BCHA holds 18th Annual Horse Show, adds hunter pace to day’s events

Jill Franceschini and her mare Kelty accept the BCHA Members Only class trophy from association vice president JoAnn Dester.

The Botetourt County Horseman’s Association held it’s annual horse show on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Green Hill Park in Salem. As a new twist on the horse show, the association added a hunter pace to the afternoon, sending riders out on Green Hill Park’s cross country course on a lovely fall ride.

The show included two classes that featured a perpetual trophy to the winner. The BCHA Members Only class was won by Jill Franceschini riding her gray mare Kelty. Along with the trophy, Franceschini also received a free membership renewal with the association.

The Susan Bradley Memorial Arabian Pleasure class, created many years ago to honor one of the club’s founders, was won by Grace Myers riding Shadows Morning Joy.

Grace Myers riding Shadows Morning Joy receive the Susan Bradley Memorial Trophy.

The show also featured a $100-added Jackpot Pleasure class, won by Aubrey Puckett on Hennley. She took home a jackpot of $75 for her win. Other money was split between second and third place horses and a exhibitor drawn at random.

The show, judged by USEF “r” carded Rachel Bandy Witt, featured a wide variety of classes from model in the morning, three over fences divisions in the afternoon, plus pleasure classes for English, Western, Ranch, and Gaited horses. Those were followed by a series of Games classes to round out the day.

Rachel Cook and It’s All About Tonight
Clair Humphreys and Red Badge of Trouble


Grace Myers dressed as a witch for the Costume Class.

Gorgeous fall weekend closes the Cross View Show Series’ 2017 season

Zipposhandsomedevil and Lauren Owen

The Cross View Horse Show Series closed it’s 2017 series, crowning its high point winners for the day and the season at its fall show this past weekend. While the calendar said it was fall, the weather felt more like mid-summer with temperatures well into the mid-80s and the sun shining hot and bright all day.

By the time I arrived on Sunday afternoon, their was a decent, if not spectacular, turnout for the show. I was a bit surprised that more didn’t take advantage of the incredible September weather to come out with their horses. As with each Cross View show, the midway between the two main rings included vendors and games.


Most of the Western classes appeared to have between two and five entries. Five vied for the Jackpot GAYP Pleasure class. Laura Owen took home the largest slice of the jackpot on her sorrel gelding, Zipposhandsomedevil, who she rode without a bridle in the class.


The ranch horse classes were also well attended. Riders in the ranch rail classes were asked to walk, job and lope, but also to extend the jog.

Attire for Western part of the show was very casual for some — I saw ball caps and blue jeans on some — to gemstones and standard pleasure glitz on others. So don’t let your lack of show attire keep you from coming out to complete next year!



Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin CocoChip repeat Virginia 4-H Western Pleasure Classic win

Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin Coco Chip (front)

There’s something inspiring about the Virginia State 4-H Championship Horse Show that’s held every September at the Virginia Horse Center.

Not every truck and trailer you see parked in the lot is brand new, although many are. Not every saddle is covered in silver or every show shirt perfectly tailored and covered in sparkling jewels, although many are. But the atmosphere is every bit as electric as the biggest shows, maybe even more so.

Parents stand on the rail more nervous than if they were showing, muttering instructions and tips even though their children are at the other end of the arena and couldn’t possibly hear. Horses are lovingly prepared to enter what for many will be the biggest show of the year, if not their careers, to make memories that may last the rest of the exhibitors’ lives.

Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin CocoChip placed first and second under the two judges in Horsemanship, taking home the overall championship.

Morgan Strickler of Frederick County is one such exhibitor who is bound to always have great memories of her rides at the 4-H State Championship Show. She was returning to the championship show after winning the Western Pleasure Classic last year on her Appaloosa Ima Glowin CocoChip. Sunday morning, the defending champion made it two in a row. First Morgan won the Horsemanship title in a split judge’s decision (Gillian Davis riding VS Red Solo was first under the second judge), and then she took the Western Pleasure Horse Classic in a unanimous decision. Julia Marie Haney of Prince William County and The Kyrmsun Cowboy were Reserve in the Western Pleasure Horse Classic.




