Rains hold out for second day of Ox Ridge Horse Show
On the second day of the 83rd annual Ox Ridge Horse Show, the gloomy clouds that brought a sense of dread and multiple inches of rain in the days prior had left the skies, leaving only the clear blue and puffy white clouds above.
At the far end of the show, in a grass field near the horses' trailers, riders took their animals around the ring, warming them up and preparing them for either the hunting or jumping events.
Walking nearby in the damp grass, spectators overheard the riders exchanging "hellos" and "how are yous" from atop their horses.
Barbara Spizzino and Lannie Lipson both sat under the shade in the spectators bleachers in front of the hunting ring. They've been attending the show for almost 20 years each.
"It's really just a big social event," Lipson said. She was set to ride in just over an hour. "I just love this show. I want to be able to support local shows."
The two women took breaks from talking to watch the hunting event directly in front of them or to see the other riders prep for the event.
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They point out one rider who appeared to be pushing her horse just bit too much.
The hunter events are more mild-mannered, Spizzino said. She can often be found in front of the ring watching the controlled gaits of the horses as they smoothly jump over the gates in the ring.
"There's a real ease to it," Spizzino said.
Both Spizzino, of Mamaroneck, N.Y., and Lipson, of Long Island, N.Y., each spoke of the grandiose that the show once was, and have noticed that in recent years, attendance has started to dwindle. They believe other riders are merely going to other shows like the one in Saratoga, N.Y.
However, the women chose to stay closer to home.
"It's easier to put out the small fires your kids start when you're in Darien," said Spizzino, who lives just 20 minutes away from the hunt club.
Though Spizzino no longer competitively rides, she does have a horse in the show that showed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hundred Acre, Spizzino's youngest horse at 7 years old, took away awards at this year's show.
"I name all my horses after wine," Spizzino said laughing. Lipson followed up by adding that all her horses are named after diamonds.
The Ox Ridge Hunt Club, home of the annual horse show, was founded in 1914 as a hunt and polo club. The first horse show took place in the summer of 1926.
This year, as in year's past, the show will benefit the Pegasus therapeutic riding program offered through the hunt club.
The program, which was established in 1975, offers activities to more than 225 children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities, according to the organization's website.
The show is a U.S. Equestrian Federation Hunter A-rated major riding competition and draws competitors from all across the country and the world and continues through Sunday, June 16.
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