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A Great Weekend In Deerfield

by Bob Funkhouser

When the weather is nice there aren’t many other venues as pleasurable as New Hampshire’s Deerfield Fairgrounds. June 5th through 7th the weather in Deerfield was horse show perfect, giving the 24th Twin State American Saddlebred Association Horse Show a great backdrop for its Saddlebred, Morgan, Hackney, Friesian, Arabian and Half-Arabian exhibitors. Going into the weekend it was cloudy and cool while the sun came out for Saturday and Sunday’s performances with just right temperatures and no bugs.

Several barns, ranging from new to rustic are scattered among the towering pines housing the many exhibitors that come from all over New England and New York turning the picturesque grounds into an equine village. The spacious ring is surrounded on one straightaway and turn by county fair type bleachers and on the other end sits the famed clubhouse where the officials call home.

Manager Sue Arthur called the shots from the clubhouse that also housed the show office, which was efficiently managed by Mary Wahl and her great staff. Andy Bailey was upstairs overseeing the ring as the announcer. Most notably, the clubhouse has become famous for the great meals prepared there for the officials.

The ringmaster duo of Larry Wahl and Barry Caisse were back for another year as was steward Jo Hight, organist Nancy Roberts, photographer Ted Douglass and stable superintendent Ron Boucher. Blue Ribbon Video was in its usual spot in the perch along the backside rail.

Making their first visit to Twin State, Tammie Conatser and Larry Thurber handled the judging duties. Conatser presided over the Saddlebred, Hackney, Friesian and Equitation divisions, while Thurber marked the card in the Morgan, Arabian, Half-Arabian and Open Western and Hunter divisions. Like several of the mid-level shows, Twin State was light on ponies and gaited and walk-trot horses, although the quality was there. Good numbers were found in the pleasure and park classes where it was very competitive. With Connecticut Morgan going on in W. Springfield, Mass., it was a little surprising to find such quality and depth in the Morgan division from top to bottom. All in all, it was a good weekend in the ring.

When exhibitors weren’t busy vying for winning ribbons and coolers they were enjoying the great hospitality of Twin State. Coffee and doughnuts were provided each morning under the ringside hospitality tent, which also held the Chinese Auction that had several different items for which exhibitors could take a chance on. The get-togethers started on Thursday night with the Pizza Set-Up Party. On Friday night a great spaghetti dinner was hosted by the show followed by the presentation of the 2008 TSASA Year End Awards.

The weather couldn’t have been better for Saturday afternoon’s famous Belmont Race Party put together by Northgate Stables, Rocking Horse Farm, Ken Logan, and Bob Funkhouser who were assisted by several great friends/cooks. Ribs, steak tips, chicken, burgers and hot dogs with all the fixins were served to the exhibitors. The adult exhibitors sipped on Belmont Punch and got into the fun activities surrounding the race.

With another successful Twin State show in the books, the TSASA group now turns their attention to their fall Octoberfest Show that will be held on new dates, October 22-25 in W. Springfield, Mass.

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