For five days each August, the picturesque Pittsford countryside comes alive with the elegance, spirit, horsepower, and sporting tradition of the 1890s in a Victorian country fair setting. Located 15 minutes from downtown Rochester, the renowned Walnut Hill Farm Carriage Driving Competition (397 West Bloomfield Road, Pittsford, NY) is the largest driving competition of its kind in the country. Walk through our gates and be transported to another time!
What will I see?
As a spectator, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close to the competition and view more than 200 competitors from throughout North America and Europe vie for top prizes in a wide variety of classes including traditional turnout, reinsmanship, cross-country, and obstacle driving. Over the five days, you’ll see antique vehicles—all appointed with highly polished brass and silver harnesses—from tiny pony carts and miniature horses to huge road coaches drawn by four horses. Watch the competition in the Walnut Hill Farm Oval and on the cross-country course.
What else is there to do?
It’s not just about watching the competition. Every year, we have special daily demonstrations and presentations, a variety of food and enticing boutiques, a fascinating carriage museum, beautiful gardens, plus children’s activities and plenty of photo opportunities to make sure you don’t forget your experience!
Friday night is our popular “Ascot Picnic Night.” Dress up in style or come as you are. Bring your own picnic, or purchase one of ours. Special classes always include the popular costume contest and carriage dogs. And Sunday is our breathtaking five-mile Presentation Pleasure Drive through Mendon Ponds Park.
Want to see what it’s like behind the scenes? Just walk across the street and visit the horses in their temporary stables, see them being bathed and groomed, and watch the carriages and harnesses being cleaned and polished. This is a great opportunity to meet the stars of the show up close!
If you’ve never been to Walnut Hill Farm before, no problem!
Here’s a quick rundown of competition classes and judging:
Turnout: the performance of the horses and ponies to show various gaits (slow trot, working trot and road gait), rein back and stand quietly, and suitability and quality of each turnout component (horse/pony, carriage, driver, and passenger).
Reinsmanship: the ability and skill of driver to drive a pre-determined test with specific gaits, as well as driving in the company of others in the ring.
Cross-Country: the ability of the driver to negotiate a course of obstacles simulating typical conditions along a road in the 1890s, while driving at a prescribed pace.
Obstacle: driving through a course in a prescribed time between traffic cone obstacles without knocking off the balanced balls.
Presentation Pleasure Drive: a five-mile drive through Mendon Ponds Park where each turnout is judged on quality and suitability of their presentation with emphasis on fitness, training, and the horses' manners.
Walnut Hill Farm is not complete without you. We hope you will join us as a spectator and bring family and friends for this unique event.
Adults and children 12 and over: $12
Children under 12: $6
Children under 5: free
Daily patron pass: $17 (allows Club Tent admission)
Tickets can be purchased at the gate the day of.