by CATHERINE ORTH, Special to The Recorder and Times
The unique world of St. Alban’s Stables, a Brockville treasure, is passing, and the extraordinary and unique woman who made it so marked a milestone on the weekend.
Eve Mainwaring, Brockville’s first lady of horses, celebrated her 95th birthday Saturday, when more than fifty guests swelled the Grindstone room at the Mill to pay her tribute.
Brockville’s First Lady of horses? “No, Canada’s Lady of Horses!” those who knew better exclaimed.
They came from near and far. They were notable; they were humble. They were well heeled; they were not so well heeled. But they all had one thing in common: Love, respect and admiration for their teacher; their coach; their friend.
Some were students from 50 years ago; some were present-day students. More than one guest had acquired their first horse through Eve. More than one guest was not only her student, but also their children were or are and even some, their grandchildren were or are, now her students.
Flowers, photos, gifts, gold helium balloons, floated above Eve that proclaimed “95.” Tabletops of finger food and the biggest most beautiful cake known to cake-make-dom, with six photos of Eve, magically reproduced on the icing, were all part of the outpouring.
Eve took it all in stride as, after all, what is a birthday when your mare’s in foal and a young one is expected in the spring?
Still residing in the once majestic St. Alban’s School mansion, Eve, too, is made of grander stuff. Born in Estonia in 1925, Eve’s family were Baltic Germans, landowners and judges of the lower civil court.
“I grew up in a time when there were no cars, no tractors, no trucks. People rode horses to get from one place to another. Everything was horse-drawn and if there was equipment it was powered by a steam engine and pulled by a horse,” she said.