Crowds, participants, officials, and horses gathered at Washburn Park in Marion on Independence Day for the 66th Marion Horse Show, which showcased several riders and horses from the area as well as from places like Cape Cod, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
This year, there were around 70 entries, who competed in several different events that display both the talent of the riders as well as the makeup of the horses themselves. Depending on the event, the duos are judged for everything from the riders handling of the horse to its posture, build, trot, etc.
One of the highlights of the show was its location. Originally held at Sippican School, it now takes place at Washburn Park, which is a perfect place for spectators to take in an afternoon of equitation. There are several stone walls that surround the horse ring, making it easy to view each of the participants, and there are also a number of trees surrounding it, which provided shade from the hot sun for the many onlookers in attendance.
“This is a jewel of a park,” said Dottie Nunes Spooner, who is on the Horse Show Committee. “No matter how hot it is, we always have a breeze. They did a good job of laying this out. The different grades makes it nice for spectators to come and watch.”
Spooner and her sister, Debbie Martin, explained that themselves and a variety of local women grew up at Washburn Park and with the horses, and though the show may not be what it once was, the Committee will continue to assemble and put on the shows.
“Marion has a history of horses,” Martin said. “Times have changed – the place used to be packed – but we’re happy to keep it going for another year.”
The two explained that preparation for the event started in January, and that it took the hard work of numerous volunteers to take place.
Laurie Buler, who is a horse trainer at Harmony Farms in Rochester, had 10 horses/riders in the event.
“It’s great,” Buler said. “It was a little hectic at first, but it’s been a great day.”
“It’s great, because everyone comes from the parade [in Marion] and they watch the different classes, and then they go to the beach after,” said Peter Johnson, whose daughter Sophie competed in the day’s events.
Kyah Woodland, 11, of Rochester, competed with her horse Digger. She said that she’s competed before, and that she has family ties to the event as well.
“My grandfather is the farrier,” she said, and explained that the farrier is responsible for equipping the horses with horseshoes.
Overall, the event seemed to be a success among competitors, officials, and spectators alike. Let’s hope that the event continues, and with it, the history of horses in the area continues to trot forward.
By Nick Walecka