65th Stoneybrook Steeplechase
04/11/2016 11:31AM ● Published by Jennifer Gonzalez
Gallery: Photos by Matthew Wonderly [50 Images] Click any image to expand.
HistoryStoneybrook’s rich history can be traced back to the dream of an Irishman, Michael “Mickey” G. Walsh. After immigrating to the United States in 1925 at the age of 18, Walsh began competing in the English equestrian events of “hunting” and “jumping” and by the 1930’s was winning top honors as both a rider and trainer. He relocated to Southern Pines, NC in1939 where he earned another outstanding equestrian reputation as a trainer of steeplechase and timber horses.
Stoneybrook was born in the late 1940’s when Walsh bought his own riding and training stable. He created the first Stoneybrook racetrack where the annual event of the Stoneybrook Steeplechase was first enjoyed.
Following Walsh’s death in 1993, the prized Stoneybrook land was sold for equine land development, and the racetrack closed in 1996. However, Mickey’s dream lived on through a group of local horse enthusiasts who formed a nonprofit charitable foundation, giving rise to the Carolina Horse Park. The Foundation’s original purpose continues today: To promote land preservation for horses and to promote equestrian education, training and competition.
The Stoneybrook Steeplechase was revived in 2001 with the 50th running of the race. 2016 will mark the 65th running of the Sandhills most beloved spring social event, The Stoneybrook Steeplechase. The Carolina Horse Park has become the new permanent home of the race as well as the site for other nationally recognized equestrian competitions throughout the year. Each year nearly 10,000 people come to the Stoneybrook Steeplechase to watch nationally acclaimed horses, jockeys and trainers vie for over $80,000 in purse money.
The Carolina Horse Park ensures that Mickey Walsh's dream lives on at Stoneybrook.