Monday, June 20, 2011

Change of Scenery - the historic Cornish Trotting Park

There is a great little facility in my town called the Cornish Trotting Park (or Cornish Fairgrounds).  We have a larger fairgrounds in the next town (Hiram) called the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds.  I have talked about the Trotting Park before here and here...complete with photos in case you want to see what it looks like.  Basically it is a pretty decent half mile track with a huge grass infield and a 120x210' sand riding ring.  There is a very cool restored grandstand and judges' stand.  There is even an underground tunnel, most likely one of the first of its kind, to bring people from the outside fence into the infield.

I love history.....so here is a little information I found:

In 1876 the first fair association was formed in Cornish (Maine) to promote and display goods in the area. One of the most influential founders was B. Franklin Pease, the great grandfather of Royden and Rebecca Pease and Helen Bradeen. He also founded the Cornish Grange the year before.  Little is recorded of the early years of the Ossipee Valley Union Agriculture Association, but by the turn of the century there was a complete rebuilding of the fairgrounds and racetrack to allow for growing expansion.

By the end of the Second World War, most of the active members of the association had passed away and due to lack of support, the end of the Cornish Fair was looming.  Dr. Anthony DiBiaso bought the fairgrounds in 1958 and gave the deed to his wife. Since 1952, the fairgrounds activity was limited to the training of race horses.

In 1994, the town of Cornish purchased the fairgrounds. Today the grounds are used for numerous public events and the training of harness horses, which is one of the oldest traditions and businesses in Cornish.


I have always loved riding there for the Cornish Horseman's Day to marshal the races, but I have never been there otherwise.  This year I decided to pay the membership fee to ride there anytime.  It is great, because I can work in the ring or use the track for trot/canter sets.  The only downside is that I have to trailer there, which is a bit more work than riding in my backyard, but it is seriously less than 3 miles from my house so I cannot complain that much.  LOL!

My friend Tania and I have been there a bunch of times already this year. I have brought Dreamy, who is completely unfazed about the entire experience, as she has been there numerous times.  Well, the other weekend I brought Reva and it was pretty funny.  I kept meaning to write about it.  


First, it was Memorial Day, May 30, so there was the big parade in town.  It started at 10AM and lasts, oh, about 6 minutes, so we decided to meet at the trotting park at 11AM. I completely forgot that after the tiny parade they did a ceremony in the cemetery......which happens to be across the street from the Trotting Park!  Whoops!  So by the time I arrived the ceremony was just over and there were people EVERYWHERE.  It was a bit hairy, but I was careful and slow; I managed not to hit any of the 39374645 traffic oblivious folks exiting the cemetery on foot.  Phew!  :-p


Reva was excited to be in a new place, but she was not nervous or wound up at all.  As we were getting ready to ride, I noticed that my saddle was missing its stirrups.  OH NO!  LOL!  I had taken them off the day before to use on my Lane Fox saddleseat saddle (that's a whole OTHER post!  ;-) and obviously forgotten to put them back on.  Thankfully Tania is a terrific friend and let me borrow her stirrups from her English saddle.  She had been planning to ride her horse English that day, but by giving me her stirrups she had to ride Western. 


Well......sounds OK.  But Tania was wearing riding breeches and tall boots, which are not exactly desgined for a use with a Western saddle.  LOL!  And to top it off, she ended up getting her Zock riding sock STUCK in her tall boot zipper!  LOL!!!  It was seriously stuck.  It was so comical.  We had to use my shedding blade like a saw to CUT the sock out of her zipper.  And then the poor girl had to wear a very holey sock for her ride.....complete with her riding breeches and short Western boots.  HA HA HA HA!   It was quite funny.


So after much giggling, we get the sock/stirrup situation all settled.  During that time another trailer pulled in, but they had parked on the other side of the grandstand so we could not see them.  Just as we are headed to the ring (in the infield of the track) to get on and ride, the other person comes around with her horse onto the track.  Without any hesitation or warning, she TOOK OFF in a gallop around the half mile track.  Reva's eyes bugged so far out of her head that I decided to wait to mount up.  The young rider went around the track at breakneck speed for a full half mile.  It seemed the horse was safe and easygoing, but at the moment Tania and I were pretty shocked and worried.  


Needless to say, Reva was a little "up" after that!  LOL!  But honestly, she was a good girl and we still had a decent warm up.  I was hoping to try a canter with her in the big ring there, since my "ring" at home (a mostly level area of one of the pastures) is pretty small.  


But then.....one of our local horsemen showed up to train one of his Standardbreds!  LOL!  Talk about an exciting day for the five year old!  ;-D  It was very good though, because while we did not work on the canter as I had planned, we did have a good session on paying attention despite distractions.  This is still a great thing, since at home it is quiet and Reva is completely and totally laid back.  I love how sometimes you have a training plan in your head and it completely changes; though this change was still a good plan.  We both had a great ride and that is what matters!  :-D

2 comments:

Kate said...

That's great, it sounds like she's really c=growing up. What a level headed little thing, eh?

Tania said...

I laughed out loud reading the part about the sock/stirrup incident!!