The Chemung County Fair starts this week. I can’t hear of a county fair without remembering the fair horse shows I rode in when I was a kid. And when I was too young to show, I went with my family to watch my sister, Nan, ride in the fair shows.
The location was Morris, NY, home of the Otsego County Fair, and it caused such a hullabaloo – all the training, the braiding, the leg wraps, the loading, and my poor Mom driving the little bumper pull trailer behind our big old Ford station wagon. My mother was scared to death, driving that trailer, and we all knew it and were solemnly respectful of her white knuckles as we traversed the steep hills in Upstate New York. She could back it up to the left but not the right, so heaven help us if we got stuck somewhere where we had to back right.
|My blue ribbon class at the Otsego County Fair, circa 1975 (?). Five points to anyone who spots the big fault in this picture. (Don't give it away, Nan!) The horse is the immortal CG (Country Gentleman).|
My biggest claim to fame was earning reserve champion in hunters one year, second only to Josephine Cantro. I took seconds to her firsts all day, except in the “equitation over fences” class. Before I went in for my round, her father actually came up to me and told me not to beat his little girl, she really wanted to win. Sorry, Josephine, and Josephine’s dad, I won that class.
I did ride in the Chemung County Fair a few years ago on Hudson. She was newly under saddle, and we did a couple of intro dressage and walk-trot classes. It was almost as exciting as it was when I was a kid, and I’ll do it again in the future, I’m sure.
I hope county fairs will always be part of our summers.