Now 76 years strong, Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point kicks off steeplechase season in our area on April 1. Starting at 11:30 a.m. on the grounds of the 318-acre Myrick Conservation Center in Northbrook, the event benefits the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, the oldest small-watershed association in the United States.
To help introduce the experience to newbies, Brandywine Hills provides a hefty dose of other distractions, including stick-pony races, mural painting, a search for pennies in the hay, and a human steeplechase course with obstacles. Because the event falls on Easter this year, there will also be an egg hunt.
But the main event is the real draw for many spectators. “We get some quality horses,” says chairman Carl Meister.
The oldest race of its kind in the Delaware Valley, Brandywine Hills features top competitors who go on to compete in the Maryland Hunt Cup and other events. The first race—albeit unofficial—dates back to 1939, when a group of local foxhunters challenged one another to see who had the best horse. “It was one race, cross-country,” says Meister. “As it developed, we modernized like every other organization. But in the process, we kept the same types of groups of people as we brought in new ones.”
Admission is by the carload, and Meister expects this year’s attendance to be somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000. “It’s always been gratifying to see a group of people stick to something like this and put so much into it over the years,” Meister says.
1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester. Visit www.brandywineredclay.org.