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Mar 6, 2012 11:31 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Under New Management: Deep Hollow Ranch In Montauk

Mar 6, 2012 2:20 PM

Patrick and Kate Keogh officially took over the horseback riding concession at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk on February 1. The couple—who met while working for Diane and Rusty Leaver at the ranch—had been informally running the business since Columbus Day, when the Leavers moved to Texas, leaving 51 horses, two ponies and two donkeys in their care.

The riding concession on the north side of Montauk Highway is owned by Suffolk County and includes scenic trails winding through Theodore Roosevelt County Park. The Leavers also had pastures, barns and a house on 22 acres on the south side of the highway, which they sold to Mickey Drexler, the CEO of J. Crew, at the end of 2010. Mr. Drexler also owns the former estate of Andy Warhol, called Eothan.

The Keoghs have bought the Leavers’ animals. “They’re tried and true and very well trained, they’ve been living there for most of their lives— that’s their job and they like it,” Ms. Keogh said. Six of the horses are over 30 years old and will be able to spend the rest of their days at the ranch.

Ms. Keogh worked for many years for Mr. Leaver and before that for Elbert Edwards, who owned what was then called Indian Field on the south side of the highway before selling it to Mr. Leaver.

Mr. Keogh came to Montauk, where he had family, from Colorado, where he bred cattle and was a bull rider— “third in the world,” his wife said—as well as a team roper. He worked for Mr. Leaver as a foreman for seven years.

They were married nearby at Third House, part of the county park that was used to accommodate guests at the cattle ranch and was run by Diane Leaver’s family, the Dickinsons, who also ran the ranch itself for generations.

Deep Hollow Ranch is to this day described as the oldest working cattle ranch in the United States, dating to the 1600s, when East Hampton’s settlers grazed their livestock in Montauk under the stewardship of people who lived at First, Second and Third House in Montauk. There are presently no cattle at Deep Hollow, however.

The Keoghs’ immediate plan is to continue to offer trail rides as well as lessons in English and Western riding, Ms. Keogh said. They plan to start up a pony camp this summer, too.

According to Emily Lauri, community relations director for the Suffolk County Parks Department, the remainder of Mr. Leaver’s contract, which the Keoghs took over, expires at the end of December. The county will put out a request for proposals with the goal of having the winning concessionaire prepared to take over by the end of the present lease, according to Ms. Lauri.

“A couple of people around the horsing community in Montauk” have expressed interest in taking over the trail rides, Mr. Lauri said, explaining that the county looks for the concessionaire who can provide the most for the public.

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This is one of the best things I have heard in a very long tome concerning the "news" of our towns! Congratulation to this wonderful young family and may you have many happy years "back on the ranch"!! Go Local!!
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Mar 7, 12 8:34 PM
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