For almost a century, the Barrington Hills area has had a rich equestrian history. More than seventy-five years ago, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills was formed as a volunteer organization of “neighbors riding to meet neighbors” who committed to ensuring Barrington Hills’ tradition as an equestrian community with preserved riding paths, facilities to care for horses, and open space. By doing this, the club which is older than the Village itself, protects the beauty and serenity of Barrington Hills.
The First President of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills was Alexander Reichmann, who moved to the Barrington Area in the early 1920s and settled on a 120-acre farm named Oakdene. While the farm is long gone, the home he built is still in use today on Oakdene Road. In Reichmann’s autobiography, he recalls the area, much as residents see it today.
“The open rolling country around Barrington was an invitation to the enjoyment of horseback riding, and a group of the earlier residents who were interested in that form of recreation organized the Riding Club of Barrington Hills and laid out a system of bridle paths that enabled one to enjoy the beauty of this countryside from the back of a horse.”
Over the last three quarters of a century, even as some of the historic gentlemen’s farms disappeared and large land parcels have been subdivided, the Riding Club has maintained nearly 70 miles of pristine trails which include both permissive and permanent deeded easements. In 1958, the Riding Club founded what has now become the Barrington Hills Park District’s Riding Center on 15 acres of land in Barrington Hills. A barn was built in 1964, horses were stabled and a lesson program for the public was provided. In 1972, RCBH donated the land to the Park District. The Club maintains the bridle paths adjacent to the Riding Center in the Cook County Forest Preserve’s Spring Creek site.
Additionally, because of our network of private trails the club is a core component and defender of Barrington Hills’ 5-acre minimum zoning. If the Riding Club was not continuously protecting Barrington Hills’ equestrian history, large developers would be much more likely to succeed in subdividing our village into another high-density suburb. This would go against the Village of Barrington Hills’ comprehensive plan and destroy our rich equestrian history.
The Riding Club is made up of members who ride and own horses and many who do not ride or own horses, but who appreciate the activities of the club and its efforts to protect the Village of Barrington Hills. The Club also offers great opportunities to make new friends through our social activities, family friendly events, conservation activities and the much-lauded annual LeCompte/Kalaway Landowners Cup, which includes a gourmet lunch for our landowners with polo and horse demonstrations. This day has become a celebration of Barrington Hills, its equestrian way of life and the open spaces residents all enjoy.
The Club is proud of its efforts over the last seventy-five years and looks forward to another seventy-five years of protecting the beauty and serenity that our equestrian traditions and 5-acre minimum zoning community provides.
Because of the dedicated efforts of the Riding Club, it is our hope that three quarters of a century from today, our children and grandchildren enjoy the same trail system that we do. This can only be possible if we continue our efforts to protect our unique equestrian community.