AQHA Novice Championship slated at Virginia Horse Center

Caitlin Ackerman and Ziptown Doc win Novice amateur hunt seat equitation at the 2012 East Novice Championship. (Quarter Horse Journal photo)

Update: AQHA has now confirmed that the AQHA Level 1 Championships will be held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va. The qualifying period for the 2015 Level 1 Championships is July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015. View the AQHA’s confirmation.

“We are thrilled to announce that, after months of discussion and negotiations, the Novice Championship is coming to the Virginia Horse Center in 2015,” said John Nicholson, consultant to the Virginia Horse Center. “Without question, adding prestigious events like the Novice Championship to the Horse Center’s calendar strongly indicates that it’s not only surviving, it’s thriving. This is the latest in a series of positive developments that are elevating the Virginia Horse Center. Going forward, our goal is to bring more quality equestrian events, like this one, to the Horse Center.”

The Horse Center and the AQHA have agreed to a one-year contract with a two-year option to return.

Update: The Virginia Horse Center previously confirmed the Novice Championship, but in a Facebook post today (Jan. 24) they have clarified that they are still awaiting a decision and confirmation from the AQHA but are optimistic the show is moving to the horse center.

The Virginia Horse Center has confirmed that the AQHA Novice Championship will be coming to Lexington, Virginia, on Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 2015. A representative for the VHC confirmed the show was moving to the center via Twitter and said an official announcement was “coming soon.” If won, the show would be huge for the ailing equestrian facility which on Wednesday announced plans to help it get out of “intensive care” in its quest to get its finances back on track.

In that announcement, VHC treasurer and board member Tom Clarke said, “ “Things are looking very good going forward.” He said in a news release on the center’s website that the horse center “has 80 shows scheduled for this year, up from 73 last year. Although it lost its No. 1 show, the Arabian Sport Horse, the horse center has succeeded in landing the Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. Hunter Breeding National Championship and the AQHA Novice Championship Horse Show.”

The show is also listed on its events calendar.

Last year the AQHA Novice Championship was held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and perhaps the VHC is starting to pull some big shows from other arenas. Clarke said, “We’re methodically cultivating relationships. We’re marketing new shows. … We hope to steal shows from other places. We see this as a positive year.”

The Virginia Horse Center is easily accessible from Interstate 81 and Interstate 64.

The show is continuing to grow. In 2013, there were 1,562 total entries. Last year,  there were 453 rookie entries and 2,273 Level 1 entries. The Virginia Horse Center currently hosts the AQHA Spring Breakout and the Virginia Classic horse shows.

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