Spectators, horses trot to Washburn Park for 77th horse show

Jul 9, 2024

MARION — Washburn Park resembled a ranch Sunday, July 7 as dozens of horses were on hand for the 77th annual Marion Horse Show.

The show, a daylong affair, featured over 50 different competitions in which horses are judged on a variety of factors including their ability to properly walk, trot and follow instructions.

“A lot of them are being judged on performance and conformation,” said Jeff DeMoura, president of the Marion Horse Show. Conformation refers to the shape and structure of the horse. “Every [competition] has a criteria. All the way down to if the horses are outfitted properly.”

Spectators set up lawn chairs along the fence of Arne Arena at Washburn Park to watch the horses and their riders lap around the field trying to prove to judges that they were worthy of a ribbon.

“There are people that could have went to other shows today, and they chose to come here,” said DeMoura. “And it's because we are lucky enough to have a beautiful show park.

Michelle Cravenho has been training horses for over 20 years. Cravenho, her horses and her clients attend 20 to 25 horse shows every year.

“There's a lot of chaos in the morning,” said Cravenho. “We are up around 3 or 4 [a.m.]. Everyone pitches in and sets up. It’s pretty much nonstop, but the horses come first.”

Cravenho said she appreciates the community and family feel of the Marion Horse Show, compared to other shows she attends,

“It’s like an exhibition,” said Cravenho. “It’s nice for the people to come and see for the first time.”

The show also featured some alternative competitions like a costume contest where horses and riders were dressed in patriotic gear as well as a game of “Simon Says” on horseback.

The Marion Horse Show is one of Massachusetts’ longest running single-day shows, according to the website of the show.

“People came out — they are having fun,” said DeMoura. “This is perfect,” We always like to tell the people that live in town that we thank them for having us here.”