Beverly Abbott said she was 6 years old when her Dad and some other horse owners got together to start a riding club. It was 1956. The first club was set up on rented land next to Lehigh Cement Plant in Union Bridge. That's how the riding club, now located on Deep Run Road in Silver Run, got it's name. The original founders included Abbott's father Gilbert Abbott, Bill Good, Robert Whitmore, Ed Bollinger, George Ditman, Emory Hare, Russell Freyman, and Peck Taylor. Taylor played the guitar and often brought it along on overnight trail rides.
"I can remember as a kid having a lot of fun on the overnight trail rides we used to have," Beverly Abbott said. "we rode on the C&O Canal and in Middleburg, VA. We'd camp out and play guitars around the campfire and sing. It was a lot of fun." Abbott said Lehigh Riding Club no longer has the overnight trail rides. The focus is mainly on their show series. "Everyone seems to be too busy to take the weekends off now, but we still have a lot of fun," she said. "The people are fun."
Over the years, Lehigh Riding Club had two moves. When the land next to the Lehigh Cement Plant was sold, the club purchased land in New Windsor. They quickly outgrew the New Windsor land and in 1968 purchased the property on Deep Run Road. Abbott said it is about 38 to 40 acres. They have a meeting building with a kitchen for food sales and two riding rings.
On Sunday, Lehigh Riding Club kicked off the season with its first show of 2005. Both show rings were in constant motion from morning to late afternoon. Usually the club has between 85 and 90 entries, but this week Abbott said 115 showed up. They had riders from Pennsylvania, Baltimore County and Howard County. Finksburg resident Jessica Ganske waited outside the ring on her horse, Celery. The 20-year-old rider said she has been coming to Lehigh Riding Club shows since she was 8 years old. "I love the club," she said. "We feel at home here. The people are very friendly and they have a lovely facility."
The club has a spring-summer series of five shows. Each ribbon awarded is assigned a point value. At the end of the year, the Gilbert G. Abbott Memorial Trophy is awarded to the horse and rider combination who accumulated the most points in Pleasure Horse, Schooling Hunter, and Open Horse Divisions. The highest point holder receives a personalized director's chair and the second highest receives a personalized saddle pad. The club's Rainbow Valley Ponies Challenge Trophy awards the same to the pony and rider combination who accumulate the most points in the Pleasure Pony, Low Pony Hunter, and Pony Hunter divisions.
Lehigh Riding Club has about 37 members. The focus is on affordable horsemanship with a family atmosphere. Abbott said they welcome anyone with an interest in horses and some time to volunteer.
Sunday, August 11, 2019 Judge: Marjorie Eldridge
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sunday, September 15, 2019 Judge: Laura Hennessey