Horsing Around on Acadia’s Carriage Trails: The Horses

The scent of balsam firs and  evergreen trees fill my senses, while the rhythm of clip-clopping of horse’s hooves on gravel carriage roads create a symphony in the forest. Taking a peaceful and romantic Carriage Ride through Acadia National Forest along roads carefully built and planned by John D. Rockerfeller, Jr.. The only son of John D. Rockerfeller, Sr., founder of Standard Oil Company, John Jr. loved nature and carriage-driving.

Over forty-five miles of meandering roads throughout Acadia’s forest were designed for the full enjoyment of the sights and sounds Mount Desert Island offers visitors. Easily accessible for hikers, bikers, horse back riders and carriage drivers, these pathways take you back to a time when time seemed endless and the glory of the roaring 20’s filled the air.

It is a given that I would find a horse-related activity while on holiday, and the Carriages of Acadia proved be be a marvelous way to have some horse time, while enjoying the nature of Acadia National Park. Arranging a private romantic carriage ride with my husband in the morning assured us a unique opportunity of viewing the park.

Arriving to Wildwood Stables, the Carriage Horse Farm and stables, resting horse teams greeted me in hopes of a carrot or a cookie.

After selecting our carriage, we waited patiently while Katie tacked up her horse team to ready for the adventure. Strolling around the office and main horse-team barn, my thrill of getting on the trail started to build.

My eyes then set on a gloriously matched team. Tacked up and being led out of the barn, this jet black and well built team impressed me with their elegance and grace. Mesmerized by these beautiful creatures, I was surprised to see our driver, Katie behind them leading them to our carriage to be tacked up. Now doubly thrilled, I couldn’t wait to get close and meet these wonderful creatures.

Katie had brought this wonderful carriage team from Vermont where she went to work sleigh rides over the winter. Bright and Belle, a mixed breed team are “Premarin Horse babies.” Born from a mother who was bred specifically to have her pregnant mare urine (PREMARIN) for hormone therapy for women. Yep, they collect pregnant horse’s pee for human use. But the by-product of this medical use are the babies born from those mothers. Produced in Canada, breeding lines are not a primary concern for these breeders and when born these babies are orphaned.

Placed up for auction and/or adoption, a Vermont couple bought this pair and brought them down from Canada to become carriage horses. Well purchased, I was impressed with the strength and intelligence these mares had along the long carriage trails.

We had chosen the two-hour “Mr. Rockerfeller’s Bridge Tour” which has us travel past several stone bridges built by Rockefeller and George Dorr, and through the gates at the Jordan Pond Gatehouse on the return to Wildwood Stables.

Stay tuned ! Come back tomorrow to continue my adventure on the Carriage Roads of Acadia and see the well-built bridges placed throughout the park.

27 replies »

  1. Not only wonderful pictures, but also a very interesting post about an area I’d really love to visit now: thanks for sharing!

  2. Very interesting post – perhaps especially for one with roots in farming culture as I have – my father, grandfather and 5 generations before them – they were all besides military officers cattle farmers too – they could plow with horses and other items with ease – the dark brown horses you have photographed, it’s just the kind of powerful built beautiful horses I think is most beautiful… 😉

    Lovely shots… 😉

    • Hi Drake !! I hadn’t realized your long family history was in farming. What an interesting story of success and hardships they must have. It is amazing how a horse can be so accommodating and a partner to humans. We have so much to be thankful for them. They are draft horses, so are usually a work-type field horse. Great seeing you!

  3. I have a PMU and he looks pretty much like those 2. He is such a love and he needs to have a carriage.
    Acadia is my old stomping grounds as I lived and worked on the island for many years. Great post!

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