NORWICH – With just a year under his belt, the Chenango County Agricultural Society’s newest board member has already made his mark on the Chenango County Fair. Since joining the fair board last year, Jason Lawrence has made a concerted effort to put an added emphasis on the event’s equine exhibit.
“Developing the equine area has been a new focus this year,” said Ag Society President Mary Weidman, who credited Lawrence’s efforts in this regard.
Until two years ago, there were only a smattering of horses among the numerous farm animals and livestock displayed by local farmers and 4-Hers. Sure, there was harness racing, which has been a fixture at this and other rural agricultural expositions for more than a century. But once the races were over, those horses would head home, leaving little opportunity for fair goers to get up close and personal with the animals.
That changed in 2007 when Lawrence and his wife Leslie organized the first live Horse Barn Exhibit, which they populated with their own horses. That first year, they exhibited eight horses of different breeds, including two Chincoteague ponies, a breed of wild horses which populate the Chincoteague and Assateague Islands off the coast of Virginia.