Horses walk, trot, and canter through Washburn Park

Jul 4, 2019

MARION — At the Fourth of July Marion Horse Show riders in the trail classes were asked to maneuver their horses over bridges and around cones. But one “obstacle” was less a physical one and more about the feat of keeping their horses still while the still-seated riders reached for and put on put on a rain coat. 

Equestrians and their horses gathered at Washburn Memorial Park for these and other challenges as part of the 72nd Horse Show. The event was free to the public and featured horse showings in 75 competition classes, pony rides for children, as well as food and vendors.

Corinne Gary, of Whitman, and her Horse Cameo won class 33, a walk and trot pleasure class for inexperienced, or “green” horses.

Gary said that Cameo had been skittish before competing in the event, fearful of loud noises, people, and even trees. Gary said that Cameo’s anxiety was the biggest challenge in preparing for the horse show, and that she tried to calm the horse’s nerves by making the training and competition experience fun for her as well. After winning their class, she said that taking their time led the duo to victory.

Samantha Tavares and her horse Kinley competed in the junior walk, trot, and canter class for riders aged 11 to 17. She said that the raincoat obstacle was the most difficult because she had to put it on while still balancing on her horse.

$5 pony rides for children were provided by Equines for Events, based in Rochester.Three animals were available for riding, and an additional two were there for showing. The largest horse for riding was not actually a pony, but a 17-year-old quarter horse named Digger. Digger normally works as a vaulting horse for beginners. Vaulting is often described as gymnastics performed while horse-back riding. Ponies Roo and Wonder were also available for rides.

Vendors included Mills River Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for horses, donkeys, and ponies, and Wicked Sudz, a family business that sells handmade soaps. Food was provided by R.W. Catering.

This year’s event was dedicated to Tina Florindo, a lifelong horse show spectator who passed away this year.