Thursday, April 04, 2013

Sanford Stud Farm

This short road trip was inspired by my latest project - creating eight historical renderings of Saratoga Race Course for the upcoming 150th Year Anniversary.

I heard that a few barns of the original Sanford Stud Farm remained intact. Formally Hurricana Farm, the impressive facility was established by Stephen Sanford in the 1870's. Located on the Perth/Amsterdam border here in New York, I can't believe that I've driven Route 30 right past the huge mare barn without noticing it. Sadly, it's now surrounded by encroaching strip malls and parking lots.

The result of his physician's urging to buy a peaceful place in the country with a couple of horses, Sanford built a farm of over eleven hundred acres with an impressive roster of thoroughbred champions. That would include the 1916 Kentucky Derby winner George Smith and the first American winner of the Grand National Steeplechase, Sergeant Murphy. I guess some people are not wired to do things in a small way.

This was the mare barn, looking more like a factory, as viewed from the parking lot of a store I can't remember.

The old feed bins are visible through a window.
This lone barn sits behind the mare barn, possibly once housing a stallion. Notice the Walgreens in the background. Constant traffic travels an access road.

I'm walking down a row of mare and foal barns that have remarkably weathered the years. Even the paddock fencing still stands. This is on the other side of the access road. 
If you look further back behind the row of mare and foal barns, neglected remains of other buildings are visible in the distance. We could feel the ghosts of so many horses, hear their calling and footfalls as they're led to and from the barns. Can you imagine the tales and secrets contained within these sturdy walls that stubbornly hold fast against the ensuing years? It eerie and bittersweet but it's hallowed ground to me. I'm grateful to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm who work to preserve what's left of this very historical farm.

It's been said that the horses were walked to the Saratoga Race Course. That would be almost thirty miles!

A little history for my horse peeps,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Evocative words & photos! Thank you! :)