Floyd horseman, former Virginia Horse Center president Steve McBroom dies

Steve McBroom

The Virginia Horse Center Foundation community is mourning the loss of one of its founding members, Stephen “Steve” Cushing McBroom on October 11, 2016.

Stephen McBroom was born on September 5, 1952. A lifelong horseman, McBroom was widely regarded as the “Champion of the Virginia Horse Industry.” Along with his wife, Diane Craun McBroom, he owned and operated Owl Hollow Farm in Floyd, Virginia, where they raised and trained many successful show horses, including champion Morgan stallion, Van Lu Starbuck.

McBroom served on the board of the Virginia Horse Center for 14 years from 2000-2014. While always maintaining a position on the board, McBroom was president of the Virginia Horse Center from 2006 until 2014 and helped to guide the VHC in its transformation from a public to private organization.
Van Lu Starbuck
McBroom was inducted into the Virginia Horse Center Hall of Fame in 2010 in recognition of his dedicated leadership, professional achievements, and passion for the Virginia horse community at large.
Stephen McBroom is survived by his wife, Diane Craun McBroom, his daughter Emily June McBroom Stilley, and his son Michael Ross Agee McBroom.
A celebration of Steve’s life will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 10 a.m. in the Floyd County High School Gymnasium in Floyd VA.
A foundation is being established in Steve’s honor. In lieu of flowers, the family requests future donations to this foundation be considered, details of which will be announced at his life celebration.

Little Fork Volunteer Large Animal Rescue Team helps Botetourt County horse trapped in hayloft

Phoenix up in the hayloft.

Phoenix, a 16-year-old palomino gelding owned by Carol Pugh, is getting national attention online after a bad choice left him stranded in the hayloft of his Botetourt County barn over the weekend.

His owners tried unsuccessfully to lead him back down the stairs after finding him stranded upstairs. Nothing they tried would convince Phoenix to go back down those stairs that they figure he scurried up in an attempt to get away from a herdmate he had gotten into a disagreement with.

After several hours of trying to get the horse down the stairs, the owner called in extra help. Botetourt County’s animal control has training in large animal rescue, but they don’t have all the equipment required. So Little Fork Volunteer Technical Large Animal Rescue Team was called to help with getting Phoenix out of his predicament.

While awaiting the rescue team to arrive, the owner also contacted Dr. Tarah Satalino of Windover Equine Services and took Phoenix feed and water and keep him calm while the team traveled the three-hour drive to the farm in Blue Ridge, Virginia.


After arriving at the farm, the team called for assistance from the local fire and rescue crews and animal control officers. Dr. Satalino also arrived and was briefed on what was needed. Assistance arrived from three Botetourt County animal control officers, seven FF/EMS personal from Botetourt County Fire and Rescue and three firefighters from the Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Company.

The team formed a plan to move a sedated Phoenix onto a rescue glide and slide him and the glide down the steps and outside to safety. The team set up 2-ton chain hoist by chaining it to one of the main posts that supported the building. A secondary safety system was rigged using a rope and pulley system. This system was anchored to a different large structural posts further back in the barn near the rear wall. Once the rigging was complete, the team performed a “dry run” of the system to be sure that it would work.

Dr. Satalino administered ketamine in a dosage that would be used for surgery so there would be no chance that Phoenix would struggle during the rescue.The team was concerned that Phoenix might slide off the rescue glide once on the stairway, so they rigged him to the board as securely as possible using carabiners and webbing.


Once heavily sedated the horse was moved onto the rescue glide and it was pulled to the head of the stairwell. This took some time and Dr. Satalino advised that we needed to move quickly. It was decided to disconnect the chain hoist system and to use the rope system for lowering. Four people pulled the glide down the stairs with the rest of the crew operating the rope system. As Phoenix started down the stairs the hobbled legs were drawn towards his body and there was just enough room for him to slide down on his side. His front hoofs hung up partway down and as expected he slid down near the bottom of the board but did not come off of it. At the bottom he was turned on his back for a short amount of time so that he could be pulled through the doorway and outside to safety.

Once outside the rigging and equipment were removed and Phoenix tried to stand. He stumbled around and fell to the ground in respiratory arrest. The vet performed an emergency tracheotomy and Phoenix began to breath again and was eventually moved back inside.


