It was a fair day some twenty years ago. Jude and I were seated outside on the veranda enjoying the surrounds when two gentlemen on horseback ventured up the driveway.
There was nothing different about that circumstance. In the course of a day, it is not unusual to see more passers-by on horseback than in a car. But who were these fellows ? From the distance, at least, we had no idea.
They obviously they we’re practiced riders . Getting closer and upon greeting us, they immediately seemed affable. It was evident that they were wanting to say their ‘Hellos’.
Here in bedrock Hunterdon County, Sal and Tommy Aversa were betrayed by their Staten Island accents, but a single attendant fact tempered that condition: they were on horseback, one great leveling circumstance !
Welcome to the neighborhood ! In fact, they had both recently purchased homes a few miles from our farm. From the get-go we got along fabulously.
From within this context, the Aversa’s eventually suggested to us that we commence a township association of neighbors with a mutual interest: HORSES.
Thus was born the Alexandria Equestrian Association (AEA). We got off the ground with the expected fits and starts that a new organization will endure. Purpose and folk’s expectations were the initial order of the day. Over time, things ironed out.
Last night at our annual “Trail Owner’s Tribute” bash we celebrated 20 years of having fun, with ourselves and with our horses. The event was held at the Quakertown Recreation Club. (Some of us politically incorrect old-timers still call the place The Gun Club .) By the way, it was a hunting lodge long before I was around.
The intent of the bash is to say ‘thank you’ to the landowners who allow us to ride the edges of their real estate. After all, to what avail a trail association without trails ?!
Fate treated the AEA ever-so kindly. It happened that our township was looking to create a community park. An old horse farm was purchased for re-invention into that end. A splendid adjunct to the endeavor was the existence of a 75×200 feet indoor riding arena.
“Yeah”, said the AEA, “we’ll be the stewards of that building !”
For 20 years it has been a sound marriage.
Maintenance is the abiding matter with any such facility, not the least of which is the current need of a new roof. Let’s see. 75 feet by 200 feet. Ca-Ching. Ca-Ching !
After several years of holding varied equine fund-raising events, AEA announced last night their contribution of $50,000 toward the new roof. Not bad for a pack of old gauchos !