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By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Anyone who pulled into 240 North Street over the weekend would have been shocked at what they saw. Cars, trucks, and trailers were parked on the field. People sat outside on foldable chairs, some, as young as two years old, dressed in riding outfits.
The most incredible sight, though, was the sheer number of horses at the field. Some stood waiting in trailers. Others walked with riders on their back, slowly making their way around the field, horses kicking up dirt as they made their way through the field. Others stood at the ready, whinnying impatiently, waiting for their turn in the competitions offered at the event. This was the Norfolk Hunt Club’s 109th Norfolk Hunt Horse Show, which brought out horse-lovers and riders alike to enjoy the warm, sunny day with these gentle giants.
Norfolk Hunt Club President Lisa Lewis has helped organize the show for over a decade. For her, the success in this show this year could be seen in the sheer number of attendees. “This is as good as we’ve had in, like, [a] decade, since probably our 100th anniversary. You can see by the crowds of cars; you can’t even get a car in,” said Lewis.
For 109 years, the Norfolk Hunt Horse Show has brought people from around the country for this one weekend. The day initially began as a farmer day, but morphed into what it is today. “The original motive of this horse show was to celebrate the raising of good horses,” said Brian Macleod. Today, the event is still just as exciting for those horse enthusiasts, especially because of its status as a heritage horse show. A heritage horse show is a rare breed; there are only about 30 in the United States each year. The categorization comes from the number of years that the show has been happening, in addition to the Norfolk Hunt Horse Show’s status as a charity based event; the show supports maintaining open space and trail maintenance.
For some, the show served as a good way to get back into the sport after a temporary break during the winter months. “I haven’t been to a one-day in a while, so it’s just good to get out and be able to ride, because I haven’t shown him since Florida in the winter. It’s a good way to get back into the showing,” said Mimi Zahavi. Zahavi rides with Arrowhead Farm and won one of the competitions for jumping with her horse, Winter Solstice.
Zahavi’s parents were just as excited at the prospect of having their daughter back competing, watching Winter Solstice make jump after jump. “I just love to see them go,” said mom Mari Zahavi.
For anyone who loves these majestic creatures, the Norfolk Hunt Club Horse Show served as the perfect way to celebrate the sport. Younger kids got a chance to see what they might be able to do if they kept practicing. Older individuals got to see how the sport has transformed over the years.
In just two days, the Norfolk Hunt Club Horse Show served as a perfect way to bring the horse loving community together, no matter what age.