Phoenix is now OK and that the trach tube has been removed.

The incident has renewed calls to help get Botetourt County Animal Control the equipment needed to perform large animal rescues.


Virginia Horse Trials to host first CCI2* event at fall championships Oct. 27-30

John Michael Durr, course designer for Beginner Novice through Preliminary courses at the Virginia Horse Trials. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials has several changes coming to its fall event at the Virginia Horse Center. The Oct. 27-30 competition serves as the 2016 Area II Championship for Beginner Novice through Intermediate levels. The Virginia Horse Trials team is also preparing to host their first CCI2* in addition to the established CIC2* and CCI*.

One new component of the championship will be the addition of junior divisions at all levels except intermediate. For divisions that finish on Sunday, awards will be given out in the competition rings at the conclusion of each class.

With the group’s FEI course designer John Nicholson as his mentor, John Michael Durr designed the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary courses on the horse center side of the road. Nicholson designed the two-star, one-star, Intermediate and Preliminary Championship courses on the Oak Hill side of the road.

The competition will once again include a Adult Rider Team Challenge this year. Adult riders from any area are invited to compete in the challenge, and you do not need to be a member of the USEA Adult Rider Program to participate.

Riders who are competing in the Area II Championship at Virginia Horse Trials may also be a member of a team for the challenge. However, all members of the team must compete at the same level. The challenge is for Beginner Novice through Preliminary teams only. Team ribbons will be awarded through eighth place and Area II Adult Riders will receive a gift sponsored by Sagmae.

Include all stabling requests on your entry form and mail to the event secretary. Email Donna Bottner (drbottner@gmail.com) with your team information or request to be placed on a team.

Visit www.vahorsetrials.com and the Omnibus page for more information about the fall Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials. Get your entries in: the closing date is Tuesday, October 11.

Virginia state parks are for horse lovers: James River State Park

Riding through the campground.

Feeling like you need a new place to trail ride? Several of Virginia’s state parks offer horseback riding trails. And one of the nicest is James River State Park in Gladstone, Virginia.

James River State Park is a little bit of a drive, about 2 hours from Roanoke. But the roads are all good and it’s an easy haul. The park has a campground dedicated to equestrians. Laid out in a circle, campers/trailers are parked in reserved spaces up through the center of the loop and the stalls are all at one end.

Large box stalls include a hay rack and bucket holder already installed. (Personally, I’d rather the hay racks didn’t have a little tray at the bottom where your horse’s nose can mingle where a strange horse’s once was. Sanitation spray would not be a bad idea for a quick wipe.) Most had a good amount of wood chip bedding at the bottom and required nothing to be added. There are muck rakes and wheelbarrows provided for cleaning stalls. If you go during the summer, watch which stall you choose. The stalls on the far side of the loop (away from the park road) get more direct sunlight and are hotter then the ones along the turn and on the side closest to the entrance.

Water, with hoses attached, is also available at a couple of places near the stalls. However, at least when we were there, the water pressure through the hose was very poor and spraying the horses off after a ride was difficult at the stalls. A separate, shady picnic area not connected to any of the camping spots is available near the stalls.

The pull-through campsites are all spacious and allow two trailers to park side by side and share a space. There is plenty of room no matter how large your trailer, as the pull throughs are very long. The question for some of the spaces is if it makes more sense to share a driveway or share the grassy area with a picnic table and fire ring. While my riding buddy and I were parked in the same driveway, that meant our picnic tables were removed from one another. It was incredibly hot the weekend we were there, even in September, and because of that the lack of shade was very noticeable. During the afternoon, most people were driven into air-conditioned trailers or into the river. This is not a campground you go to because you want to feel like you are sitting in the woods. But as the campground matures, this will improve as there are young trees planted. Some of the campsites are more level than others. Our trailer unfortunately sat at an angle no matter where it was in the site.

Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table as well as electrical hookups.
Campground as we go out on an evening ride.


The bathhouse is toward the center of the campground. It is more modern than many of the bathhouses I have seen at campgrounds and very clean. Showers are private and spacious. The bathrooms are in a separate room.

