IN MEMORIAM TO SONJA & BOB CAHILL

(the late) Sonja and Bob Cahill were founders and original hosts of Chocorua, NH "Look to the Mountain" camping venue for 18 years. They were also founders and original hosts of the Shelburne Farms Outing, the "Northeast Kingdom" camping venue, and a Greenfield, NH camping outing. Sonja also had served in every GSCA office, and was honored as a GSCA Lifetime member.

Cart horse driving, harness horse and carriageMiss Breezy takes Sonja
and Bob C. for a drive
   Sonja rides her mustang Shy BoySonja, Lifetime Member, on her mustang
Shy Boy, aka. Chance

 

Sonja Cahill passed away on June 20, 2021. She will always be remembered with love by so many GSCA folks and everyone else who knew her. Below are her own comments about herself and Bob:

"I have been a Granite State Carriage Association member for nearly 30 years. When I joined, I was a competitive long-distance trail rider and driver looking for some "pleasure" events when taking a break from competition. GSCA was introduced to me as a recreational driving and riding club whose motto is to “Drive and Ride Just for the Fun of it.” And fun it has been ever since. My husband Bob and I now drive and ride leisurely at the many wonderful outings offered throughout the year by GSCA.

"Since retiring from competition, we have been very involved with the organization which includes hosting many events ourselves especially the Chocorua, NH and Greenfield, NH  drives and rides. From 1996 to 2002, I was president of the club and now serve on the Board. We truly enjoy and are committed to this wonderful organization and have met many like-minded enthusiasts who take pleasure in the well organized GSCA outings in some of the most beautiful New England locations one might not have experienced otherwise."

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REMEMBERING SONJA CAHILL— HORSEWOMAN EXTRAORDINAIRE

Sonja Cahill, a beloved member of GSCA almost since its inception in 1978, left this world attended by her loving and devoted husband Bob and close family members. Sonja had been diagnosed in fall of 2020 with an acute form of myeloid leukemia.

Sonja was an extraordinary person and horsewoman, whom I loved sharing horse experiences with for many years. I want to relate some highlights of Sonja’s contributions to the Granite State Carriage Association. She was typically modest about her achievements but always offered a helping hand.

Sonja was honored as a Lifetime Member of GSCA years ago, having served on the Board of Directors in every official capacity since joining, for over 30 years. She was named as a GSCA Senior Advisor in 2014 (ongoing), maintaining active participation and encouraging newer members in many ways. She (and Bob) received GSCA’s year-end Participation Award seven times, more than any other recipient.

In 2000, Sonja and Bob founded the popular “Look to the Mountain” camping outing near Mt. Chocorua in Tamworth, NH, hosting Chocorua for 18 years. They also were the initiators and first hosts of the multi-day Shelburne Farms Drive/Ride in 1999. AND they started the Northeast Kingdom club camping outing which was held for many years in Danville, Vermont.

Being steeped in the club’s history, she submitted photos for, helped organize, and wrote the GSCA’s 30th Anniversary Album in 2008, and she also presented a slide show look-back for the 40th Anniversary Dinner Meeting.  In 2012 Sonja contributed hugely to getting GSCA’s website started.

Her involvement with horses was lifelong. In the “early years” Sonja did competitive endurance riding, and rescued at least two mustangs. Horses were her love and passion— she actively rode and drove up until this past year when she became too incapacitated, and then she would not schedule treatments for herself until she found caring situations for both her horses.

I’d guess that Sonja and Bob never missed a GSCA Annual Meeting/Dinner. As I know personally she assisted and offered guidance to Board officers and Directors whenever it was needed. She gave freely of her time, her vast knowledge and experience, her resources, and her good will to help GSCA grow through the years.

Sonja Cahill was admired and loved by too many to count. She is sorely missed by members of the club.

 

BOB CAHILL'S PASSING, October 13, 2022

Robert J. “Bob” Cahill was laid to his final rest beside his beloved wife Sonja on November 5, 2022 in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Tewksbury, MA. Bob outlived Sonja by over a year, succumbing on October 13 to Lymphoma and Parkinson’s Disease. His final wish to spend his last days in his and Sonja’s home was fulfilled, and he passed peacefully after a time of home and Hospice care.

