North Salem’s Old Salem Farm sits tucked into Westchester’s uppermost corner; a couple steps in the wrong direction, and one might accidentally end up in Connecticut. But over the past two weeks, this serene section of the county seduced spectators from all over with the smell of freshly mowed grass and a charming expanse of greenery surrounding its expansive Grand Prix Field. That’s where the Farm hosted its annual Spring Horse Show, intended for novices and equestrian fanatics alike.
The event seamlessly balanced a fiercely competitive environment with the easygoing pace of a lazy spring day. For the avid fan, the show featured Olympic gold medalists and U.S. team members, not to mention a host of local riders. However, those timid around hoofed creatures and rustic surroundings easily escaped into the array of shopping options along the Show’s Boutique Row, dined at an innovative pop-up restaurant hosted by Brewster’s popular Clock Tower Grill, or partook in face painting and pony rides for the kids.
Opening week (May 10-15) featured a series of close finishes, with riders coming in within fractions of seconds of one another. Adrienne Iverson, riding Redfield Farm’s Donar R, topped that Friday’s Welcome Stake to win $35,000. Equally impressive, two-time Olympic gold-medalist McLain Ward dominated that Sunday’s Old Salem Farm Grand Prix to claim $50,000.
Similar stakes awaited spectators during week two (May 17-22), with major races boasting even heftier sums. Ward scored a double win, coming in first in the Grand Prix of North Salem and the Empire State CSI 3* Grand Prix. Though Ward’s victories were not unexpected, the horse he achieved it with was; Ward’s first ride on Friday’s Grand Prix winner, Rothchild, put him in third, while young mare Tina la Boheme was the eventual class winner. Former U.S. team Member Leslie Howard took second with a strong effort on Gentille van Spieveld to round the top three.
As the event drew to a close, Alan Bietsch, manager of Old Salem Farm, beamed, “We are very proud to host some of the best horses and riders in the country and the world here. It’s an honor to be able to showcase our sport to the people of North Salem, Westchester County, and beyond.”