Tryon horse history project announced

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 17, 2014


It’s been almost 100 years since Carter Brown arrived in Tryon in 1917 and began enticing fellow equestrians to join him. Brown put Tryon on the map as “horse country” and many of the organizations and events he created are still going strong, like the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, the  Tryon Hounds Hunt, Tryon Charity Horse Show,  Harmon Field Show Grounds and the Block House Steeplechase.

Imagine the photos and mementos collected from those events and others over the decades. Now imagine a box of things like that squirreled away in your attic, basement or closets!

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The Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TRHC) has begun a broad mission to locate as many photos, documents and objects of memorabilia as it can from Greater Tryon’s horse history, for the purpose of compiling and preserving a comprehensive record.

TRHC President Nancy Z. Wilson says the time is right to undertake this effort.

“We are approaching a century of horse sports in Tryon and at the same time welcoming a new world-class show venue in the Tryon International Equestrian Center. It’s the perfect time to memorialize the impact that horses have had and will continue to have on the culture, rural character and economic strength of our area,” Wilson said.

“This history project may be the most important thing we’ve ever undertaken. We are taking very seriously our role in compiling and being responsible stewards for this tremendous legacy,” Wilson added.

TRHC is fortunate that a highly qualified professional, Jo Ann Quatannens, a Landrum resident and longtime TRHC member, has volunteered as lead advisor for the project. Quatannens received a PhD in history from the University of South Carolina and has since concentrated on the area of “public history” in positions at the USC’s McKissic Museum, Historic Camden, S.C., a historical services consulting firm, and with several branches of the federal government including the U.S. Senate Historical Office.

The project may ultimately take the form of displays or be part of a Tryon museum, according to Wilson. “Our goal is to collect and protect as much material as possible so it can be viewed, enjoyed and used as a resource by the community. It’s our shared heritage – let’s commemorate it together.”

Any horses in your attic?

The first step of the horse history project is to identify resources, including individuals who can provide firsthand information or “oral histories,” as well as those who have or know of photos, documents, and other types of relevant historic artifacts. It may be that you have a family collection of historic horse memorabilia but no obvious place to hand it down. Or you may have a collection that you want to keep in your family but that you’d let TRHC scan or photograph to help create a full historical record. In either case, TRHC wants to hear from you. Please call 828-863-0480 or email

– submitted by Judy Heinrich