Thursday, July 2, 2009

The United States Equestrian Team

The USET is headquartered in Gladstone, NJ, in the stables of what was once the estate of Diamond Jim Brady. The 3-storied stables are huge, built in a U shape around a courtyard. They are more elegant than any mansion, with a red tiled roof and brass bars for the stalls. In the center there is a glass ceiling to the third floor study, where Diamond Jim could view his horses led there by his grooms, to choose which he would ride. When my kids were growing up, we went to countless competitions there - some to watch, some to participate - and also every summer were exceedingly fortunate to use their Olympic-level facilities for Pony Club camp. Oh, the hours I've spent roaming those rolling fields and woods!

Since then, most of it has turned into a golf club. Very sad, that. Anyway, I like to think that if anyone ever asked me to prove that all the trees are dying (which nobody ever has) I would tell them that they could choose any spot anywhere from Virginia to Rhode Island, any place that has trees, and within one half hour I would be able to show them enough specimens that exhibit clear symptoms of terminal decline that they would be convinced.

The USET is a case in point. By random chance I had occasion to stop by there yesterday, and along the drive on the property it was impossible to find a single tree that DIDN'T show fatal symptoms. It was shocking, really, because it's such an old estate that there are many trees surrounded by lawns that it's easier to see what tragic shape they are in, compared to when they grouped together as in the woods. My camera battery quit when I was about half way down the driveway, so these pictures aren't even from the entire length of it.

Here's an interesting read:

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