Advance reservations are a very good idea for this park as the HorseShoe Campground is very popular. But while our weekend was considered full a few weeks out, it certainly was not full during our stay. Most of the stalls were empty and several of the camping spots were too. None of the tent pads were taken. So it may be worth calling each day as the weekend approaches for cancellations. Horseshoe Campground, open from the  first Friday in March to first Monday in December annually, has full electric hook-ups, there is also a primitive horse campground, open year-round, near the river where you can picket your horse. No generators are allowed in that campground.

Riding trails leave right from the campground and you can easily ride for several hours before looping back. I would recommend shoes or boots for the horses. While the trails next to the river (the park has 3 miles of river frontage) are lovely and soft for a canter, the trails going down of the mountain were rocky and my mare with just front shoes did struggle on the difficult terrain. Horses should be prepared to cross wooden bridges and a little water, but the trails are good for any level of rider and horse.

The views riding along the James River can’t be beat. Lovely wildflowers accompany riders through woodlands and fields. Riders are not allowed to take the horses in the James River at any point and all access points are blocked. This was a particular shame on our hot weekend.

And riding isn’t the only activity at the state park worth checking out. Fill your afternoons with kayaking, tubing or fishing. There’s an outfitter where you can rent a tube or boat right at the boat launch. The park also has a gorgeous picnic spot right along the river. Not really into camping? The park also has several beautiful cottages for rent. However, a spot must also be reserved next to the horses and someone must stay with the horses. Day riding is also available with separate parking.

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New Freedom Farm making dream of healing humans through horses a reality, to hold grand opening Oct. 8

Lois Fritz with Liberty and “CatDog”

Lois Fritz knows firsthand about the healing powers of horses. After a series of difficult times, military service and personal losses, the forensic nurse found herself in a spiral of depression and anxiety and in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder. When she became an empty-nester, those symptoms worsened, and her therapist suggested she try something new. That’s when, at 40, Fritz first felt the healing touch of horses.

Her first time in the saddle launched Fritz on a whole new path in life. Soon, she was the owner of Chip, a horse given to her by her then-fiance. Levi followed. And then Dutch, Eli and, last of all, a yearling mustang named Cecilia. Fritz was living in New Jersey but wanted to move to Roanoke, where her mother-in-law lived. After the death of two family members, Fritz realized life was too short to not follow her dreams.

About a year ago, she and her five horses arrived in Buchanan, Virginia, where she and husband Mitchell, affectionately known as “Mr. Budget” to thousands of Fritz’s Facebook fans, found a place where she could share her recipe for healing.

While other programs rely on therapy models and specific paths to recovery, Fritz believes that what veterans suffering from PTSD often need is no rules and the freedom to just live in the moment.

“Horses were the only thing that made me calm,” she said, of her own experience.

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The program at her New Freedom Farm follows the “no-plan plan,” she said. Veterans are given the chance to come to the farm and be present in the moment, enjoying the peace of spending time with the four-legged residents. But the humans aren’t the only ones who have known trauma.

It began in March with a call that 10 Thoroughbred broodmares, heavily pregnant, were in a kill pen in Pennsylvania, days from slaughter. Their owner had declared bankruptcy and sent the 10 mares to auction together. As she had no experience with foaling, Fritz was reluctant to take on the responsibility of a broodmare about to give birth. But with empty stalls in her new barn, she agreed to take in one of the mares and give her a safe place to foal. That mare, Maybelline, who was rescued by a Vermont rescue called Gerda’s Animal Aid, would quickly go from being a temporary foster to an adopted forever resident of Fritz’s farm.

Maybelline, 16, registered in the Jockey Club as Murphy’s Code, had been injured in her first race. She was royally bred — by Pleasant Tap and out of Royals Galore, a granddaughter of Nijinsky, and was bred every year since her retirement from the track. It was a Facebook comment made about Maybelline’s “new freedom” that ended up giving Fritz’s farm its name and forever cementing Maybelline in its story.

The mare gave birth a few weeks later, on March 29, to a filly named Liberty. The foaling was difficult, and the Fritzes had to make several trips to the Harry T. Peters, Jr. Large Animal Hospital at VA-MD Vet Med at Virginia Tech over the next few weeks for both the mare and foal. Today, Liberty plays happily in her paddock at the farm but still has myriad health problems, including a slight wry nose, an undeveloped lung, and a compromised immune system that will forever limit her future.

