Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson open the gates of the historical Hermitage Farm this weekend for the second annual Hermitage Classic. Events are scheduled throughout the weekend for the entire family to enjoy. I caught up with Steve Wilson, who shares his insight on this not-to-be missed weekend!
Lori Kommor: The Hermitage Classic is set to kick off a three-day weekend, Sept. 21 through 23. How would you describe the events to someone who’s not familiar with this style of horse racing?
Steve Wilson: This United States Equestrian Federation-sanctioned Combined Driving event will showcase exciting competition. Combined driving is an equestrian sport involving carriage driving. In this discipline, the driver sits on a vehicle drawn by a single horse, a pair, or a team of four. The sport has three phases: dressage, cross-country marathon and obstacle cone driving, and (is) most similar to the mounted equestrian sport of eventing. (The) best way to describe the Hermitage Classic is it’s like the old Hardscuffle Steeplechase. Great food and drink in tents with friends and new acquaintances.
L.K.: Hermitage Farm has a reputation for producing some of the finest Thoroughbreds in the country. How does the Hermitage Classic complement its already rich history?
S.W.: Hermitage Farm is a legendary 700-acre Thoroughbred horse farm known for over 200 high stakes winners. In 2010, Laura Lee Brown and I purchased the farm and added to this heritage the Hermitage International Training Center, which focuses primarily on carriage driving.
The goal is to preserve the farm and make it more vibrant and diversified by developing activities that allow the public to experience the beauty and history. The Hermitage Classic is a great opportunity to do so, while also promoting such a unique equestrian sport.
L.K.: The proceeds from The Hermitage Classic benefit Oldham Ahead – can you tell us more about this organization and how it was chosen?
S.W.: Oldham Ahead is a not for profit community group that was formed to preserve the county’s quality of life through good planning. Oldham Ahead acts as an advocate on growth and development issues, spearheads preservation efforts and works to improve business, agriculture and recreational opportunities. Laura Lee and I are among the founders of Oldham Ahead (formed in 1999) and have taken demonstrative action to preserve Oldham County’s rich rural and equine heritage by promoting land conservation and smart growth.
L.K.: What can people expect to see during the Terrier and Dachshund race that is on your calendar of events?
S.W.: The Terrier and Dachshund races are fun races organized by the Bluegrass Working Terrier Association, which will take place on Saturday. There are a number of categories that small dogs of all breeds can participate in. You can view a list of these categories and rules online, (at) www.hermitageitc.com.