On our virtual tram tour of The Meadow, you’ve seen The Cove where the broodmares and foals grazed, and the Stallion Barns. Now we’ll take a look at the Yearling Barn, where both Secretariat and Riva Ridge stayed as colts.
The Yearling Barn originally built by Chris Chenery still stands, and like the Stallion Barns, has been carefully restored by the SFVA, which owns The Meadow. It is believed that Mr. Chenery built the barns to closely resemble those at nearby Bullfield Farm in Hanover County, the celebrated racing farm of the Doswells. He had spent a lot of time there as a young, horse-crazy boy, exercising the few remaining racehorses owned by his cousin Bernard Doswell.
The biggest attraction at the Yearling Barn today is the stall where Riva stayed in 1970 and Secretariat in 1971. Their stall was the one assigned to the most promising colt. It was close to the storage and break room so there was a lot of traffic going back and forth. Its location allowed the Meadow grooms to keep a close eye on each special colt. The colt also became more acclimated to the bustle of a working barn, something that would be useful when he was later moved to Lucien Laurin’s stables.
As a yearling, Secretariat already stood out from the crowd. He was both striking in appearance and spirited in his behavior.
“He was frisky and already the boss of the herd,” according to Penny. Dr. Olive Britt, the Meadow veterinarian, said that Secretariat was “sharp to be around. Only the best grooms could handle him.”
The grooms surely knew that. One of them commented that to most effectively handle the sometimes mischievous red colt, “You had to cross your mind with his mind.”
When you visit The Meadow, you will get to hear some untold stories of Secretariat as a young horse, including one that involved him making an unplanned trip beyond the Yearling Barn.
The next tour for the general public will be Saturday September 10.
Visitors look inside Secretariat’s stall at the Yearling Barn.
The “Secretariat’s Meadow Tours” are sponsored by the SFVA. Private group tours are available for groups of 30 or more at $10 per person. Tours are also offered to the general public on certain dates. For more information about the tours, see www.secretariatsmeadow.com Tours are narrated by Leeanne Meadows Ladin, co-author of “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend.” Proceeds from the tours benefit the future Museum of the Virginia Horse to be built at The Meadow.
Leeanne Meadows Ladin