was among the junior competitors. She is from Unionville PA, a decidedly horsey country, home to many race jocks and masters of foxhounds. We found out through a series of phone calls that Ada is indeed Mike Plumb’s granddaughter, making her the third generation of Plumbs to ride at the MHT. She is the daughter of Hugh and Cassie Plumb. Hugh prefers driving fast cars to riding fast horses, but Cassie keep a stable of horses, many of which are suited to eventing. Mike describes Ada as a real athlete.

The finals of the Tracey Mactaggart 12 goal polo tournament will begin at 11:00 am on Labor Day, Monday September 1.

The five teams in the tournament – Buena Vista, Smithfield, Gardenvale, Hawk Hill and Heathcote have been competing among to see who qualifies for the finals.  Philip Mactaggart’s undefeated Hawk Hill team will meet the winner of the semi-finals to be played on Friday between Shane Finemore’s Gardenvale and Oakleigh Thorne’s Heathcote. 

The three profeionals playing for Hawk Hill are Sterling Giannico (3), Gringo Colombres (0), and Mariano Gracida (3).

Gardenvale’s three professionals are Jared Sheldon (3), Ezequiel Zubiaurre (4), and Cholo Donovan (5).

For Heathcote the professionals are Bautista panzillo (0), Francisco Lanusse (6), and 

Tatin Zubiaurre (6).

655 Smithfield’s Tommy Biddle and Gringo Colombres of Hawk Hill battle for the ball pursued by Sterling Giannico and John Klopp – ph

Before leaving for the World Equestrian Games at Le Pin National Stud in Normandy, members of the US Eventing Team brought their younger horses to the Millbrook Horse Trials last weekend.  Not surprisingly they took home most of the top ribbons. 

Phillip Dutton was second and third in the Advanced Division followed by Buck Davidson in fourth and fifth. Boyd Martin was second and Phillip Dutton third in Open Intermediate – A, and Dutton was also both third and fourth in Intermediate – B. 

637 Buck DAvidson & Petite Flower at the water complex - photo by Pat Ike

Laine Ashker, a professional rider from Virginia, and a former student of Phillip Dutton,  won Advanced on Anthony Patch. Millbrook riders Alice Roosevelt was third on Teddy O’Brien in Junior Novice while Mimi Babcock was third on Groovy Girl in Novice Rider. Lizzie Chamberlain, fresh from her victory in Kentucky was second in Junior Novice on her new horse, Theodora.

636 Lizzie Chamberlain and Theodora were second in Junior Novice

The three day event concluded Sunday with the spectators’ lunch in a tent overlooking the stadium jumping course.  The lunch was a benefit for the MHT, that now has its own 501(c)(3) designation.

The Chinese Year of the Horse was the theme for this year’s Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials the weekend of July 18-13. One entered the premises through an enormous pagoda-like gate. Saturday night's Blue Jean Ball, sponsored by Berkshire Mountain Distillers featured a Chinese banquet with drinks inspired by the Far East. New York City designer Darren Henault had decorated the party tent with a cloud of 800 melon and raspberry colored oriental lanterns hung from the tent ceiling.

625 photo by Carola Lott

The cross-country course designed by Derek di Grazia and Chris Bernard’s stadium course each had pagoda style jumps. Top international riders Boyd Martin, Philip Dutton and Will Coleman brought their young horses and went away with many ribbons. Boyd Martin won Preliminary Horse riding Craig and Gloria Callen's Welcome Shadow. Open Preliminary was won by Phillip Duttton, while Will Coleman placed first and second in Training Horse. 

626 Philip Dutton - photo by Pat Ike

Sandanona's connection to whomever controls rain was strong Sunday, as a morning of occasional downpours gave way to a sunny afternoon. More than 100 friends and subscribers overflowed the parking area and the ringside seating.  Very small children tore around everywhere. Our Judges,were Liz McKnight, ex-M.F.H., M.H., and Kerri Smythe, M.H., Joint-Masters of the Monkton Hall Bassets accompanied by our friend Jeep Cochran, Master of the Calf Pasture Bassets. 

