Thousands enjoy major horse show
By John HowardTHOUSANDS of people braved the heavy rain to enjoy East Anglia's largest and oldest horse show The 132nd Woodbridge Horse Show, was held yesterdayat the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich, and organisers were determined that the show would go on despite the downpours.
By John Howard
THOUSANDS of people braved the heavy rain to enjoy East Anglia's largest and oldest horse show
The 132nd Woodbridge Horse Show, was held yesterdayat the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich, and organisers were determined that the show would go on despite the downpours.
The event - supported by the East Anglian Daily Times - attracts about 5,000 people a year and organisers believed there was a similar turnout this year.
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Show director, Mark Donsworth, said: "Up until lunchtime it was phenomenal, the entries were brilliant and we had as lot of people in.
"It all turned a bit miserable later and it's so sad, people put such a lot of effort in. But we have had some fantastic displays and I have not cancelled a single class, just moved one or two inside, such as the harness class.
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"We have been very lucky with the weather in previous years - some committee members even got a tan - so we were due some bad weather.
"People are so passionate about the show, rain or shine. It would have to be very bad for me to cancel anything. I am very proud to be involved in something with so much tradition and longevity. The show will always carry on."
The show was formed in 1871 to encourage horse breeding and the event derived its importance from being the first exhibition of the Suffolk Horse season.
David Mansfield, a show committee member, said the event had a strong following and Suffolk Punches, which are more endangered than the Giant Panda, were one of the biggest attractions.
"Only a couple of generations ago, every family was related to someone who worked in farming, the Suffolk Punch would have been used on farms, and the county even today remains a very rural community," he added.
"It's been a little wet today, but we get an incredible following and the gate was packed this morning. Early indications are that we had a very good attendance."
Fram Hart, from Melton, who was one of those showing yesterday, said people had enjoyed themselves immensely, despite the weather.
"It's been really good. It is a shame that the weather was so awful, but we have still had a good time," she added.
Paul Cook, who was running the Nora's Fudge stall at the show, said: "We were busy this morning, very busy, and it was well worth coming, but the weather killed trade.
"We come regularly to the Woodbridge Horse Show, it's always good for us here and we get a lot of other business out of it."
EADT weatherman Ken Blowers said yesterday had seen the heaviest rainfall in the region since September 23, more than seven months ago, with 0.62 inches of rain falling.
"Almost two-thirds an inch of rain fell in five hours, beginning at 12pm. It was caused by an active cold front crossing East Anglia from the north-west," he explained.
"The outlook is pretty grim too, there's a large depression coming in from the west which will take up position over the UK.
"That means the rest of the week we will see brief sunny spells and heavy showers and, at times, thunder. The coming week will be cool. The beginning of May should average 61F, or 16C, but will be 57F, 14C."