Virginia Horse Trials to host cross country schooling days

By Phelps Media Group
VHT1016_XC_Threlkeld-9907The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) will host three Starter Horse Trials and Cross-Country Schooling Days this year at the Virginia Horse Center. The dates of the 2017 VHT Horse Trials Starter Horse Trials, Combined Test and Dressage Schooling show are April 2, a date to be decided in August, and October 1.

These events feature a unique educational format and award excellent prizes from sponsors. On Saturday, the cross-country course will be open for schooling, and the Starter Horse Trials will take place the next day. This year  will offer the opportunity to work with clinician Mark Combs during the cross-country schooling on Saturday.

Horse trials levels range from Green (2’3″) to Preliminary (3’7″). Competitors may choose to compete in all three phases or do a combined test with dressage and their choice of show jumping or cross country. There is also an option for beginner riders to do an Intro dressage test and jump an 18″ stadium course. Riders may also enter to ride standalone USEA, USDF or FEI Eventing dressage tests.

Presenting sponsor Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is giving embroidered quilted saddle pads to the winners of each horse trials division and providing a hospitality tent with beverages and snacks. McCauley’s Equine Formula, Easy Pellett Products, Merial and Buchanan Livestock, LLC have also donated prizes for the April 2, 2017 Starter Trials. Ribbons will be awarded through sixth place.

“Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is proud of its long history of collaboration with the Virginia Horse Center and the Virginia Horse Trials. We are always excited to participate in the horse trials each year,” said Dr. Donovan Dagner, BREC President. “This year we are looking forward to an increasing role in the expansion of the Virginia Starter Trials and their new ties to the War Horse Event Series at the Carolina Horse Park. The War Horse Event Series is a great community event in support of noble and worthy causes.”

All three 2017 VHT Starter Trials will be considered qualifiers for the $20,000 War Horse Event Series Championship taking place at the Carolina Horse Park November 11-12, 2017. To be eligible for the Championship, a horse and rider must either A) place 1st or 2nd once or complete all three schooling shows at the Virginia Horse Trials or B) place 1st through 6th once or complete all five schooling shows at the Carolina Horse Park.


Brooke Cole rides Emoji to top of hunter division at Hollins Spring Welcome

By Phelps Media Group, Inc.
The Hollins Spring Welcome Horse Show, which was held at the Virginia Horse Center, concluded on Sunday, March 5, with talented riders claiming championship victories in numerous national rated hunter divisions and USEF 1* jumper classes.

Brooke Cole and Emoji toped the Amateur Owner hunter division. Photo courtesy Teresa Ramsay

The championship title in the 3’3″ Amateur Owner Hunter division was awarded to Brooke Cole and her 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Emoji, who is called ‘Gibson’ at home. The duo also won the $1,000 Hollins Spring Welcome Amateur Owner Hunter Classic.

“The best part about Gibson is the reassuring feeling of knowing that he has so much power and scope that I know he can get me out of any difficult situation I put him in” Cole said. “He didn’t have a lot of show experience before I got him about a year and a half ago, but he has really come along quickly. Gibson is so quiet and kind and always tries to do what I ask of him.”

As an amateur rider, Cole, of Rockville, Virginia, seamlessly manages balancing both work and riding, winning blue ribbons with little time to herself.  She is a graduate of Bridgewater College where she rode on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team, showing in intermediate on the flat and intermediate over fences.

“I am a braider, and I usually don’t show and braid in the same week because I don’t like to show when I have had to stay awake all night. I got about 3-4 hours of sleep between Thursday and Sunday, so I was really counting on Gibson to step up this weekend,” Cole said. “Winning this weekend was extra special for me. I was just hoping I could remember my courses correctly, so to win on top of it was really the icing on the cake. I couldn’t have done it without the support from my barn though. They were there every step of the way, offering help whenever I needed it.”

Chris Wynne and Up. Photo courtesy Teresa Ramsay

Chris Wynne and Up, a 9-year old Zangersheide gelding owned by Reann Jones, took home the tricolor in the Performance Working Hunter division after winning the blue ribbon in all but one of the divisions classes.

