The “History of Horses” camp debuted this summer as part of annual educational events. Participants learned about the various roles horses played in our history as well as the role of horses today. Several horses (including FRER rescue horses Cricket and Cookie) took part in the camp, which also included a play (a short re-enactment of Sybil Ludington’s night ride) which was presented to parents and other family members on the last day of camp.
Most of us have heard about the midnight ride of Paul Revere, but Sybil Ludington’s night ride was a part of history that many don’t know about.
A young American patriot, Sybil Ludington was just 16 years old when she made a night-time ride rallying Patriot soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Born in New York in 1761, Sybil was the oldest of twelve children. In addition to working as a farmer, her father was a gristmill owner who served in the military for over sixty years. He was loyal to the British crown until 1773 when he switched sides and joined the Patriots in the American Revolution. He was promoted to Colonel of his local regiment. His land was along a route between Connecticut and the coast of Long Island Sound that was vulnerable to British attack.
On April 26, 1777, Colonel Ludington received word from a rider that the nearby town of Danbury needed help as it was under attack by British troops. Unfortunately, Ludington’s regiment had disbanded for the planting season meaning his men were miles apart at their own farms. As the rider was too tired to continue and Colonel Ludington was preparing for battle, young Sybil rose to the occasion. She rode her horse Star through the night alerting the Colonel’s men of the danger and urging them to return to the fight. She rode all night through dark woods and in the rain, covering anywhere from 20 to 40 miles. By the time she returned home, hundreds of soldiers were gathering to fight the British. Ludington’s troops arrived too late to win the battle, though they did fight with departing British soldiers. It was a very dangerous ride for anyone to take, but especially so for a young woman.
The “History of Horses” camp also included learning some basic horse handling skills, grooming, and a scavenger hunt for “Revolutionary War” items.