Through Maybelline, the Fritzes’ eyes were opened to the plight of kill pen horses and particularly pregnant mares set for slaughter. Soon they were called on again to help a heavily pregnant mare in a Pennsylvania kill pen. This time, it was a bay Tennessee Walker that needed their help. The Fritzes opened their hearts and their barn to the soon-to-be mom.

With no background information on the mare, they could only guess when she would foal. Fritz took to sleeping in the barn, waiting for the new arrival. For a month, she slept outside the mare’s stall. On the 33rd night, Fritz checked the mare, who seemed no different than she had for all the nights prior, so Fritz decided to go to the house for just a few hours. When she returned, there was a surprise waiting to meet her: a beautiful bay filly, already dry and standing with her mom. That foal would be named Silver Justice, after Fritz’s rescue mentor, Gerda Silver, who runs Gerda’s Animal Aid. L’Oreal has developed a special bond with one of the farm’s most loyal volunteers, Emma Beard, who has started riding the mare and taking riding lessons herself.

Emma Beard and L’Oreal

Then came Martha and George Washington. Martha was a loudly colored paint mare who was in a kill pen in Louisiana. She was not heavily pregnant, but she had a young foal at her side, George. In just two hours, $1,600 was raised to get Martha to safety. And then, a Facebook follower paid the mare’s “bail” to get her out of the kill pen. Fritz took another chance and agreed to give her a home at New Freedom Farm. Martha arrived sick. She had no milk for her very dehydrated foal. She had many skin wounds, rain rot, an eye infection and swellings. At first, George had to be bottle fed until the mare’s milk came back in. With medical attention and plenty of love, both mare and foal have been brought back to health.

Most recently, New Freedom Farm rescued two scruffy ponies, Patriot and Lincoln, also from the Bastrop kill pen in Louisiana. Lincoln in particular was very ill and had to be rushed to Virginia Tech with fluid on his lungs and a high fever. But on the trailer ride to Blacksburg, about an hourlong journey from Buchanan, his lungs cleared and his fever disappeared. While his sudden turnaround has not been explained, he thankfully has been healthy ever since. Although it is obvious the ponies haven’t been handled much, they are doing well and enjoy when children visit.


Among all that outpouring of love for horses in desperate need of kindness, The farm also took in a couple rescues — Maury and Piper — from Gerda’s Animal Aid to help lessen the rescue’s load.

All those rescues were accompanied by the juggling of five quarantines, each 28 days long. Buckets of bleach, isolated pens and visits from the vet became everyday activities at the farm that had never intended to rescue a horse. It now has 19 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys under its care.

The mares and their babies now safe in the paddocks, attention has again shifted to the original intent of New Freedom Farm. On Saturday, Oct. 8, a ribbon-cutting and grand opening will be held at the farm, which was granted its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status on July 1 and is now regularly receiving visits from veterans and police officers.

Scheduled to be held rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 6118 Lithia Road in Buchanan, the grand opening will feature a patriotic opening ceremony, flag raising and Disabled American Veterans honor guard, vendors, a special performance by horse trainer Amelia Efland of Stem, N.C., live music, raffles, a silent auction, demonstrations, and children’s activities with the Botetourt County Farm Bureau Women. A BBQ lunch will be available for $8. Some of the vendors/organizations will include Harmony Farm Sanctuary, Angels of Assisi, Barn Cat Buddies, the Lions Club, Botetourt County 4-H Horse and Pony Club, Scentsy, Spurrs Big FixCowboy MagicRockingham Co-Op, Gil Murray Photography, Mike Lee StudiosBotetourt County Horseman’s AssociationPerfectly Posh, and Paris Emporium. The silent auction will include items from far and wide, including a special edition Breyer horse model of an Arabian connected with Amethyst Acres of Buchanan. Admission is free.

New Freedom Farm in Buchanan, Virginia

Two of the rescued mares will take part in the opening ceremonies under saddle. L’Oreal and Martha both proved to be broke saddle horses. Maybelline is also trained, but Fritz explained, “Well, she was trained to be a racehorse… ” to describe how she did under saddle. All the residents of New Freedom Farm will be on hand to greet visitors.

