Chester Chatter: On the horse-pulling circuit

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

For a few summers, Don and I traveled up and down the state of Vermont with our pulling horses. Tink and Toby were beautiful Morgan horses.

With pulling horses, we had the opportunity to meet some very interesting people. The owners of most pulling horses were farmers and yet we met very wealthy people who owned pulling horses and entered the contests as a hobby.

The humble farmers did not have great harnesses nor were their horses groomed and brushed, because these horses worked all week on the farm.

The horse pulls were mostly held at country fairs. Many who attended thought of it as a great time out. They’d put aside their chores for the day, dusting off their overalls and head to the horse pull to see how these work horses performed.

Oftentimes I was asked to keep score by the horse pull officials. As the summer went on, folks who traveled the country fair circuit got to know one another.  It was a good mix and I wish that folks got along like that now.

Come the holidays, Don and I would receive Christmas cards from all the folks that we had met and we sure were glad to see them again come spring. The horse-pulling started in the spring down in Massachusetts and ended up in the fall in Fryeburg, Maine where there were times when we would freeze our you-know-whats off.

But there was no doubt it was exhausting and one day we had to sell Tink and Toby, which made me cry.

Scene and heard

I am so sad on learning of the death of Dick Alexander. He and I had worked hard to get the local school board to accept Project Challenge. Together we also supported other programs. Sympathy to his wife Roberta and his two sons.

It was great turnout for Saturday’s fund-raiser that the Heritage Deli held for the Chester-Andover Family Center. The live music was wonderful.

Family and friends of Jane Cyr gathered at the Bartonsville Grange Hall to celebrate her life.

The Chester American Legion has many activities planned for the 4th of July. The American Legion Band will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 2 and fireworks will follow.  There will be a horse pull on July 3.

Remember when a horse-pull was held every Fourth of July at the Jeffrey Field? The barn and its brick silo, which still stand, was where all the food was served.

Can you recall having to pay a poll tax in order to vote? Do you remember when the practice was ended?

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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