Martin, the executive director of the Lake Placid horse shows, said approximately 10,000 fans came through the North Elba Show Grounds gate during the two weeks of the shows, which is the same attendance as a summer ago.
The weather, however, was as good as she’s seen in her tenure there. Only one competition, an amateur-owner event held in the grand prix ring on July 6, was delayed when a fierce lightning storm rolled through the area.
“Before Richard left for New York City, he said three things were exceptional about this year’s horse shows,” Martin said Wednesday from her office at the show grounds. “The food, the flowers and the footing.”
“It’s been a super year,” Feldman said Saturday, the next-to-last day of this summer’s horse shows in Lake Placid. “The weather was cooperative 100 percent of the time, and the crowds were as good as ever, especially for our two grand prix events. They were enthusiastic, they were respectful and they really applauded appropriately when riders did things right.”
Throughout the two-week run, talk often turned to the weather, which bathed the shows in warm sunshine most of the time.
“It was the best weather we’ve had in my 18 years,” Martin said. “We had some light rain at night to give us a natural dust down and sunshine during the days.”
Feldman was especially pleased to see how the grass surface in the grand prix ring weathered the two weeks of constant pounding and cutting from the horses competing daily.
“The best thing about this horse show was the grass course held up great,” Feldman said. “The footing is the most important thing for the riders, and they were all very pleased.”
In just a matter of days, shortly after the Ironman finishes its annual summer run in Lake Placid, crews at the North Elba Show Grounds will begin to ready the rings for the 2012 shows. One of the biggest tasks is repairing the grass in the grand prix ring, which includes deep tining, aerating and seeding.
In addition to drawing many of the same competitors year after year, including some of the best riders in the world, Martin said numerous new faces and horses showed up for the first time this summer.
“We had a lot of new people this year, and we hope they are coming back next summer,” Martin said. “Every year, we ask for criticism, and we didn’t hear of one complaint this time.
“This was one of those summers that should have people coming back next year. It was as close to perfect as you could get.”
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Fans applaud Olympian Margie Engle and her horse Lord Spezi after they put down a clean run in the jump-off during the $75,000 Woodlea Farms Grand Prix on Saturday, July 9 at the North Elba Show Grounds in Lake Placid.