The GSCA will remain ever grateful for Bob and Sonja’s dedicated involvement in the club activities and management, and for the Outings which they founded and hosted. Thanks to Bob’s friendly, outgoing and often joking manner and Sonja’s diligence, the Look to the Mountains (Chocorua NH), Northeast Kingdom (Danbury VT), Shelburne Farms (Shelburne VT), and a Greenfield NH Outing were started and most have continued for years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        by Connie Moses

 

Jean Harvey, past President-- 2016-2022, acting Director 2022

Jean Harvey currently lives on and operates a horse farm in Enfield, NH. Horses have been a large part of her life since her early teens. Now as a young senior, carriage driving is her passion both for pleasure and competing.

Jean has been an active member of GMHA, CAA, ADS, GSCA, and PATH Intl. As an instructor, she enjoys teaching and promoting the sport of carriage driving. Most recently she has become involved in harness racing!

BioJLHarveyMug1Jean Harvey

Jean Harvey's driving pony Pixie, pony cartJean Harvey and her driving pony Pixie

 

Linda and Eric Wilking cohosted Auburn, NH/ Manchester Waterworks Outing 2008-2018.
Eric Wilking served as Treasurer 2013-2018, Vice-President 2018-2020, and was a Director in 2021. In 2022 he was appointed Senior Advisor.

      Host Linda W.  Linda W.   Host Eric W.  Eric W.

Linda driving through an ADT hazard
 
with fearless navigator Eric.

Linda driving an Arena driving trial hazard

Linda has always been a horse lover. As a kid she was the typical barn rat doing anything to be able to ride. It was not until Linda was 42 years old that we were able to buy our first horse. Nashin was a 15 yr old Arab gelding that took our son Christopher to 4-H highest award, best in the state, and to the BIG E three times.

We bought Clydascope "Clyde" for Linda, a Clyde/TB that rode and drove all over the place. Clyde was a wonderful horse that will never be replaced-- he passed away suddenly at the young age of 13 from colic, every horse person's worst fear.

We have since moved on with many other horses that we drove and rode but driving is our true passion. Spinnaker was our most recent driving mare, she is a Russian Warmblood/Appendix quarter horse. Spinny is a big-boned girl that gave us her all, whether we competed at CDEs or pleasure shows or just hacked on the trails.

We had a standardbred that we were fostering for the NHSPCA, she was a great addition to the barn. The poor thing came to us so thin and afraid of her own shadow! Amazing what a little bit of love and food does for her-- now she loves her retired life. 

 

   Neil Harvey, Treasurer 2019-2022

As a new member of the Granite State Carriage Association, I wanted to share a little bit about my equine journey.  Deb had a horse as a child. She always wanted to, again, own horses. When our last child went off to college, we bought an old farm in Deerfield. Our idea was that Deb would ride horses and I would restore the old barns. I knew nothing about horses, but gradually got interested. At the age of sixty, I brought home my first horse, a 2 year old quarter horse. We have been training and riding our horses for the last seven years, though Deb has always had an interest in driving.

We rode on our own, and with local friends and riding clubs. Then, a couple of years ago, we went on a couple of GSCA trips. We liked the people and destinations, so we joined GSCA as riders. Then, this past spring, a good friend lent us an older 36” mini that drove. He came with a couple of carts and two bags of harnesses. With help, I sorted through the driving gear and got him back into driving. Last summer, with help from the GSCA, we went out as drivers, and had a blast!

This past fall our little mini went back to his previous owner. So, I brought home a Newfoundland pony, which I am training to drive and skijor. Deb continues to drive her Morgan, and is also skijoring. We plan to continue our journey with horses as long as possible. We enjoy the GSCA tremendously, and hope that our participation (if, even in a small way) helps the group stay strong and grow into the future.

 

Mary-Jo Handley, former Director    Driving Pair of Belgian horses

I can’t remember not loving horses. And it was my father who nurtured that in me.
One of my earliest memories is riding home with him after taking our household trash to our town’s dump. It was a sticky summer morning when he pulled his International Scout up alongside a corral on the other side of the road and produced two large carrots from his pocket, enticing a couple of “brown” horses to the fence. Suddenly their soft muzzles were coming through the open window and my father was laughing softly. I was enrapt at four years old.


When I was seven, Dad arranged my first summer of riding lessons. Not having the room nor the funds for a horse, that was the beginning of a lesson per week, for which I absolutely lived, for the remainder of my childhood.

