After 46 years the internationally recognized annual annual five-day carriage driving event in August known as Walnut Hill Farm Driving Competition Pittsford, NY has announced 2017 was their last year.
In 1972, a small group of avid carriage driving enthusiasts led by Bill and Sue Remley met at Mendon Ponds Park with 14 vehicles for a fun and competitive pleasure drive. In the span of more than four decades, this event grew to become this pinnacle of Pleasure Driving shows in America.
Overseen by the Pittsford Carriage Association (PCA), Walnut Hill earned the distinction as the largest presentation pleasure driving event in the country.
Tricia Remley-White, PCA president, competition chairperson, and daughter of Sue and the late Bill Remley—along with the PCA’s board of directors—announced today that 2017 was the event’s concluding year.
“We could not be more proud to have had an amazing 46 years,” said Remley-White. “During that time, we were honored to host thousands of wonderful competitors who came to Walnut Hill Farm for the love and sport of carriage driving. Many of them came year after year, and grew to be our friends. But, almost a half-century is a long time for any annual event, and we wanted to conclude on a high note, which we now have done.”
“The success and longevity of our event could not have been possible without our patrons, sponsors, officials, volunteers, boutiques, vendors, and the many local families who have been a part of this show," added Remley-White. “We are so grateful for the support of each and every one of them. My special thanks goes to my family for their many years of contributions and support.The competitors who come to the show become friends year after year. It was like a big party that they brought their horses to.”
“I know my father would have been profoundly gratified by the success of Walnut Hill and the legacy created by his vision.”
Walnut Hill drew 250 competitors from around the country and nearly 20,000 spectators in 2010, the first event after Bill Remley’s death. But recent years saw those numbers dwindling. Remley-White said the number of competitors was dwindling. “The younger generation is not really getting involved. The older generation, of course, is passing on.”
With news spreading fast throughout the driving community, other venues such as Morven Park, in Virginia, are exploring options to maintain the classic concept of all the show represented.
Gloria Austin, President of the Equine Heritage Institute who showed at Walnut Hill many years with her Coaching carriages and horses expressed her gratitude and that of many others who have enjoyed the magical tradition. "Many, many thanks to all of you and to Bill for the privilege of participating in the "Greatest Show on Earth." There will never be another like it. All of you have influenced my life of driving horses and collecting carriage "