Silver Justice

Donations to New Freedom Farm are tax deductible and help pay for care of the rescue horses and the work with veterans. The Fritzes keep their own expenses separate from that of New Freedom Farm, including the care of their original horses. The farm also has six volunteers and is always looking for more. New Freedom Farm has attracted a few sponsors in Spurr’s Big Fix and Cowboy Magic. The farm often holds fundraising efforts for their many needs such as hay drives, fencing efforts, and T-shirt and hat sales.

What does the future hold for New Freedom Farm? The Fritzes hope to build more fence and run-in sheds for the pastures plus a picnic area for visitors to use. The three foals will eventually go to training.  And, most important, more veterans will be coming to the farm to find a little peace.

For more information and find out how you can help, find New Freedom Farm on Facebook or visit its website.

Lois Fritz with Liberty (left), Silver Justice and CatDog

Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin Coco Chip win Virginia 4-H Western Pleasure Classic

Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin Coco Chip

On Sept. 17, the Virginia 4-H State Horse Show crowned its top Western riders in the Classics classics. The evening classes were held in the East Complex at the Virginia Horse Center and featured the top riders from the qualifying classes earlier in the weekend.

The Classics closed with the Western Pleasure Horse Classic. With 14 showing, the two judges agreed on the top horse: Ima Glowin Coco Chip, ridden by Morgan Strickler. Strickler was also named the Sr. High Point winner.

Second went to Mary Ann Johnson riding Zippos Sweet Te. Third went to Madison Martin riding Jets Lopin Lady.


Virginia shows Extreme Mustang Makeover isn’t just for cowboys

Sarah Grady and Corrigan were the overall winners of the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Later the mare was sold for $8,500.

What do you think of when you think of the American Mustang? Perhaps freedom and the wide open spaces of the West, complete with cowboys and their Western saddles, jingling spurs, and lariats. But this past weekend at the Virginia Horse Center, the Extreme Mustang Makeover offered a different vision for the mustang.

While Saturday’s Top 10 finals was dominated by cowboys on top of the mustang mares they had 100 days to tame and train, the winner went a different direction: Dressage.

With her gray mare, Corrigan, in a more collected frame then most of her competitors, Sarah Grady rode to the win. She placed second in the preliminaries, which each rider follows a prescribed pattern to demonstrate the horse’s training. But she won the Freestyle portion, in which she trotted in with two cheery balloons following dutifully behind. Her freestyle also included two jumps and a streamer-laden hoop, each of which she went over twice without any issues. She also won Adult Trail and Maneuvers earlier in the competition. After her win, Corrigan was auctioned off, bringing fierce bidding that would close at $8,500. Corrigan is a Divide Basin, Wyoming, mustang.

Freedom and Michael Alway were crowd favorites.

Corrigan may have won the competition, but it was a horse named Freedom that won the audience’s hearts and took home the Audience Favorite award. Asked to vote via text, Freedom’s flag-waving routine came out on top. That was not to be confused with several other routines that also waved flags as the music swelled. Other popular routine highlights included a big black steer that blinked in confusion the first time he was shoved in the arena. But he would be back several times before the competition was over. There was also plenty of standing in the saddle, shooting of balloons (both with air guns and arrows), and jumping. The routines were meant to showcase their horse’s talents, and many made good use of this time. There were some blunders, such as the routine that showcased a horse’s ability to be driven in harness. However, the switch to being ridden did not go well and too much time was eaten up trying to get the horse unhooked for its cart.

All of the horses (all 5- to 6-year-old mares) were auctioned off at the end of the event. Some were bought by their trainers, others to bidders in the crowd already approved for adoption through the BLM. Prices ranged from $200 to $8,500.

A highlight for many spectators had to be before the competition began when Stacey Westfall road in the arena to talk to the crowd. She also held a demonstration earlier in the day. Westfall is well known for her bridleless freestyle reining routine that even landed her a spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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Virginia Horse Center welcomes world-renowned trick rider Fairland Ferguson

Fairland Ferguson performing with Cavalia. Photo courtesy Cavalia

Trick-rider Fairland Ferguson, a Staunton, Virginia, native, will give a demonstration at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, in Barn 6 of the Virginia Horse Center. A question-and-answer session with her will follow.

