The 45th Walnut Hill Driving Competition will be held in Pittsford August 10-14.
Show Manager Ed Young and competitor Mary Phillips discussed the event, which takes those in attendance back in time to the Victorian era of horse and carriage travel. “Walnut Hill was a vision of a man named Bill Remley who 45 years ago had this passion for history and a wife who had a passion for horses, and they married these passions and the creation of Walnut Hill started,” said Young. “We will see turnouts it you will, and a turnout being a carriage and a horse, everything from miniature horses, single miniature horses up to coaches.”
The Phillips family has been involved with Walnut Hill from the very beginning. “Both my parents were very involved in Walnut Hill and my mom still is, my father is no longer living,” said Phillips. “My mom has a horse farm, it’s Pittsford, but out toward Mendon and she’s been part of the horse world since she was a little girl, and because of Bill Remley and introducing them to the world of carriage driving, our farms being just a stone’s throw from each other, my mom and dad jumped right into it. They competed horses and ponies and what not, I showed there as a junior before moving away for a few years and then came back to the sport myself about three years ago.”
Phillips said the joy she derives from Walnut Hill goes beyond the competition. ” It’s envigorating, the connection between you and your horse, or pony I should say in my case,” she said. “The camaraderie, community of people who drive horses and carriages, everyone is so supportive of one another.”
Young said Walnut Hill is a family event. “In addition to the competition itself, we will have a number of other activities, for example we’ll have a children’s area where some face painting will go on, some photo ops for children, some coloring contests that relate to, if you will, horse and carriages, that they can engage in,” he said. “You know, as well as we have, probably in the area of 25 vendors that will be there, will different products, some horse related, some not horse related. But I want to go back just a little bit to what Mary has said, one of the things that I think is very refreshing about the carriage driving is they are family activities, it’s not like other equestrian sports as such. Most of these people are bringing their horses and their carriages from their backyard, and generally the help that they have getting them ready are their son, their daughter, their mother, their father, whatever, so it truly is a family activity carriage driving.”
The Walnut Hill Driving Competition will be held at 397 Bloomfield Road in Pittsford. For tickets and more information call (585) 746-1080 or visit the Walnut Hill Farm website, click here.