Ginger LaPlante has planted roots, not to mention hooves, in Canterbury

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’€™s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko walks with his mother, Virginia LaPlante outside his mother’€™s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Virginia LaPlante outside the former horse ring used for competions at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Virginia LaPlante outside the former horse ring used for competions at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko looks over one of the horse carriages in his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko looks over one of the horse carriages in his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko looks over what once was the judge’s booth for horse competitions in his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko looks over what once was the judge’s booth for horse competitions in his mother’s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko walks along what once was the judge’s booth for horse competitions in his mother’€™s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko walks along what once was the judge’s booth for horse competitions in his mother’€™s barn at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother, Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Roy Plisko walks near the horse ring at Virginia LaPlante’€™s farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Roy Plisko walks near the horse ring at Virginia LaPlante’€™s farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named his mother New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Virginia LaPlante sits in her living room at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Virginia LaPlante sits in her living room at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’€™s Board of Directors named Virginia LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Virginia LaPlante outside the former horse ring used for competitions at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’s Board of Directors named LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year.

Virginia LaPlante outside the former horse ring used for competitions at her farm in Canterbury on Wednesday, March 27, 2024. New Hampshire Horse Council’s Board of Directors named LaPlante, New Hampshire's 2024 Horse Person of the Year. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By RAY DUCKLER

Monitor staff

Published: 04-02-2024 2:14 PM

The Canterbrook Farm in Canterbury is quiet these days, but years ago it was a haven for all things equestrian in New Hampshire.

Virginia LaPlante, 88, and her late husband, Mike Plisko, moved to the 200-year-old farm in 1969, and over the years, it became a venue for riding shows and racing, drawing spectators, and creating buzz. This decades-long devotion made LaPlante the choice for the 2024 Horse Person of the Year award.

Bestowed annually since 1998 by the New Hampshire Horse Council’s Board of Directors, the council typically selects someone who has “given unselfishly to make the state’s equine industry better. Recipients may be an amateur or a professional, but must be a leader, a teacher, or a role model for others,” according to its website.

When asked if she felt comfortable serving as one of the faces of a time-treasured activity here in the Granite State, LaPlante downplayed it.

“I suppose,” she replied. “But I was only really just having fun.”

While LaPlante herself said she’s not a competitive person, her love of horses and the equestrian sport led her to focus on organizing, promoting and just loving it. She turned what some saw as a competitive activity into a therapeutic ride, sometimes on an eight-mile loop over the tranquil trails of Canterbury, other times on drives pre-planned by anyone from her organization who chose to make the arrangements.

“I am a casual rider, a good, basic rider, and then I became good as a driver,” she said.

LaPlante bought her first horse for $155 using money she raised selling World War II war bonds. In addition, she worked for the historical societies in Concord and Manchester and threw herself into the world of equestrian, leading to learning how to drive, as well as organize. She drove in Maine and the Catskills in Upstate New York.

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Her carriage collection includes acquisitions from antique dealers to ones found in backyards, wherever she could find them. A crown jewel is a Brewster carriage, thought of as the Rolls Royce of carriages. She paid $4,000 to have it refurbished.

And, of course, LaPlamte remembered some of her favorite horses, like Sis, Blaze the Pony, Gemini and Dancer. Most recently, Mischief the Wonder Horse, Rocky the Wonder Pony and Cathy lived at the farm.

These days, the horses may be gone, but the farm remains as it has over the centuries with its reminders and memories of times long since passed.. The carriages remain at rest in one of the barns, the circular, grassy riding area sits adjacent, surrounded by a two-rail wooden fence.

It was after Cathy passed away that LaPlante hung up her reins for good. That doesn’t mean her love of the sport has dissipated.

“I miss it,” she said. “I miss my driving.”