Ferguson has traveled the world performing as a trick rider. She joined Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede while attending college, working with that group for six years, before touring with Cavalia for six years. She also rode in Australia for a year.

Ferguson grew up riding Hunter/Jumpers, but became bored with it.  “Everybody wears the same thing, and the shows are the same,” she said. “So I got into Western pleasure, which gave you a little bit more of a creative liberty.”

In 2003, while on break from college in South Carolina, Ferguson was left fighting for her life after she fell from the top of a cliff at Smith Mountain Lake, breaking 46 broken bones, including 23 in her face, eight ribs, both arms and both legs. She had 13 operations and spent six months in hospital, followed by six months of rehabilitation, which included training to strengthen her eye muscles and learning how to walk again. She lost her basketball scholarship after the accident, but she didn’t give up riding. Ferguson found trick-riding when she took a job at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede near Myrtle Beach.

Ferguson said, “Horses are said to give us the wings we lack to fly, but for me, horses were also my legs when I couldn’t walk, my energy when I had none, my spirit when it was broken and my heart when it was lost.”

Horses have taught me more about myself and my life than I ever thought possible,” she  said. “I hope to share this love and understanding with everyone Oct. 8. Whether you’re a young rider, an older cavalier or someone that has never been on a horse. It will be a blast and an event that I’m sure everyone will take something away from.”

Adult tickets are $15, while tickets for children 12 and younger are $12. Children 2 and younger are free.


Get ready for a fantastic fall of riding


School is back in session and Labor Day is on the horizon, but most would agree that our best riding days are just around the corner. Cooler fall days, surrounded by the beautiful colors of autumn make for gorgeous riding. Here are some upcoming equestrian events to help you plan your fall.


There is nothing like a trail ride in the fall. The smell of fallen leaves as they crunch under your horse’s hooves is as much a part of the season as pumpkin spice flavors for equestrians. Here area few trail ride events happening within a few hours of Roanoke this fall:

  • fleetwood
    The Fleetwood Community Center Trail Ride.

    The Fleetwood Community Center Trail Ride is Oct. 14-16 at 1357 Crabtree Falls Highway, Roseland, Virginia. The ride is a fundraiser for Nelson County’s Fleetwood Community Center. The building was once an elementary school. Today its grounds provide a beautiful location to host events such as the trail ride and for youth sports. The trail ride takes place twice a year, once in the spring in April, and once in the fall in October. It includes several rides throughout the weekend. On Friday, there is a short trail ride of 6-8 miles. Saturday there are two rides to choose from: One long ride of about 25 miles, and one short ride,of about 15 miles. On Sunday a nice easy 10-12 mile ride is available. All three rides cover a variety of terrain: water crossings, dirt trails, rocky trails, mountain ridges and the climbs to get there (some are pretty steep but we offer alternates if you want to avoid them). Fees are $80 per adult rider and $40 per rider under 18 and all non-riders. The fee includes three days and two nights of camping on a level field alongside the Tye River. Five meals, including lunch on the trail, are included. Registration is due by Oct. 1.  Questions? For registration and general questions, contact Audrey Diane Evans @ either 434-277­-5814 or bossmare1955@gmail.com or contact Nancy Brockman @ 434 277­5630 for questions
    about the trails.

