The Tents are up in Bridgehampton for the Hampton Classic Horse Show extravaganza. The most beautiful trained and disciplined show horses are in many cases ridden by the most beautiful people. No doubt this is an event to take in to see the Hamptons horse people. Just think Michael Bloomberg, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Christie Brinkley, George Soros, Jerry Seinfeld, Sophia Vergara, Matt Lauer, Martha Stewart, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Madonna, Howard Stern and Beth Stern, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Sean Lennon, and Ronald Perlman among others always seem to be sipping cocktails under the shaded VIP tent.
When I see the many participants I always think back to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis whose spirit is somehow in every rider. Her parents John (Black Jack) Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee had been married July 7, 1928 at St. Philomena’s Catholic Church in East Hampton. The Bouvier family estate named Lasata, Native American for “place of peace,” was located at 121 Further Lane three blocks from the Maidstone Club and one block from the ocean. The estate was actually the property of Jackie’s grandfather John Vernou Bouvier II. Her love of horses chronicled her whole lifetime with her farm in Virginia with President Kennedy and her farm in New Jersey but it was as a child riding on the 12 acres of Lasata in East Hampton that she first rode.
Becoming an accomplished rider Jackie competed in Madison Square Garden at age 11, scoring a double victory representing East Hampton. It is believed she was riding Danceuse, her favorite horse. No other child won in two categories that year and it is a difficult thing to do even to this day. She also trained and rode occasionally at Martin Aylward’s stables on Henry Road off of Majors Path in Southampton. Mr. Aylward also owned a major stable on the west side of Central Park in New York City near where Tavern On the Green is now located. The huge structure that housed the horses is actually an ABC TV studio today. Many prominent New York City Social Register families used the Aylward stables both in Southampton and New York City. Mr. Aylward’s grandson a Southampton resident still remembers Triple Crown winner Man O’ War staying at the Southampton stable of his grandfather one summer. It seemed the famous horse got into the habit of nibbling the young boy on the shoulder. Jackie often competed and trained against the best from New York City at Aylward’s. While she was spending the winters in New York it is not certain if her family kept horses at Aylward’s stables in the city although it is probable according to certain sources.
Now young girls like Sasha Seinfeld follow Jessica Rae Springsteen and Georgina Bloomberg feeling the magic of show horses and the Hamptons.
Jackie Kennedy whose grace, elegance, and courage inspired a nation in one of its darkest hours is often remembered as a widow in a black dress watching the caisson carrying the casket of the assassinated president. But I also remember her as a young girl riding her pony near the ocean down off Further Lane smiling as both she and her pony enjoyed a nice cool summer ocean’s breeze.