Photos from the Virginia 4-H Championship Horse Show available for purchase are being uploaded now at www.roanokeequestrian.smugmug.com.
Digital copies and print versions are available.


The Classics, which require a qualifying ride in a previous class during the show, are simply a cap to what is a busy weekend at the horse center. The show begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday. The winners of the various class divisions then come back at the end of the show for the “Classic” classes… the best of the best enter the ring to vie for the class title. This year, the Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Hunt Seat Equitation and Horsemanship Classics were held in the East Complex on Sunday morning. But other Classics are held also on both Saturday and Sunday.

Emily Michelle Strom of Henrico County and her gray Arabian KK Dream Catcher

Emily Michelle Strom of Henrico County and her gray Arabian KK Dream Catcher won the Western Pleasure Pony Classic.

In the Hunt Seat Equitation Classic, Holly Kate Longest of James City rode Playing Hooky to victory. Holly was part of a four-horse work-off the required the exhibitors to show at a walk, rising trot, sitting trot and canter without their irons. Reserve went to Marissa Jones of Loudoun on Above the Clouds.

There’s a balance here between everyone getting a shot and the top riders achieving the giant trophy. And the trophies really are enormous — one Classic trophy required two people to carry it into the arena. Disciplines offered are as varied as the ponies. Western, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Dressage, Speed, Reining and even Side Saddle are represented.

What the 4-H State Show has that many other shows seem to lack is a fabulous sense of community. Counties band together, decorate their stalls to a common theme and everyone seems to have their own cheering section when the results came in after each class. There’s a lot that professionals could learn from the youth in that arena.

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Botetourt County Horseman’s Association to hold 18th Annual Horse Show & Hunter Pace Oct. 7.

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The Botetourt County Horseman’s Association will hold its 18th Annual Horse Show on Oct. 7 at Green Hill Park in Salem. The open horse show will include three over-fences divisions, model, showmanship, coached, pleasure, ranch riding, gaited and games classes. Rachel Bandy Witt will judge.

The horse show will also include a $100-added money Jackpot Pleasure class. Money from entries will be contributed to the pot for each of the top 3 placings and a rider drawn at random. The more who enter, the bigger the payout. Entry fees for that class will be $25. All other classes will be $8.

The show also includes a special classes of Arabian exhibitors. The Susan Bradley Memorial Trophy Open Arabian Pleasure class returns to the BCHA show this year. And BCHA members may ride in the BCHA Members Only pleasure class.

Eleven division champions will be crowned, with special prizes to each of those winners. Class winners will also receive prizes beyond the blue ribbon.

New this year, a hunter pace will accompany the horse show. Starting at noon, teams of two may tackle the course. The team closest to the optimal time wins. All jumps are optional and three divisions will be offered, including a trail division for those who just want to ride at a leisurely pace. All disciplines welcome. The cost to ride in the hunter pace is $35/rider for non-members, $25/rider for BCHA members. The hunter pace will run through 3 p.m.


Cross View Horse Show holds July installment of its 2017 series

CrossViewBLOG-0306The Cross View Horse Show series continued last weekend at Green Hill Park Equestrian Center with a two-day horse show. Saturday featured hunters/jumpers and Sunday featured an all-breed open horse show with a special division of gaited horses.

The Cross View series is a great show for all levels of riders looking for a well-run show with a low-pressure, community atmosphere. Along with the competition, vendors also camped out in the grassy section between the two arenas.

Green Hill Equestrian Center offers three arenas with dirt footing. There is a large field across from the arenas for easy trailer parking, even for the largest of rigs. There also limited stalls available. The Green Hill venue does get hot in the summer with limited shade, so bring your pop up canopies or consider arriving early to secure a spot near the woods.

