One of the great things about having the Virginia Horse Center in our backyard is the region gets to play host to some of the best equestrian competitions in the nation. Last weekend promised to be another one of those times with the APHA Eastern National Championship pulling into the facility for four days.
Competition was top-notch with quality horses being shown as one would expect of such a show. But the entries perhaps were a bit lighter than one would have thought of a national championship show.
APHA reports that the show drew 126 horses in 13 divisions. Most classes had fewer than 10 entries. So while it the show was run beautifully and had truly spectacular prizes, it didn’t, in the end, feel like a big show.
The show was aimed at bringing top-notch competition to new areas of the country.
“By taking the excitement of a top-level event and bringing it closer to our Eastern Paint Horse exhibitors, we hoped to invite new faces to dream big and compete for these prestigious titles and awards,” Senior Director of APHA Events Holly Slaughter said. “We were thrilled to welcome several exhibitors competing with APHA for the first time, along with strong numbers in many divisions.”
The turnout and enthusiasm at the Eastern event indicate the growth potential for the National Championship series, APHA Executive Director Billy Smith says.
The Western National Championship is set for October 16–19 in Las Vegas.
“The interest shown for both our 2019 National Championships indicates a gap existing within our horse show landscape,” Billy said. “These national shows fulfill a need for regional exhibitors seeking the thrill of a prestigious championship-level event located a little closer to home. We’re optimistic about this series and look forward to growing them further in the future.”