A Brief History
In 1960, at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Harold Moore, Tri-County Horsemen Club was established to promote horsemanship. Harold and Helen were pillars of the mid-coast equestrian community and the proud owners of Hill N’ Dale Stables in Warren, Maine. The original club consisted of an elected board, an appointed committee and 37 members. Early on, to promote growth and inclusion, the club hosted monthly meetings at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine on the first Friday of each month. Attendance was vast, with as many as 75 members packing into the room for lively discussions and light refreshments, followed by educational films or presenters to conclude the meetings. Local newspapers published meeting results and announcements following the events.
During the first year, trail rides and weekend camping trips were the primary focus of the club; however, the club set their sights on visions of hosting local horse shows in the coming years. In September of 1961, the dream came to fruition and the Union Fair Grounds welcomed the club for their first ever horseshow. The use of the Union Fairgrounds came from the decision by the Fairground Trustees to expand the use of the grounds beyond the fair week. A team from the University of Maine designed a 125’ x 200’ main ring and a 90’ x 120’ practice ring for the events. Additionally, ringside parking was implemented, bleachers were placed, and the refreshment stand and dressing room building was moved from Warren to be used at the shows. By 1962, the grounds scheduled fourteen show dates for the two local riding clubs – Whips & Spurs from Camden and Tri-County Horsemen from Warren.
Noting potential safety hazards of the original arena and fencing, the Maine State Prison Warden, and proud father of two 4-H club members, proposed a plan for a new arena. Upon trustee approval and funding from the two clubs, volunteers and prison labor complete the new arena and fencing project. The result is the arena we still use and love on the Union Fair Grounds. In 2007, Tri-County Horsemen voted to hold four shows per season at the grounds, the model still used today.