“I sold Up to Reann Jones at our barn last year,” said Wynne. “I’m just keeping him tuned up in the 3’3″ division while Reann is catching on to everything. Hopefully they can be competing in the 3′ Amateur Hunters by the end of this year.”

Topping the Child/Adult Jumper division, Michael Mahoney and his 15-year-old gelding Remonta Haron took home the championship. Mahoney was given the talented gelding in November of 2010, asked only to provide the horse a loving forever home in return. In 2012, at the Atlanta Summer Classic II horse show, the duo claimed the individual and team children’s gold medal in the inaugural U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s Children’s and Adult Amateur South Regional Jumper Championships.

‘Great indoor setting’

The Virginia Horse Center provides an unparalleled experience for both horse and rider and with recent upgrades being completed in time for the competitive summer show season, competitors readily commented on the value in the improvements that the staff at the VHC are making to their facility.

“The horse center has had an upward trend of being exhibitor friendly,” remarked Chris Wynne, a Virginia Beach native. “It was very much a great indoor setting, the rings and jumps were decorated beautifully, and it’s great to see how exhibitors have become an even bigger priority for the Virginia Horse Center.”

“I think the best part about the facility is the friendly and caring staff,” said Brooke Cole. “They are always helpful and accommodating. The stalls are large, which is great when you have a big horse like I do, and the facility has a ton of rings so there is always a place to ride or prepare.”

With the conclusion of the Hollins Spring Welcome, the Virginia Horse Center is now preparing for its many spring events including the Lexington Spring Premiere Horse Show from April 27 – May 1, 2017.

Chilly weekend not a problem at Green Hill Park Winter Series horse show

Showmanship featured several row’s worth of competitors. Tabitha Thompson took home the blue.

March was serving up a little late-winter chill with a side of nippy breeze last weekend (March 5) as Green Hill Park Equestrian Center held the second show of their annual Winter Series. But the sun was warm and plenty of exhibitors came to Salem ready to show.

While many early season shows are usually full of green horses acting a bit silly, Sunday’s show was full of nice classes of horses trotting around quietly like they had been doing it all year. Judge Ken Davis had a lovely group of horses and riders to judge in several pleasure classes.

Classes were large enough to be split in several cases into junior and senior divisions and Showmanship had several rows of competitors lined up. The pleasure classes actually seemed to be more popular than the games such as the potato race and flag race. There were no competitors in the usually popular Costume class.

Starting at 11 a.m., the show was done by 3:30 p.m., giving everyone plenty to time to get back to the barn before dark.

Staunton River High School student and her mini horse, Cash, bring joy to hospitals, schools, and even Virginia’s leaders

Sarah Shinault and Cash in Richmond

Two years ago, Sarah Shinault, now 14 and a freshman at Staunton River High School, asked for a mini for Christmas. Her parents, Steven and Robin Shinault — who are both respiratory therapists at Carilion in Roanoke and very supportive of her love for horses — got her Cash, an Appaloosa-colored mini yearling, for her that Christmas.

cash07Sarah has riding horses that she shows in hunter shows but she wanted a mini. She and Cash, who will be 3 in June, completed Pet Partners training and the pair are now a certified therapy team. They were the first certified miniature horse therapy team in the Roanoke area and one of only eight teams certified in the state. Cash has his own van, the Cashmobile, that is used to transport him, along with Sarah, to their appointments, with Robin Shinault acting as chauffeur. 

Cash and Sarah go to Berkshire Nursing Home and the pediatric unit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Medical Hospital unit regularly to visit patients. The two also have visited Patrick Henry High School. When the visits are done, Cash is treated to a drive-through meal from McDonald’s: French fries and apple slices. He eats the Apple slices and kicks the salt from the French fries.

