Change is one of the inevitable constants of life. At the Battlefield Equestrian Society, there may be changes, but

commitment to the Park, and vision of the future are constants. The horse is another constant. We understand his importance

and respect his hard-earned place in this country's honor role. It is here at Manassas National Battlefield, from the back of a horse,

many Americans get a glimpse of the struggle that brought forth a new nation and, consequently, reminds us who we are as a

people and what has made us great. A constant during our accomplishments, struggles, pain, and finally, our reformation, was

our equine counterparts.


It is our pleasure to bring to you the history of BES. This is a report of a team of extraordinary individuals whose

dedication and commitment to improving the equestrian experience at the battlefield of Manassas is unparalleled.

By working as hard as possible we will create better, stronger and more exciting programs and experiences for both

members and visitors. We are ordinary Americans, and will continue to dedicate our money and volunteer hours seeking

an understanding of history that speaks to how ordinary Americans can shape the future.


BES Historical Summary

  • 1985: Paul Carter, president. BES initial organizational meetings.
  • 1986: Paul Carter, president. Brawner trail opens; 1400 boy scouts and 400 leaders report to Barbara Mauler for trail work; Rolland Swain is Superintendent; Karl Hansen and Barbara Mauler 'Special Achievement Awards'; first judged trail ride.
  • 1987: Kim Sanders, president. Dennis Ayres arrives as park ranger; 80 members of BES; connector to Bull Run Park developed; started periodic "work days".
  • 1988: Kim Sanders, president. 7 members with horses in Manassas Christmas Parade; involved with "Save the Battlefield Coalition" activities.
  • 1989: Kurt Stabenau, president. Started "Adapt a highway" program; park requests ideas 'what to do with the Hazel-Peterson tract'.
  • 1990: Cathie Eitelberg, president. Dan Quayle ride in the park causes stir; 2 day work session with 40 volunteers for Brawner loop trail.
  • 1991: Cathie Eitelberg, president. Civil War Round Table states that recreational horse back riding in battlefield is inappropriate; 240 members in BES.
  • 1992: Bonnie Cascio, president. Completed hanicapped trail and ramp; by-laws updated; Park stable construction approved; Park headquarters moved to old White Oak Nursery buildings; BES Chartered in Virginia.
  • 1993: Bonnie Cascio, president. Park Watch Program started; stable construction in park halted.
  • 1994: Jean Leavitt, president. Campaign to keep Horse Patrol in park. "Parks for All Americans" activities; Quilt Raffle.
  • 1995: Bonnie Cascio, president. Check for Bobcat delivered; 5,000 hours and $34,00 documented to date. Published "A Trail Ride Through History"; First Guided Historical Ride; Ken Apschrikat leaves as Superintendent.
  • 1996: Jean Leavitt, president. Adopt a Trail Program started; Friends of Manassas National Battlefield Park startup.
  • 1997: Sharon Duvall, president. Gar Gauthier assignment for trail supervision; $2500 donation for Park Horse Trailer.
  • 1998: Bernie Garrettson, president. $2500 donation for Visitor Center map.
  • 1999: Peggy Castrilli, president. First BES Brunch; $4000 donation for Gator.
  • 2000: Peggy Castrilli, president. First Historical Ride; Farewell for Karl Hansen and Barbara Mauler; BES website start up; Kenny Harlow Clinic and Brunch guest speaker; Cumulative donation to Park exceeds $57,600.
  • 2001: Peggy Castrilli, president. $4300 donation for second Gator; Newsletter reestablished.
  • 2002: Frank Boberek, president. BES Tack Sale; Reid Folsom guest speaker at BES Brunch; BES active in the establishment of Triple Crown competition.
  • 2003: Frank Boberek, president. Bridle trail map developed and distributed; Triple Crown becomes Crystal Crown; Silver Shovel Society initiated for key volunteers (Jurich, Ferguson, Taynton).
  • 2004: Joan Ferguson, president. Brian Slate assignment as trail supervisor; Over $20,000 in donated materials delivered to Park (gravel, fill, chips); $5000 donation for third Gator; Commenced periodic maintenance patrols to replace adopt-a-trail concept.
  • 2005: Joan Ferguson, president. Commenced major trail upgrade program on a quadrant by quadrant basis; Brawner temporarily closed due to NPS construction; working in SE quadrant.
  • 2006: Joan Ferguson, president. Donated 4th Gator and boxscraper; Working in NE quadrant.
  • 2007: Joan Ferguson, president. Finished work in NE quadrant and starting on Portici; Farewell for Bob Sutton; Initial planning for BES endowment fund; two weeks to recover from major windstorm; Park clear cutting project around Deep Cut.
  • 2008: Joan Ferguson, president. Finished Portici trail upgrades; Arrival of Ed Clark as new Superintendent; Donation of run-ins for Park horses; PATC working on hiking trails in Park; "Best of America by Horseback" film developed.
  • 2009: Dewey Brown, president.
Summary of Donations for 23 years:
  • Cash/Purchase donations = $139,000
  • Material donations = $77,000
  • Volunteer Hours = 40,000 hours
  • Just over $850,000 in cash, goods and services provided to Manassas National Battlefield Park to date.