It was around the seventh or eighth grade during this formative period that my long-standing
riding instructor told me she had taught me all she could from her soft, pine tree-lined side yard ring. She recommended to me an instructor named Keith at a fru-fru hunter-jumper barn a few towns away. On the day of my first lesson at the new barn, the chalkboard at the end of the aisleannounced a draft cross who was to be my mount.

More Belgian than Quarter Horse in his conformation and temperament, I think “Jimmy” won me over before I ever got on his back. At 16.2 or so hands this stocky, lightly dappled, barely bay gelding was a sweet-hearted gentleman everywhere he was with me, be it the stall, aisle, indoor arena, outside jumping field, or cross-country course at that fru-fru barn. Keith told me I was the only one who could keep Jimmy cantering in a lesson on the flat, which astounded me because he seemed to be having as much fun as I was! And so it went that glorious summer and into the fall.

One weekday afternoon, having just arrived for my lesson, I was stunned to find that Jimmy’s owner had moved him to another barn. In that moment where my heart felt like it was at my knees, I vowed to someday have a sweet-hearted Belgian of my own.

 

Joanna Bligh, former Publicity Coordinator, 2019-2022 (Appointee)

BioPix1JoannaBligh               BioPix2JoannaBligh

 

Joanna has been a GSCA member since 2017. In her career, she worked in pharmaceutical advertising as an editor and currently works at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth as a classroom scribe during the school year. Additionally, Joanna does freelance medical editing from her Piermont, NH, home.Regarding her background with horses, Joanna participated during her college years in the equestrian programs at the University of New Hampshire. Afterwards, she spent 40 years riding Thoroughbreds, mainly as trail horses and in competitive riding events. In 2007, she bought a young Morgan mare and started her in carriage driving. Since then, with her mare, Joanna has attended competitive driving events (25 miles in 4.25 hours) and carriage combined test events (dressage tests and cones courses). Joanna noted about her Morgan, “I have to say, I have never had such a wonderful horse as my Morgan mare. She’s easy to train, easy to care for, and always ready to do anything I ask of her. A perfect pairing for my retirement years!”

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Terry Penny, former Director

TerryPenny

My husband, Stanley, and I located to Kingston NH, after he left the Navy.  Stanley kept bringing home all types of animals, geese, ducks, chickens, pigs and one day, A HORSE  She was a beautiful golden palomino Quarter Horse from the west.  He then found a 2 year old Quarter Horse/Morgan gelding, which we trained to ride (and without getting killed or maimed).  

We outgrew our home there and moved to Deerfield, NH; we were like grandy youkan's as we moved all the animals in trailers, on top of trucks, etc.  We raised our two children on a homestead there, with the two horses and a Shetland named Black Beauty. She taught our son everything about STAYING on a horse.  Stanley had a collar for her and rigged up a sled out of old skis and panels and she hauled logs and firewood out of the woods for him. She also hauled all the water to the barn for the rest of the animals (We had a small piggery and I won't mention how many other varieties of animals we had).

As our children's lives changed, unfortunately, we had to sell the homestead. We became volunteers at Live and Let Live Farm for many years. Stanley adopted our Morab Mare, Liver Chestnut with a white Blaze (when I was gone of course), named Aurora.  We were too old, and still are, but she is our love.  We have a foster, Seal Bay Quarter Horse that we have spent time, talent and treasure on for coming up for three years and have watched him get well, get healthy, and  Stanley rides him.

 

Denise Reed Gagnon served as Director and Hosted the Snow Games Outing

Hello my name is Denise Reed Gagnon. I live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire  in Sanbornton NH. I'm married to a wonderful man his name is Greg and I have a grown daughter her name is Cynthia.

 
I was 7 when I got my first pinto pony "French Fry". I've owned horses ever since then. I grew up riding and while living at a foster home discovered driving horses. I fell in love with driving horses for a few years until I went to farrier college after high school.
 
After owning and showing American Paint Horses for over 20 years I rekindled my passion for driving horses again and have fallen in love with combined driving events. I'm excited to see where my journey will take me in 2019 and beyond.

 

 

Corin, trail rider member of Granite State Carriage ClubCorin and Remy
in Vermont
 

Corin Brennan, Media/Facebook Tech Advisor & Website Admin 2012-2020

The first event I attended as a Granite State Carriage member was the 2012 “Look to the Mountain Outing” in Chocorua NH, and I knew that I had found a group that I would love being a part of. I have had horses throughout my entire life; I spent more of my childhood on horseback than I did on my own feet. Growing up on a horse farm in southern NH, I competed in a variety of riding disciplines (English, Western, Eventing, Dressage.) Trail riding has always been what I enjoy most.  