Recently, Cash and Sarah made a different kind of visit. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Virginia Horse Council sponsored a Youth Recognition Day at the General Assembly in Richmond. Young equestrians from all over the Commonwealth came to Richmond and were introduced from the gallery of the General Assembly by Rep. Terry Austin (R-19th District) and Emmett Hanger (R-24th) with thanks for their dedication. 

About 500 people stopped by to meet the young people and the horses, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Sarah and Cash were there to greet the crowd and Cash shared a chat with the governor. Griffin SportHorses of Gretna, Virginia, also brought two of their superstars, a Friesian gelding and a Gypsy Vanner stallion, for the enjoyment of the legislators.

Perfect Partners Equine to hold 2 trail ride clinic weekends along New River this summer

Riders enjoy the scenery along the New River.

Joe and Penny Most’s Perfect Partner Equine, which holds clinics, trail obstacle challenges, equine excursions and retreats throughout the U.S., will hold a series of six trail horse events in 2017. Two of those events will be right here in Southwest Virginia along the New River in Ivanhoe.

The events are designed specifically for trail riders to have fun on their horses.

The PPE Trail Horse Challenge & Clinic Weekend will be held from June 8-11. Trail horse workshops and obstacle challenge classes will be available along with group activities and miles of trails along the beautiful New River.  The Trail Horse Challenge & Clinic Weekend will be repeated Aug. 3-6.

Held at the Ivanhoe Show Grounds at 527 Trestle Road, the event is open to all breeds and all disciplines and no memberships are required to take part. Thursday and Friday will feature a trail horse clinic and workshops.

Trail Horse Riding Clinics include using the same basics, cues for going forward, backing up, emergency stops, and giving to the bit, as does the regular Rider’s Clinic. It also addresses such things as “jigging” on the trail, crossing streams and bridges, and problems that arise while riding with other horses. The added pleasure of this Clinic is to enjoy the beauty of the out-of-doors and our wonderful location.  

  • Thursday 2:30pm-6pm  Trail Horse Ground & Handling Workshop will focus on building respect on the ground, managing tools and liberty skills.  All horse owners at some point will need the skills to be able to work with their horse at liberty (no halter, no lead).  
  • Friday AM 9am-12:30 pm  Trail Horse Riding Workshop focusing on refinement  while building better body control, confidence & safety on the trail. 
  • Friday PM  2:30pm-6pm  Trail Horse Riding Workshop focusing on navigating & mastering trail obstacles.  Doing simple things very well. 

Registration is required and horses should have trail experience.

The Trail Horse Competition will consist of two parts in 4 divisions (All Breed  Adult & Youth (youth 6-18yrs); AQHA Adult & Youth (youth 6-18yrs):

  1. Obstacle Challenge Course (consists of 6-8 obstacles with different levels of challenge for the trail horse)
  2. Trail Patterns Class (consists of a pattern with transitions, speed control & some obstacles. 

The weekend will also include a Meet & Greet campfire, Barn Party Potluck and trail riding.

Primitive camping is available with room for tie lines or portable fencing. RV Hookups and stalls/pens are available 2 miles from the event.


  • Workshops $100.00 per rider per session (3 different sessions available)
  • Challenge Course Classes $35.00 per rider/per horse
  • Grounds/Office fee per rider $25.00 for entire weekend.
  • A grounds fee of $25 will be charged to all riders.

For more information, go to their website by clicking here. Or find them on Facebook.

Botetourt County Horseman’s Association sets annual used tack sale


The Botetourt County Horseman’s Association will hold its Annual Spring Tack ‘n Trade Sale on March 11 in Daleville from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The sale fills the VFW on Route 220 between Daleville and Fincastle with all types of used tack and other horse supplies, with vendors also spilling out into the parking lot. Last year’s sale included used horse trailers, saddles, clothing, blankets, halters, bits, helmets, boots and more.

Those with tack to sell can purchase a table for $12. For more information or to register contact JoAnn Dester at 540-473-1422 or email at Registration deadline is March 4.

