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Horse Enthusiasts Warn Against Paving Near Lawrence Barn

The town of Hollis holds its town meeting Wednesday evening.

In the high school gym, residents will debate town hall renovations, property tax exemptions for seniors and funds for the Old Home Days event.

But what’s likely to drum up the most vigor at the meeting is a warrant article that some say is detrimental to horses.Hollis is the only town in New Hampshire that owns a horse-riding ring.

The field adjoins the dirt parking lot next to the Lawrence Barn, a 19th century building that’s now a community center.  

Selectman Peter Band says the town is about to debate paving the dirt gravel lot.

"It’s a question of safety.  It can get slippery in bad weather. It can get muddy."

But some Hollis equestrians worry that the pavement can cause horses to slide and fall.

Sherry Van Oss is president of the Hollis Equestrian Club.

"We’d like to keep this ring, parking lot totally dirt. It is our sporting field. They would never pave a ball field. This is tantamount to saying to the Girl Scouts: you can’t sell your cookies anymore."

Van Oss says she understands the safety concerns of residents. And she plans to offer alternatives at the town meeting.