  • The Liberty Trail Ride will be held Sept. 17 in Orange, Virginia. The ride is organized by Orange County Parks & Recreation and Oakland Heights Farm, hosted by James Madison’s Montpelier, and supported by the Virginia Horse Industry Board and Virginia Horse Council. The ride begins promptly at 10am, so it is highly recommended that participants arrive before 9am, though participants are welcome to arrive as early as 8:15 am. The length of the ride is between 7 and 10 miles round-trip (route may change based on weather and trail conditions), and the terrain is pasture land, wooded trails, and gravel roads, so please make sure horses are shod accordingly. (Shoes are highly recommended, without shoes some horses have experienced fatigue on the gravel roads.) This is a group trail ride with a trail master who leads the ride. This first portion of the ride is optional since it will expose horses to crowds of observers. Lunch will be provided at the end of the ride.
  • The Flint Hill Volunteer Fire Department 2016 Annual Benefit Trail Ride will be held Oct. 21-23. Campers may arrive Thursday, October 20 at 2 PM. Registration starts Friday morning at 8:00. One day tickets are $40, and three day tickets are $60. A dinner will be served on Saturday evening for an extra $20 per person.  Beautiful groomed trails with two loops, 9 miles or 17 miles. Contact Deb Miloslavich at honeymoonhollow@hotmail.com for more information.
  • Amelia Springs Trail Ride is Sept. 16-18 in Amelia Springs, Va. Trails are self guided on private Hunt Club property and will be marked for short or long rides. Gates open at 10 a.m.. Friday for camping. Early arrivals welcome on Thursday after 3 p.m. It is a primitive site in an open field. There are no electric hook-ups. There is water, showers and horse wash at the barn. This is a pre-registration ride. The Cost is $65 for adults and $35 for youth (11 – 17) for the entire weekend, which includes camping. Registrations not post-marked by Sept. 6 the cost is $70 for Adults.


Beat the heat of the summer horse shows by catching one of these competitions this fall. Ribbons make the best colors of fall, afterall.

  • 917bb-crossview24
    Costumes are encouraged for all classes at Green Hill Equestrian Center Halloween Fun Show and your sure to find a costume class at other open shows this time of year as well.

    The Virginia Horse Center will host the Hear the Beat Open Horse Show on Sept. 4 in the center’s East Complex. Classes will begin at 8 a.m. and Lesley Morris will judge.

  • The Southwest Virginia Horseman’s Association is holding a Fall Fun Horse Show on Sept. 10 at the New River Fairgrounds in Dublin, Virginia. The show will start at 10 a.m. with game classes, then the fun show will continue at 1 p.m. with classes for English, Western and Gaited horses. Lesley Morris will be the judge. A $5 admission will be collected from spectators.
  • On Sept. 17, the Franklin County Equestrian Club will hold the 3rd Annual Franklin County Fair Open Horse Show at Ginther Farm in Rocky Mount, Virginia. The show includes a wide variety of classes, including over fences, trail, pleasure, gaited, and ranch. Speed/game classes will follow, not to begin before 1 p.m. The show is Blue Ridge Horse Force sanctioned and will be judged by Marty Wood.
  • The New London Horse Show Series finale is set Oct. 22 in Coyote Crossing Cattle Company in Bedford, Va. Wendy Snyder will judge the show, which includes classes for a variety of disciplines including Hunt Seat, Western, Ranch, Mini, Gaited and Speed.
  • Green Hill Equestrian Center Halloween Fun Show will be held Oct. 30 at the equestrian center in Salem, Va. Find a variety of pleasure and game classes to round out the show season. The show is Blue Ridge Horse Force sanctioned. Costumes are encouraged in all classes, so get ready to put your creativity to the test!
  • The Cross View Horse Show series will close its season on Nov. 5-6 at Green Hill Equestrian Center in Salem. The two-day show begins Saturday with hunters. Sunday features an open horse show with a variety of classes on the flat. The show is Blue Ridge Horse Force and Franklin County Equestrian Club sanctioned. Ann Martin will judge on Saturday and Tricia Monzingo will judge Sunday.


Did you find a few weak spots in your riding or your mount’s training? There are some opportunities to get help this fall.

Gabrielle Hooten teaches at the Dressage clinic.
  • Healing Strides will host Steuart Pittman for a cross-country and showjumping clinic, on Sept. 3-4 in Boones Mill, Virginia. Steuart is a nationally-recognized clinician whose prior clinics at Healing Strides have been very popular. He is well regarded for his teaching and training abilities and his positive, fun-loving attitude, which make his clinics both educational and fun. Register by Aug. 26 to ride.
  • Basic Horsemanship/Problem Solving Clinic with Knight Horsemanship (of Jumping Branch, West Virginia) will be held Oct. 29 at Shadow Ridge Stable in Wirtz. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a lunch break. $150/ride $20/audit All riders welcome !Come out and also enjoy a mounted shooting Demo with Bobby Knight. Call to reserve your spot (540) 632-3002
  • Shadow Ridge Stables in Wirtz, Virginia is hosting a Gabrielle Hooten Dressage Clinic on Sept. 3. Spots to ride in this clinic are already full, but auditors are welcome for $10. Because this clinic filled so quickly, Shadow Ridge will offer a second clinic on Oct. 1. Be sure to reserve your spot early by calling 540-632-3002.
  • The Botetourt County Horseman’s Association will host a Lunch & Learn at Green Hill Equestrian Center in Salem on Oct. 1. Come out and ride at Green Hill for the day. A local clinician will also hold sessions. The details of this event are still being worked out, so watch for updates!


