I have always loved animals. As a child my dad owned a few race horses and a small 23-acre farm with a track to work them out. I was seven and it was a huge thrill to walk them after their workouts on the track. One of the main things I love about the Hamptons has to be the abundance and history of the many beautiful horse farms. Almost everyone has a favorite horse farm vista that they drive by. Occasionally we all have to stop to let some folks riding a horse cross the road. In August around the time just before “The Hamptons Classic,” you can see the riders training all over the east end.
I used to take my daughters on trail rides at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk. We all loved the ride to the beach usually after the heat of the summer season. Every time I drive by the ranch I think back to the 1990’s, to the magical time with them on the horses riding the trails. There is just so much horse history on the east end. Such as Theodore Roosevelt training his Rough Riders in Montauk.
Another piece of that history is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She was born July 28, 1929. She was the daughter of John (Black Jack) Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee, who married a year earlier on July 7,1928 at St. Philomena’s Catholic Church in East Hampton. They lived at 121 Further Lane, one block off the ocean and three blocks from the Maidstone Club. They called the Bouvier family estate “Lasata,” Native American for “place of peace.” Technically the estate was actually the property of Jackie’s grandfather John Vernou Bouvier II.
Not many folks actually know that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s mother’s family had their estate on Lily Pond Road. It had twelve-acres where she played in the summer before becoming a teen. Jackie’s first pet was a Scottish terrier named Hoochie. Eventually in those years, the Bouvier’s would have a white rabbit, a white bull terrier, a dachshund, and a Dalmatian.
At 11, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was an accomplished rider competing that year in Madison Square Garden. She scored a double victory representing East Hampton. Back then her favorite horse was named Danceuse. She won in two categories that year, and that is a difficult thing to do even to this day.
Research shows that she sometimes rode and trained 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 . What is an ABC TV studio today was the facility that housed the horses back then.
The tradition of prominent families having their children riding and showing their horses in the Hamptons is now prevalent and diverse. Madonna has a beautiful horse farm spread near Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. Of course, both Jessica Springsteen and Georgina Bloomberg, (the youngest daughter of Michael Bloomberg) have done well at “The Hamptons Classic,” over the years.
Which brings me back to the joy I get seeing the horses while driving down Scuttle Hole Road, or anywhere south of the Highway in Mecox, Sagaponack, Waincott, or Bridgehampton. For those who might like to have that “Mr. Ed” experience of having a horse in the yard of your home there are rules.
In East Hampton, Horses are considered a Class 3 animal as defined by the East Hampton Zoning Regulations. Therefore, for animals this size, your property needs to be at least ¾ of an acre above the minimum lot size for your zone for the first horse, and an additional ½ acre for each animal beyond that.
It is reported that there are 60 million horses in the world. The US has the most horses with 10,260,000 million horses with 30,000 of them on Long Island. In the U.S. there are 300,000 classified as wild horses. Australia is the leading country with wild horses with the number put around 400,000.