The show moves along fairly quickly. On Sunday, the gaited horses and model/showmanship started the show in separate arenas. The gaited portion was completed by 11 a.m and featured Rocky Mountain Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, Saddlebreds and Peruvian Pasos among the horses shown.

See a photo you love? Photos taken at the Cross View Horse Show can be purchased online by clicking here.

Turnout was good considering the heat in July. Youth classes were particularly well attended with 10-15 in the youth pleasure classes. However the adult classes on Sunday weren’t as well attended and the English pleasure division had just one adult showing this time. Classes run $9/class.

Cross View would hold the last show in its 2017 series on Sept. 23-24 at Green Hill Equestrian Center, where it will crown the high point winners for the entire series.

Below are a sample of photos from the weekend. These photos and many others are available for purchase at roanokeequestrian.smugmug.com.



Roanoke Valley Horse Show continues to evolve at Virginia Horse Center

rvhs cecil wheeler
Ceil Wheeler and Callaway’s Brioni. Photo courtesy of Shiflet Photography
The Roanoke Shenandoah Valley Horse Show returned to the Virginia Horse Center on June 21-25. And while high-steppin’ horses took to the Coliseum to compete for top honors, there were no high jumps in a chase for a title.

While technically this is a continuation of the show once run by the Roanoke Valley Horseman’s Association at the Salem Civic Center and hosted by the Virginia Horse Center in 2016, the show is now under new management, R.H. Bennett, of Shelbyville, Kentucky. 

The 2017 show was a very different affair than what fans will remember from 1972-2014. The hunter/jumper classes that were at the heart of the multi-breed Salem show are no more. Nor are the barrels or Western classes that were traditionally held on Monday. And fans would not find a Grand Prix of Roanoke to cap the event on Saturday night. This year’s show showcased only American Saddlebreds.

The show, begun in 1972, has been granted United States Equestrian Federation designation as a USEF Heritage Competition. The designation is only given to those competitions that have made substantial contributions toward the development of the sport, promote and practice equestrian ideals of sportsmanship, and have been established for a long period of time.

For 2017, there were 103 classes. Horses come from far and wide with  23 states represented. Spectators were admitted at no charge. The Salem show sold tickets to its evening classes.

During this year’s competition, Ceil Wheeler and her own Callaway’s Brioni took home the championship in the ASB Ladies Five Gaited Championship. The reserve champion was presented to Phyllis Brookshire aboard Man on the Move.

Suzanne Wright and Fort Chiswell’s Wild Kiss earned the ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure Adult championship, with the reserve championship going to Jennie Garlington riding Kalarama’s New Moon.

In the Hackney Pony Pleasure Adult Championship, it was Toni Nastali aboard Sandra Surber’s Heartland Resplendent that received the tricolor. The reserve champion in the Hackney division went Patty Hylton riding her own, Crystal Creek’s Legacy.

The win in the ASB Fine Harness Jackpot went to Larry Hodge aboard Trust My Imagination, owned by Hillcroft Farm. Hodge also took home the win in the ASB Five Gaited Jackpot, this time aboard Two Sweet to Kiss.

The ASB Five Gaited Jackpot was dedicated to Matt Shiflet’s grandfather, Claude Shiflet, a trainer whose family has been coming to the Roanoke Valley Horse Show from the beginning. The Shiflet family was honored before the class.


Former Roanoke Valley Horse Show has new name, format

Cross View Horse Show kicks off 2017 season with hunter/jumper classes

The Cross View Horse Show series kicked off on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Green Hill Park Equestrian Center in Salem, Virginia, with hunter/jumper classes before shifting into their open show on Sunday. Saturday saw a good turnout with classes varying in size from just a few riders to numbers reaching into the teens. While the youth divisions are strong, the show still lacks good numbers in the adult divisions.

A variety of classes both over fences and on the flat were held. The day was hot for May and felt more like midsummer than spring, complete with late afternoon thunderstorms rolling in and causing the show to break until they rolled past. Meanwhile, Sunday’s show would be much cooler, with the rain holding off until near the end of the show.