Trailer in the shop, horse not up to leaving the farm , don’t have a horse at all or just plain prefer to watch others ride? There are plenty of options for hanging out along the rail this fall. Many riders are closing out their season at championship horse shows and appreciate a crowd cheering them on.

The Virginia State 4-H Championships are held Sept. 15-18 at the Virginia Horse Center.
  • It’s not quite in fall, the the Extreme Mustang Makeover on Aug. 26-28 is not to be missed for any horse training fans. This wild horse training competition will offer two divisions: Youth, ages 8-17, will compete with a mustang they adopt in-hand and adults, ages 18 and over, will ride their assigned mustang in preliminary classes to compete for a spot in the top 10 freestyle finals. This event will award $25,000 in cash and prizes. All adult mustangs will be available for adoption after the event by competitive bid. Bureau of Land Management representatives will be on site to approve interested adopters. All events are free except for Saturday evening. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on-site. Kids 5 and under are Free.
  • The VPHC Color Classic will be held over Labor Day weekend at the Virginia Horse Center. The APHA show showcases top horses in the Paint horse industry in a variety of classes.
  • The Virginia State 4-H Championship Horse and Pony Show will be held Sept. 15-18 at the Virginia Horse Center, featuring 4-H youth from across the state. Plan to stay into the evening on Saturday and attend the championship classes for Horsemanship and Western Pleasure. The Hunter championships are on Sunday.
  • The Virginia Horse Shows Association Championship will be held Nov. 10-13 at the Virginia Horse Center. This show caps a year of hard work by the exhibitors and is a great way to close the season.

For a complete list of equestrian events happening through the end of the year, visit the Roanoke Equestrian Calendar Page.


Green Hill Park Equestrian Center details planned upgrades to arena footing


The Green Hill Park Equestrian Center board has released the plan to upgrade arena footing at the park and is seeking donations to help cover the costs.

The five-phase plan is scheduled to begin this fall with regrading Arena 2 at a cost of $25,000. The project has received $5,000 in Roanoke County Capital Improvement Incentive Fund grant money. Donations also are being collected for this phase. There are a few options for donating to the project.

If you want your contribution to be tax deductible: Write a check made payable to Leisure Legacy, and mail to: Leisure Legacy Inc., 1206 Kessler Mill Rd., Salem, VA 24153. Include a note that it is a donation for Green Hill Park Equestrian Center. Leisure Legacy is at 501C3 organization and 100% of the donation will go to the project. Or go to http://www.leisurelegacy.org, click on the donation tab on the left side, and fill in the information. Make a note in the comment section that it is a donation for Green Hill Park Equestrian Center. Select the pay tab in the right bottom corner. Enter your information to pay through PayPal, which take a percentage, and the balance will go to support the project.

If you do not need a tax deduction: Log on to gofundme.com and search for GHPEC footing improvement (GoFundMe/WePay will take 7.9% and $.30 per donation.) Or you may write a check payable to Green Hill Park Equestrian Center and mail it to:Tamla Nichols, 1557 Bore Auger Rd., Blue Ridge, VA 24064(100% of the donation will go to the project)

Phase II involves upgrading the actual footing in Arena 2. The committee is accepting recommendations for footing options.

Phase III is the upgrade of footing in Arena 1. This phase is contingent on a water-control plan to prevent damage in the future.

And the final phase is the replacement of the fencing for Arenas 1 and 2.

For more information please contact Tamla Nichols at tamlanichols@verizon.net or 540-871- 9891.