The Show began promptly at 3:00 P.M. with a class for Very Small Handlers consisting of by Petter and Anna Nilsen, who showed Promise and Iceberg respectively.  They received ribbons in the color of their choice.  The two hounds have accounted for much silver in their combined 25 year careers in the show ring.  They stood confidently on the Boards, fixing their young handlers with gimlet eyes as they awaited the expected biscuit.  


Seven members of the Millbrook Pony Club competed in the US Pony Club National Championships held from July 14-18 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. 

Riding on the NY/Upper CT regional team, Erica Doyle from Amenia and Cat Reuss from Dover Plains won first-place honors as the National Champion team in the Senior C division of the Quiz competition. Also competing in Quiz were Sadie Pettyjohn, Gabby Montanino, Caroline D’Agostino and Jazzelle Colley, all of whom ride at Rivendell Riding Academy in Clinton Corners.

Lizzie Chamberlin and her horse Grit Victory were members of a “scramble” eventing team with riders from different regions around the US.  Her team finished in 6th place out of 23 teams in the Beginner Novice division. 

Erica, Cat, Lizzie and Alice returned sometime before dawn in time to present the MPC Barbara Meyers memorial trophy to pony club member Jessica Madden at Fitch’s Corner.




The Millbrook Horse Trials on  July31 – August 3rd at Coole Park Farm on the Bangall Amenia Road are the only three day event in the Northeast to feature an advanced level division.  Cross country course designer, Tremaine Cooper, points out that eventing is the only Olympic sport in which men and women can compete as equals. Professional and amateur riders also compete as equals as do teenagers to sixty year olds.

Cooper has designed some 12 new fences this year.  Most of the existing obstacles have been moved to give the course different feeling from last year.  How the fences are decorated almost gives them a different feeling.

Cooper says he thinks of a course as an education for horses and riders at all levels.  He keeps adding new questions and problems for each level so each one serves as a building block for the one above. He says “my goal is for when the horse crosses the finish line he will have learned something regardless of whether or not he has won.” 

The Millbrook Horse Trials, the only three-day event in the Northeast offering competition at the advanced level (the highest level in national eventing), will be held July 31 through August 3 at Coole Park Farm.   MHT attracts   Olympic-level riders, and the best of professional and amateur riders from around the country,  The organizers expect some 500 horses and nearly 4,000 spectators. 

For the first time $25,000 in prize money will be awarded to top finishers in the Advanced, Intermediate and Preliminary divisions. “With such an impressive purse, we’re certain to attract even more top riders,” said international event rider and MHT’s founder and president Louise Meryman. “And when riders are competing for big prizes, it’s always more exciting for spectators.”

The Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials – one of the high points of the summer for riders and non riders alike – is taking place on July 18, 19 and 20 at Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels’s farm on Mabbettsville Road.

In an event competition the same horse and rider must complete a combination of  dressage, cross country jumping and stadium jumping tests. The 250 riders in the event range from local competitors to members of the current USA Equestrian Team including Phillip Dutton, 4 time Olympic competitor, Boyd Martin, a veteran of the London Olympics and Lauren Keiffer who was recently chosen to ride for the USA. It will be exciting to watch riders of this caliber before they head to the World Equestrian Games later this summer in Normandy.

A highlight for young riders will be the competition for the Barbara Meyer Trophy awarded in her memory to the member of the Millbrook Pony Club with the highest points. 

Millbrook Pony Club’s eventing team proved that hard work and practice are a winning combination. 

They won first place both for horse management and overall among competitors from a region stretching from the Catskills to Rhode Island at the New York/Upper Connecticut Pony Club Regional Eventing Rally on Sunday, June 29 at the Kent School Stables.  Team members Erica Doyle, Cat Reuss, Lizzie Chamberlin, Gabby Montanino and Sadie Pettyjohn are pictured above holding one of the two trophies they won. Also riding on a scramble team in the Elementary division was Caroline D’Agostino. 

Lizzie will be competing at the upcoming Pony Club National Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky from July 14-18 in the Beginner Novice eventing division, while Erica, Cat, Gabby, Sadie and Caroline (along with Jazzelle Colley) will be competing in the Quiz National Championships.

Posted: July 10, 2014



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