This was a vacation day for me. Amy, Tina, Sandy and I went to The Walnut Hill Carriage Competition in Pittsford. It is the premier event of it's kind and people come from all over the country to participate.
We knew it was going to be a great day from the get go. As soon as we got out of the car this transport vehicle appeared and the driver asked if we would like a lift to the entry gate. Perfect.
What a great service! This was Amy's first time at Walnut Hill.
Sandy, Tina and I have been going for years.
"OK ladies...here you are...call me if you need a ride back to your car later."
This was a first class experience from top to bottom.
Starting with the entrance, which was tastefully decorated and manned by friendly, helpful people.
A friend gave me 4 tickets, so we all got in for nothing. Such a deal!
We got there around 11 and several classes were already completed.
I've got to warn you...This is a very long post. I could not stop taking pictures of these beautiful horses and turnouts.
One of the classes we were very interested in started out in the ring and ended up on the lawn, where each entrant set up a picnic (which counted in the judging).
There must have been at least 10 in the class.
As usual, there were flowers in every direction. An incredible amount of preparation went into this event. There were so many plants grown, they were set on bleachers so they could be easily taken care of.
Flags were flown near the entrance.
So here we go.
This entrant prepared a meal of Chinese food and dressed the part with her Mandarin jacket. Her Jack Russel traveled with them in their wicker vehicle.
As you can see, hats are everywhere... in and out of the ring.
The judge went to each entrant and decided who presented the most authentic picnic.
They all try to come up with something unique.
We were all hungry just looking at the food and decorations.
Start tuning into the hats. There are many to come after this one.
Because we had Patron tickets we were able to pass through this arbor into a big tent where you could order lunch or have a buffet.
We all went for the buffet...it included dessert and drinks.
It was outstanding...things like jerk chicken, pilaf, tortellini with sun dried tomatoes, beef stew, baked ham, baked beans and a gigantic salad bar that included things like potato salad, mac salad, chicken salad, fruit plus all the normal stuff (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, mushrooms...blah blah blah). You must get it by now.
One pass through and did we load up.
It was worth every penny.
At noon they had the ceremonial national anthem....
and we took a few minutes to check out some of the boutiques.
The horsey version of a shopping mall you would find at the Ritz.
I usually lose my marbles taking photos at Walnut Hill.
Are these not the most beautiful creatures! Who could resist?
I went up to the hat shop hopping to catch a bunch of women trying on the hats...
but there was only one person to model for me...
and she was very cooperative. It would not be out of the question to pay $350 for one of these babies.
Part of this competition involved cross country driving (through the woods, water, over bridges etc.). Below is an example of what is out in that area...staging also took place near here.
There were many Fresians here today.
It would not be the same if I did not get a shot of this man. Every year I find him. Classic.
And look who was hanging out by one of the boutiques. A sweetheart.
After the pairs/cones class they had one called the Old Guard. Everyone driving was over 65 (and some were in their 70s and 80s) demonstrating that this is a life long sport.
You were able to drive horses, ponies or minis. Look at the size difference.
Next, we watched a couple of coaching classes. Be sure to check out the videos below.
Pure elegance. Some of the coaches were well over 100 years old!
And then there was this Newfie pulling a cart.
Even the babes wore great hats.
On the way out I forced my pals to let me take one last shot. I'd say we all had a great time.
The mounted police officers patroled the area...both horses were absolutely mint.
Bill Remley, who has been the backbone of Walnut Hill, passed away earlier this year. His wife and daughter helped make this year's show possible and did an outstanding job. This has been going on for almost 40 years and developed into the largest Carriage Competition in the world.
What a great day. And it was only 40 minutes away.