 

Renee Wormell, Past Secretary    

Trail rider Renee Wormell, Secretary Granite State CarriageRenee riding her horse Rafl     

I am a NH native, attended Dover schools and graduated from UNH.  I retired in 2012 from a rewarding career as a paralegal, the last 22 years with the legal department of a local bank.  I am a life-long horse-lover, and these days particularly enjoy communing with nature on a woodsy trail, by a babbling brook.  However, I also school low level dressage and am a carriage driver "wanna-be". 

Bill and I raised two daughters, and several Arabian foals, in Northwood, NH over the past 40+ years.  We all competed in long-distance, competitive trail riding and local pleasure shows.  Bill and I also have a small farm in the foothills of western SC where we spend winters with our two border collies and two horses - my third generation, 18 year old Arabian, and Bill's 16 year old Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. Our favorite place to ride is Acadia!  In addition to the joys of riding, I am having great fun training and competing in rally obedience and agility with my young, happy-go-lucky dog, Camdyn.

 

Cresca Albright, past President, Host of Hancock NH outing and BBQs

BioPixCrescaCresca and Sweet Pea Cresca has served the club for many years, including being past President. She has managed the Hancock outing for several years, where participants enjoy a lovely fall setting for camping, and rural dirt roads and railroad bed trails. Hancock features a notable "road cut" originally hand-dug for the train to pass to Sunapee Lake; now our drivers and riders get to pass through on the reclaimed railroad bed.  

 

 

 

 

 

David Herrick served as Director for 6 years

Dave Herrick, DirectorDave   Carriage pair Arena driving, Dave HerrickDave competing his Morgan pair

Dave and his wife Liz enjoy recreational driving with Rhythm and Concert, their Morgan pair, put to an Eagle Carriage. They first joined GSCA in 1990. Dave is also a board member of the New England Region of the Carriage Association of America, the CAA's oldest region.

 

Connie and Rick Moses, founders and first Hosts of Andover, NH/Potter Place Rail Trail Outing. Connie also served as Pres. and VP, designed and helped start GSCA's website in 2012, also GSCA's Facebook Group. Currently she serves as Director.

Connie has been a Granite State Carriage Association member since 1998 and a trail rider since 1992. Connie went from being horse show mom and trail rider to carriage driver. Having bred and trained two carriage horses, she and her hubby Rick drove their pair, sometimes in a tandem hitch, at many GSCA outings.

Connie served as GSCA President 2010-2014, helping since then with the club's printed communications, the GSCA Facebook group, and this website. Her background is in graphic arts and she enjoys photography and playing pickleball. Her other furry friends have included several cats over the years and a wonderful English Setter named Peaches.

Connie driving Gilford and Glendale in Acadia National Park, ME

 

Connie driving home-bred and raised
Gilford and Glendale
in Acadia National Park, ME

 

 

 

Deb and Jim Hunt hosted the Northeast Kingdom Outing

in Danville, VT for many years

Deb on Kyrelle-smallDeb on KyrelleSaSadS Sadly due to fire at owner's home, the NEK outing was canceled in 2015. We still hope a new venue may turn up in the area someday.

Deb & Jim Hunt moved to Danville VT from Newburyport MA in 2004. They were then new members of the Granite State Carriage Association and were amazed to learn that GSCA had held a drive the previous summer in Danville. The Northeast Kingdom drive was new event on the club calendar and the Hunts helped out for several years as understudies for the original hosts, Bob and Sonja Cahill.

Deb's feisty Morgan gelding made the move up from Massachusetts and soon the new Danville home had a 4-stall barn and some pretty nice grass paddocks out back. Jim started riding around then and before long all the stalls were filled. A big Belgian cross driving horse came with an extra-large road cart. A couple of corgis moved in and a Jack Russell terrier too.

The Hunts were looking for rural and a 'real' Vermont community (with a school and a library and a town green, not too many second homes and transplants like themselves). Danville really fit the bill and turned out to be a wonderful horse community as well. The network of quiet town roads, woods, logging and snowmobile trails is great for trail riders and driving horses and the area is very beautiful.