Historic Horse Ride to be Held in Berlin on September 15, 2012

September 5, 2012

by Larry Gomes
White Mt. Ridge Runners

BERLIN — Last fall, a group of volunteers were building a bridge on the Berlin Trail (PT108), when we were approached by a group hiking up the trail.  They introduced themselves as members of the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society and they were scoping out possible trails to be used for a horse riding event.

Well a lot has happened since then and thanks to the work of many volunteers under the leadership of Walter Nadeau, the MAYNESBORO STUD MEMORIAL RIDE will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2012 in Berlin.  This race will commemorate a unique moment in history where a Berlin businessman went up against the US Army and won.

Maynesboro Stud Farm, Berlin

In 1912 William Robinson Brown founded the Maynesboro Stud Farm in Berlin, New Hampshire.  This was an historic beginning in the breeding of Arabian horses. Over the next 20 plus years, WR Brown had established his Maynesboro Stud Farm as the most important Arabian breeding farm in the United States. He imported 33 horses  from England, France and Egypt and bred 194 Arabians.  

The  Maynesboro Stud bloodline is well known today and continues to produce Champion  Arabian horses.                                    

ABUZEYD  was his premiere stallion and sired 46  foals for W. R. Brown.

Picture of ABUZEYD, W.R. Brown's Premier Stallion

The Quest for a Perfect Army Horse

In the early 1900's, the Army was searching for the best calvery horse that could carry a large amount of weight and have great endurance.  William Robinson Brown (WR Brown) was part owner and manager of the Brown Company in Berlin.   He also was the founder and owner of the Maynesboro Stud, and became known as one of the most knowledgeable breeders and authorities on Arabian horses.  He traveled worldwide to purchase horses.  He also served as the President of the. Arabian Horse Club of America.

The directors were sure that the best way to promote the Arabian Horse in the United States was to get the Army interested in using and breeding Arabians. They spent a lot of time, money, and energy proving to cavalry majors that Arabians made the best cavalry horses.

In 1919, W.R. Brown, then President of the Arabian Horse Club of America (known then as the Arabian Horse Registry), organized the first Cavalry Endurance Ride. The U.S. Remount Service had just been established by the government and there were only 362 registered Arabian horses in the country. It was a prime time to convince the government to breed Arabians.

But with so few Arabian horses, it was no easy task to find enough to adequately represent the breed in the endurance ride. However, the club made a superior showing taking most of the prizes including. Mr. Brown who won first place on his purebred Arabian mare RAMLA. This horse carried 200 pounds on the ride.

The second Cavalry Endurance Ride was held in 1920. The U.S. Remount Service, representing the Army, became much more involved in the ride this year. The Army wanted to increase the weight carried to 245 pounds and the Arabian owners agreed. The horses traveled sixty miles a day for five days with a minimum time of nine hours each day. The highest average points of any breed entered went to Arabians, although a grade Thoroughbred entered by the Army won first.

According to Albert Harris (Arabian Horse Registry Director 1924-1949), the (Thoroughbred) Jockey Club gave the Army $50,000 in 1921 to purchase the best Thoroughbreds they could find for that year's endurance ride. Mr. Harris wrote: "With two endurance rides to the credit of Arabian horses in 1919 and 1920, the U.S. Remount, and incidentally the Jockey Club, felt something had to be done to beat these little horses in the next ride..." The Army selected all Thoroughbreds or grade Thoroughbreds which were all ridden by Cavalry majors. The Army also wanted to lower the weight carried to 200 pounds, but the Arabian people, having proved their horses at 245 pounds, objected. A compromise was reached at 225 pounds.

In spite of the extraordinary efforts made by the Jockey Club and the Army, the first prize in the 1921 Cavalry Endurance Ride went to W.R. Brown's purebred Arabian gelding *CRABBET.  Then Mr. Brown won the trophy once again in 1923 with his Anglo-Arab gelding GOUYA.

Having won the race three times on his Arabians, Mr. Brown gained permanent possession of the U.S. Mounted Service Cup. Albert Harris wrote in his history of the Arabian Horse Registry that after 1923, the Arabian horse breeders decided not to enter their horses in the ride. This was done "so that the Army would have a chance of winning the cup the next time."

