Participants sought for Liberty Ride in Orange, Va., September 22

Post date: Sep 10, 2012 4:10:57 PM

Montpelier and Orange County to Sponsor First Constitution Day "Liberty Ride"

Horse and Wagon Parade, Named for James Madison's Favorite Horse, Will TakeVisitors to the Constitution's 225th Birthday Celebration

Orange, VA – James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, not surprisingly, purportedly named his favorite horse Liberty. Madison regularly surveyed Montpelier on Liberty, who had "grown old in his service." In honor of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of theUnited States of America, James Madison's Montpelier and Orange County willsponsor the first Liberty Ride, an eleven-mile ride, which will take visitors on horseback or horse-drawn wagon to Montpelier's Constitution Day celebration on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Additional support for the event will be provided by the Virginia Horse Industry Board.

The Liberty Ride will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Oakland Heights Farm on Route 15 in Gordonsville, Virginia. Participants will meet at Oakland Heights at 7:00 a.m. The return trip will depart Montpelier at 1:00 p.m. Liberty Ride tickets are $40 per entry (one horse and one rider or one wagon and two handlers) and $30 per wagon rider. Proceeds will benefit Orange County Parks and Recreation and Montpelier. The ride will take approximately two hours each way. Each ticket includes participation in the trail ride, a picnic lunch on the lawn of the Montpelier mansion, and a $5 discount on a future Montpelier visit. Individuals without horses may register as wagon passengers on a first come, first served basis. These openings are subject to wagon availability.Come out and join us for a ride through scenic and historic Orange County. Advance registration is required and may be completed at

Constitution Day celebrates the day the founders signed the Constitution. Festivities will include fun for the whole family. Visitors of all ages will enjoy fireworks, tethered balloon rides, hayrides, food, music, discounted admission, and colonial games on the Madisons' lawn. James and Dolley Madison interpreters will join Miss Rodeo Virginia 2012, Lindsey Harper, in the lead wagon for the final part of the ride to their beloved home. For a complete schedule of activities, see

"[Madison's] … favorite horse 'Liberty' … well deserved his name; not a gate which he could not open—nor, any outrage which cattle could commit—was not … ascribed to 'Liberty' Mr. Madison, in his humorous way, often repeated these amusing and generally false tales of his disused horse, but never curtailed his freedom."

[Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts Memoir II, [1849-1856],

Cutts Family Collection of Papers of James and Dolley Madison,

Library of Congress, Washington, DC.]

James Madison's Montpelier

Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. Now that the home's architectural restoration is complete, visitors can see the progress of rediscovering James and Dolley Madison through the "Presidential Detective Story" with daily, guided tours. They can also stroll the garden and forest; and take in the galleries, hands-on activities, and many other attractions on the estate's 2,650 acres. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montpelier is located in the heart of Virginia's wine country on Route 20, four miles south of Orange, Va., and 25 miles north of Charlottesville, Va.

Montpelier is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site administered by The Montpelier Foundation. Montpelier's mission is to inspire continuing public engagement with American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison. To learn more, visit