The beginnings of Framlingham Show were set in 1879, when various gentlemen resident in Worlingworth held a show of cart colts, which was so popular that it was repeated in the following year. At the first Show, held at the Swan Inn, there were thirty-five entries and the first prize was £1 with a new collar and dutfin.
Three more annual shows were held at Worlingworth but in 1882 the Suffolk Show was held in Framlingham and this stimulated the formation of the Framlingham Association for the exhibition of livestock. The Association’s first annual show was held on Friday, 26th July 1884 and was followed by a public dinner at the Crown Hotel. The first Framlingham Show had the remarkable entry of two hundred and twelve, with Class 1 for Suffolk Mare with Foal at Foot having twenty-seven entries.
Shows continued and heavy horse entries reached seventy six in 1947 but the rapid increase in agricultural mechanisation saw their decline until the re-birth of interest in heavy horses in more recent years. However, the decrease in heavy horse entries was more than matched by the tremendous increase in light horse entries, as riding was becoming a very popular pastime.
The show has continued to hold a variety of classes for light horses, including in-hand, ridden show classes, driving and jumping competitions, while maintaining classes for Suffolk horses.
The past and continuing success of Framlingham Show is due to the hard work of the Association’s officers, Committee members, sponsors and exhibitors and these have included so many who are household names in the County of Suffolk.