There was one exception. EL SABOK, an Arabian stallion owned by the U.S. Remount, finished first in 1925. He was not given the trophy because of a small welt raised under the cantle of his saddle. However, the U.S. Department of Animal Husbandry noted that of all stallions of various breeds entered in all of the rides, EL SABOK was the first and only one to finish a ride.

By this time the Army was convinced that Arabian horses had tremendous endurance ability and should be used to develop a supply of saddle horses that could be called to service if needed. Unfortunately, Arabians were scarce and difficult to obtain at that time. The Army breeding program was given a big boost in 1941 when the Arabian Horse Registry directors decided to donate the nucleus of an Arabian stud to the U.S. Remount.

Each director and Mr. W.K. Kellogg (of the Kellogg cereal company) personally donated one or more horses. A total of one stallion seven broodmares (six in foal), one suckling filly, and three two-year-old fillies were placed at the Fort Robinson Remount Depot in Fort Robinson, Nebraska.

By 1943, the Army owned more Arabian horses than any other breed except Thoroughbreds. While Thoroughbreds were relatively easy to obtain because of the racing market, there were only 2,621 registered Arabians in the United States at that time.

That same year, Mr. W.K. Kellogg, a Registry Director from 1927 to 1940, and Albert Harris, helped the U.S. Remount Service to gain possession of Mr. Kellogg's Arabian stud in Pomona, California. Mr. Kellogg had originally given the stud to the state of California, but during World War II the Remount Service wanted it and they got it (including 97 purebred Arabians).

Only a few years later the Army decided to dispose of all its horse operations to the highest bidder. Mr. Kellogg, with much public support, arranged to have the ranch given to California Polytechnic College which continues to maintain an Arabian breeding program today.

Recent picture of the restored Maynesboro Stud Barn

Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride

On September 15, 2012 the Berlin & Coos County Historical Society (BCCHS) will celebrate the100th anniversary of the establishment of the Maynesboro Stud and its founder W.R. Brown with an endurance horse ride beginning and ending at the Maynesboro Stud Barn which has been restored by the Society over the past ten years.

There will be a 50 mile ride, a 25 mile ride, and a 12 mile recreational ride taking place through the streets of Berlin, Cates Hill and the northern trails of Jericho Lake ATV Park. BCCHS will also teach a history lesson at Berlin High School about Brown Company, W.R. Brown’s Arabians and will have this history displayed in an exhibition at St. Kieran Arts Center.

50-Mile Ride Details

The 50 mile ride will begin at 7 AM. Starting time is subject to the discretion of management; any changes will be discussed at the rider's meeting. During the 50-mile ride there will three holds: one after 11 miles at a location known as Bisson's farm on Cate's Hill Road; one at 25 miles into the ride, and the third one at Bisson's farm again, about 39 miles into the ride.

At each of these stops, saddles will be removed and the horse will be cooled down.  Vets will monitor heart rate and once the horses heart rate drops below 60 beats per minute, then time for that leg of the race is recorded.  If the horse is unable to reach the desired heart rate within 30 minutes of their arrival at a stop, the horse and rider will be disqualified.

25-Mile Ride Details

This is a limited distance ride beginning at 8:00AM. At the finish, ride time of the competitor continues until the post ride veterinary recovery criteria for finish of 60 beats per minute is met. There will be one hold, about 11 miles into the ride at the Bisson farm on Cate's Hill.

10 to 13-Mile Pleasure Ride

Meeting for pleasure riders at 8:30AM. Pleasure ride begins following this meeting. Pleasure riders will be riding on pavement only for a couple of hundred feet. You will have a gradual elevation gain of about 300-400 feet and will ride on what remains of the quarter mile track that WR Brown used to train his Arabians.

Awards:

A silver plated cup for first place in the 50 mile ride and the 25 mile. A silver plated tray for places two to ten in each category. An event souvenir for all those completing each of the two events. An event souvenir for all of those in the pleasure ride. Silver trays for the top five in the Junior division.

Spectator Viewing:

There will be many places to view these beautiful horses during the ride.  The ATV trails north of Rt.110 will be closed during this race so you will have to walk into to any trails used during the race. Please contact the  the BCCHS by email at bcchs@hotmail.com or call at 603 752-4590 for directions to the best viewing areas and approximate times the horses will be at these locations.

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