Green Hill Park Equestrian Center seeks volunteers for work day

The footing in Ring 1 at Green Hill Park Equestrian Center has suffered water damage from the recent rainfall. Before the footing can be replaced the rocks must be removed. There will be a rock pickup work day on Tuesday, January 31, starting at 3:30 p.m. at the park. Please email if you can help.

The Green Hill Park Equestrian Center has been working to improve the footing at the facility. The five-phase plan began last fall with regrading Arena 2 at a cost of $25,000. The project 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 advertised in 2016.



Stonewall Country Horse Show crowns hunter classic, other champions

By Phelps Media Group, Inc.

The Stonewall Country Horse Show I, a four-day show that benefits the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, concluded its first week of competition with hunter and jumper riders claiming titles in many of its numerous “A” rated divisions.

The championship title in the Junior Hunter Classic and the reserve championship in the Large Junior Hunters was awarded to young rider Mary McDaniel, who trains with Anne Garnett Wheeler of Rose Mount Farm. McDaniel and her mount Cala Millor clinched the victory after an already successful 2016 show season where the pair claimed the Zone 3 Hunter Championship in the Younger Large Junior division.

Mary McDaniel and trainer Anne Garnett Wheeler with Cala Millor at the Stonewall Country Horse Show I. Photo Courtsey of Anne Garnett Wheeler

“Cala is an elegant, dependable mare that is a joy to ride,” Wheeler said. “We are headed to Ocala for the Winter Circuit and looking to qualify for Devon in the spring.”

Jamie Auletto and Carla, owned by Suzanne Auletto of Briar Hill Farm in Tabernacle N.J., took home the blue in the Amateur Owner Classic.

Cismont Manor’s Shakespeare and Jason Berry took the tricolor in the Conformation Hunter division. Owned by Douglass and Kenny Wheeler, Jr., Cismont Manor has been the home of numerous top hunter horses.

“Shakespeare loves to perform at shows and is very business-like when preparing for his classes,” said Kenny. “Jason has his own stable and drives more than an hour each way daily to ride mine.  He is a perfectionist and works hard for me.”

The High Performance Green Hunter tricolor was awarded to Chris Wynne of Breckenridge Manor and Devoted, a 12-year-old Chestnut Gelding owned by Victoria Skelding.

“Devoted is a horse that we’ve had now for three years. We brought him along in the pre-greens and now he is doing the First Year Green Hunters, or 3’6″ Green as it is called now. We brought him as a 2-year-old in Europe, unbroken, and we’ve had the whole journey with him which has been exciting,” Wynne said. “He puts a lot of effort into everything he does and a lot of times it makes him the winner of the class. We are very blessed to have seen him develop since he was a 2-year-old, that is something that just never happens anymore.”

The Stonewall Country Horse Show II, Feb. 2-5, will offer “A” rated hunter and jumper classes, schooling classes, and USHJA Outreach classes. The affordable schooling and Outreach classes give exhibitors the ability to school their younger horses before the start of summer season.

In addition to the Outreach classes, Stonewall Country II will provide junior equitation competitors the opportunity to earn valuable points in the WHIS, ARIAT, and the THIS Children’s Medal. Some of these classes can qualify a junior rider for the Amy Tlvisaker Reistrup Equitation Challenge, hosted each year at the Lexington National Horse Show.

Hollins Spring Welcome Horse Show returns to Virginia Horse Center in March

hollinsThe Hollins Spring Welcome Horse Show will return to the Virginia Horse Center March 2-5 and will feature a variety of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes. The Spring Welcome is a “National/A” rated show and will have USEF 1* Jumper classes as well as USHJA Outreach classes.

Hollins University has had a competitive equestrian program since the 1930s. In the past 30 years, Hollins students have won 18 national individual championships and four have gone on to win the coveted Cacchione Cup. As a team, Hollins has won the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Team Honors twice.

The March show will include a $1,000 WIHS/NAL Children’s & Adult Hunter Classics, $1,000 Hollins Amateur Owner Hunter Classic, $1,000 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Stake, a $1,000 Hollins Junior Hunter Classic, a $500 Hollins Pony Hunter Classic and a $225 Hollins Children’s Pony Hunter Classic. The show also includes several other special awards and perpetual trophies.

