shoe or not to shoe
and Jerry Trapani have been part of the driving community for over 25 years. Rita is an artist and Jerry is a farrier,
sort of like that old Styx song,
“The Artist and the Blacksmith”. Together they own Shadbelly Farm in North Great River, NY, on Long
Island, and they have several
black Morgan horses which all ride and drive, from single through
Rita is a retired art teacher with a
Master of Fine Arts degree, and exhibits her work in several media. Her artwork ranges from creating customized
wicker umbrella baskets for carriages, portraiture, photography, logos, hand
painted clothing and furniture to designing watch faces. She won a first place in The Carriage Association of America
carriage showcase in the 1980’s for carriage restoration, a first place for
best original sleigh, and a silver certificate in the original carriage
division. She is a prolific writer of
articles and poetry, and edits two newsletters, one for the Paumanok Driving
Club of Long Island, and “The Insider”, the newsletter of the Long Island
Dreamboats New York Metro Region of the Cadillac LaSalle Club of America.
Jerry is a farrier recently retired
from the NYPD Mounted Unit and has a private practice. He was one of the
farriers for the 1993 World Pair Championships, and again was scheduled to be
a farrier for the ill-fated 2000 World Singles Championships at Gladstone, NJ. He has shod
national and regional champions in many disciplines, including “Sympatico”,
the 1973 world indoor high jump record holder. The shoeing of dressage horses is a specialty,
and Jerry has trained and shown two of his horses, “Busman’s Holiday” and
“St. Elmo’s Fire” to Third Level himself.
In 1983 he wrote, and Rita illustrated “Equine Hoof Care” (Arco), now
out of print, but still used as reference material in shoeing schools.
Rita and Jerry both grew up in New York City, but found outlets for their equine interests. Rita’s
mom, Mary, recalls her always painting or drawing horses, and asking for a
pony. Jerry learned his farrier skills from Stanley Hotzhauser, who was a
retired U.S. Army farrier and local stable owner in Queens, NY. In 1964, Jerry
went off to far-away Houston, Texas to continue his farriery studies. Jerry also took folks
on three-day horseback pack trips into the Adirondacks. He has also ridden in all the parks in New York City. Rita grew up not
far away, but they did not meet until 1974, when she purchased her first
horse from one of Jerry’s clients. It was a match made by the gods, and in
2007 they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Even their wedding had to be scheduled
between horse shows!
Rita and Jerry have both fox-hunted,
evented, driven, and competed in dressage successfully. They have been involved with many clubs and
organizations through the years, arranging for clinicians, doing
demonstrations and lecture programs, and judging dressage at local
shows. As BOCES advisors over 25
years, they helped shape the way for equine studies on Long Island.
They were founding members (1983) of the Paumanok Driving Club of Long
Island, and still serve on its Board of Directors. Jerry has been elected to the board of the
CAA and is Safety Committee chairman. They also serve as CAA Membership
representatives for their area, and many newcomers to the sport of driving
have benefited from their commitment and expertise.
The spectacular 4,500 acre Connetquot River State Park
Preserve located in Oakdale, Long
Island, is their favorite
driving venue. Formerly known as the Southside Sportsmen’s Club, its
well-groomed trails and excellent trout fishing provided recreation for
captains of industry such as the Vanderbilts and the Bayard Cuttings in the
past. With such a beautiful place to
ride and drive and the excitement of New York City at hand, Rita and Jerry truly enjoy the best of both
They also love to drive and collect
unusual Cadillac cars. The pride of their fleet is a 1987 Cadillac station
wagon; custom built for the owner of Delta Detroit Diesel in Memphis Tennessee. They found it in Hemmings motor news 1 month after
selling their 1979 station wagon. It was residing in Pennsylvania only a few miles from Martin’s Carriage auction; so they
went to the auction and drove the car home. They also own 2 Eldorado
convertibles, a 1984 Brougham D’elegance, 1976 Sedan de Ville, and their daily driver is a 1991 Brougham.
Active in the Long Island Dreamboats club , Rita edits the newsletter and Jerry
helps plan events.
out the club website www.lidreamboats.org
to see many beautiful Cadillacs and La Salles