Maynesboro Ride to Honor 100th Anniversary of Arabian Horse Breed
Original Barn Where it all Started is Still Intact

September 9, 2012

by Debra Thornblad
Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN - One hundred years ago William Robinson Brown, owner of the Brown Company, began importing Arabian horses.  Within just a couple of decades, during the depression, he would have to sell them all to save the company.

But in the meantime, he began what's known as the Maynesboro Stud, a breed that even today carries a lot of weight in the Arabian horse world. It is estimated today about one-sixth of all Arabian horses carry the blood of the line he created.

On September 15, a special event, the Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride, will be held here honoring that legacy and history. William Robinson Brown bought what was known as the Horne Farm (today the White Mountain Chalet) on Maynesboro Road in 1899. It is not known exactly what he did with all 230 acres of land the farm contained then, but he did start breeding English setters before starting the Maynesboro Stud farm.

In 1912 he and his brother Herbert imported 33 Arabian horses from Egypt, France and England.  One of those was AbuZeyd, which was foaled in 1904 at the Crabbitt Arabian Stud in England. This horse was imported to the U.S. by Homer Davenport and purchased by the Browns. This horse would become an important part of Maynesboro Stud, siring 46 foals. Those original 33 horses would breed to 193 horses.

This horse AbuZeyd was one of the original 33 purchased by W. R. and Herbert Brown. It sired 46 foals.

In 1929, in order to learn more about the breed, Brown lived several months with Bedouin tribes in Turkey and Iraq. When he left to return home he sold the car he had purchased to get around over there for two horses. He also wrote a book that year, "The Horse of the Desert," still thought of today as the most detailed, and most loving, description of what the Arabian horse is, Walter Nadeau, who is organizing next month's event, said.

He kept meticulous breeding records of all his horses. An exhibit in the large barn now owned by the Berlin Historical Society, contains copies of these records and a listing of all the Arabians he had ever owned. This barn is the actual stud barn used to house the horses.

This old photo shows the W.R. Brown farm as it looked when he lived there.
The house is now the White Mountain Chalet and the big barn was moved and is now
one of the Brown Company barns owned by the Berlin Historical Society.

When Brown retired he sold this barn to the Brown Company, which moved it to its current location. He sold his home as well and moved to Dublin, NH., where he died in 1955. W.R. Brown worked for the Brown Company, which his father founded, from 1900 to 1943.   He was in charge of wood operations at the company and at the height of his career had 5,900 acres, equivalent to the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut, under his control.

By the 1930's, however, that company suffered the effects of the depression like everyone else and he had to change his lifestyle in order to save the company. He sold his beloved Arabian horses. It must have been a devastating blow because he did not go back to breeding them again, even after things got better.

In her memoir his wife describes when the last seven horses left in 1932. "We heard the clip clop of the horses as they left in the early dawn to go to Berlin to the trains."  He sold those last horses to W.K. Kellogg (of cereal fame) and William Randolph Hearst, hoping they would maintain the bloodline (they did).

This is the cover of one of the books that told potential buyers about the Arabian horses he had for sale.

September's Event Plans for the event began one year ago, last August when the historical society got a call from Kim Fortune of Warner, NH. Fortune owns a fifth generation Arabian horse, with a direct line back to Maynesboro Stud.

Doing research she discovered Brown and the fact that 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the founding in 1912 of Maynesboro Stud. This is a big deal in the Arabian horse world, Fortune told him. Something should be done. And so the historical society started planning the event.

The Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride will be based at the Brown Company barns property on May Maynesboro Road, across from the state prison. Camping for participants will be available there starting at noon on Friday, Sept. 14.

There will be three events: a 50-mile endurance ride, a 25-mile endurance ride and a 12-mile pleasure ride. The 50 and 25-mile rides are sanctioned with the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) and the Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association (ECTRA).

The Arabian Horse Association has also sanctioned the 50-mile ride. New England Horse Trail (NEHT) sanctions the 12-mile pleasure ride. Nadeau explained horses and riders get recognized for mileage with these groups.

Two of W.R. Brown's five children will be attending, a daughter, Nancy Lee Snow of Falmouth, Maine, and a son, Fielding Brown from Massachusetts. The oldest daughter at age 96 and living in California cannot attend and the other two children have passed away. Some of his grandchildren will also be attending.

The publisher of Arabian Horse World magazine, who owns two direct descendants of Maynesboro Stud, the oldest magazine in the world dedicated to the Arabian horse will also be coming.

To date, Nadeau said they have over 50 entrants, with the most in the 25-mile pleasure ride. Anyone interested in knowing more can contact Nadeau at the historical society 603-752-4590 or email

 [WMRR Home]