The show will use four arenas at the horse center, including the Coliseum. Judges are Chance Arakelian of Rancho Santa Fe, California, E. Sue Bopp of Remington, Virginia, Randy Henry of Castle Rock, Colorado and Judy Spitzer of Mount Sidney, Virginia.

Eventing in Virginia sets Jumper Derby Jan. 28 and Feb. 11 at Virginia Horse Center

Eventing In Virginia

At the Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, VA

January 28 & February 11, 2017

Points will count for Eventing In Virginia year end awards!

A Jumper Derby combines stadium jumps and cross country jumps that might typically be encountered at an event or horse trial. This is a good test of your horse’s willingness to jump a mix of fences or varied terrain. This competition is open to any eventer, hunter or jumper who wants to practice for the upcoming season or wants to add a little variety and fun to their jumping. Anyone who wants to have fun in a low key casual atmosphere is welcome!!!

All Divisions will consist of 3 rounds:

Round 1: Optimum time round. Set course, the rider with the least amount of penalties and closest to optimum time wins. (time will not be disclosed prior to the round until all riders  have gone).

Round 2: Speed round with Jump off. Set course, if clear rider can stay for jump off round after bell or whistle. Least penalties and fastest time wins.

Round 3: Gambler’s Choice round. All obstacles will have a set value, each rider will be given a set amount of time to jump as many of these obstacles clear as possible, the rider with the most points at the end of the division wins.

Entry Fees:

  • $25/class or $65/division plus $20 Grounds fee applies to every horse not stabling PRE-ENTRIES ONLY! TIMES WILL BE ASSIGNED PROIR TO EVENT!
  • Entries close Wednesday, January 25.
  • Entries available online or mail them to Eventing In Virginia, PO Box 13, Greenville, VA 24440. PayPal available.  Make checks payable to GC Equestrian/Brookhill

Divisions: if enough entries will divide into Senior/Junior

Tadpole – Rails on the ground up to 6 – 8 inches tall

Green – Fences up to 18” tall

Advanced Green –2’0 – 2’3 verticals

Beginner Novice – 2’4 -2’7 verticals & oxers

Novice – 2’8 – 2”11 verticals & oxers – may have fake Liverpool and skinny

Training – 3’0- 3’3 verticals, oxers – may have Liverpool, corner and skinny

Preliminary – 3’4 – 3’7- verticals, oxers may have Liverpool, corners & skinnies, bounces

Intermediate/Advanced – 3’7-4’3 verticals, oxers, Liverpool, corners & skinnies, bounces.


General Rules and Regulations:

  • Generally run according to USEA rules where applicable. The organizer further reserves the right to combine or split classes within the division if entries warrant. No classes will be run out of order.
  • Entries available online or mail them to Eventing In Virginia, PO Box 13, Greenville, VA 24440. PayPal available.  Make checks payable to GC Equestrian/jumper derby
  • No unauthorized assistance will be allowed. Riders must perform their courses from memory
  • Horses may be competed in up to 2 consecutive divisions
  • Attire: Informal but neat and tidy. SEI/ASTM Helmets are required. Medical armbands strongly recommended.
  • Tack & equipment: only running martingales are permitted.
  • Courses will be open for walking the night before the event, the morning of prior to 8am and just prior to each division. Arena will be open for flat schooling only the day before and prior to 8am the morning of. Competition will begin no earlier than 8am.
  • Ribbons 1st – 6th for each class and Champion and reserve champion for each division. All points accumulated will go towards Eventing In Virginia 2016 year end awards.
  • Event will fill in a first come first serve basis
  • Please include current coggins with the registration form
  • $5 off total discount for Area 2 Adult Riders members and Pony Club member, must have proof!
  • Address: Maury River Road, Lexington, VA
  • Stabling: On grounds, $30/stall per day
  • For more information, please email Gammon Castellvi (