Cross View’s shows feature great prizes, with embroidered chairs going to the high point champions. The atmosphere is professional, yet relaxed. The jumper and hunter rings are separate and the show runs along at a decent clip with two divisions running at the same time. This also leaves the largest arena open for schooling, as well as plenty of space behind the trailers for riding. The show is a great place to take green horses for schooling or young riders for experience. And the great prizes and fun atmosphere makes is an enjoyable show for more experienced teams as well.

While Green Hill Park has been trying to raise funds to upgrade the arenas, the hunter ring (Arena 2) still appeared to be a bit hard with course crushed stone for footing. That arena was regraded last fall and now sports temporary fencing that some may recognize from the Roanoke Valley Horse Show in Salem.

The Cross View Horse Show Series continues on July 15-16. Katie Skelly will judge the hunter/jumper classes on Saturday and Tricia Mozingo will judge the open classes on Sunday. Ken Davis will judge Gaited/Trail/Games on Sunday as well. The series will close Sept. 23-24.

Derby, hunter classic cap hunter competition at Lexington Spring Encore, Premiere at VHC

By Phelps Media Group, Inc.
The kick-off of the 2017 Lexington Spring Premiere is quickly approaching and athletes are preparing for the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby which will take place on Friday, April 28 at 5 p.m. The Virginia Horse Center will host the Lexington Spring Premiere Horse Show from Wednesday, April 26, to Sunday, April 30, immediately followed by the Lexington Spring Encore from Wednesday, May 3, to Sunday, May 7.
The derby competition will take place in Wiley Arena, an outdoor ring stretching 130 feet by 300 feet with footing composed of Kruse Cushion ride. The country’s top horse and rider combinations will compete over Paul Jewell’s hunter course to demonstrate their style during two rounds to win the Laura Pickett Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres Show Stable.
The derby has been a tradition at the Virginia Horse Center for years and most recently it was Virginia native Jason Berry aboard Cobalt Blue R, a Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Oak Ledge Farm, who claimed the title in 2016.
Combinations participating in the Green or High Performance Conformation Hunter Divisions during the Spring Premiere and Encore will be eligible to qualify for the $7,500 Huntland Conformation Hunter Challenge Series. In an effort to promote the growth of the Conformation Hunter divisions in Virginia horse shows, the Challenge Series was created and sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker and Huntland. Qualifying winners must compete at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show where the champion and reserve will be crowned.
New this year for the Lexington Spring Festival is the Trainer Incentive Program, offering one free stall per barn for a trainer-owned, professionally ridden show horse. This program is geared to help professionals in the process of developing young horses for competition.
Moving into the Lexington Spring Encore, the $15,000 Virginia Horse Center Hunter Classic will take center stage on Friday, May 5th at 5 p.m. Any horse participating in at least one of the hunter divisions at Virginia Horse Center is eligible to enter.
Unique to this class, $12,500 will be awarded in Classic prize money, while the remaining $2,500 in the form of a Jr./Amateur bonus, sponsored by Dorna Taintor, for the top six scoring Juniors or Amateurs.
Returning to the Wiley Arena, hunters will complete a Regular Classic Course over a minimum of 10 fences set at 3′ or 3’5″ for the first round. Only the top 12 scoring horses will qualify to compete in a second Classic round over a shortened course.
The Lexington Spring Premiere and Lexington Spring Encore are two of the biggest events of the spring for the Virginia Horse Center. In addition to the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, the Lexington Spring Premiere is a World Champion Hunter Rider Event and features the $30,000 Rockbridge Grand Prix. The $15,000 Virginia Horse Center Hunter Classic takes center stage during the Lexington Spring Encore, followed by the $30,000 George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Grand Prix.

Stonewall Country Horse Show kicks off another show season at Virginia Horse Center

We may be deep into January in Virginia, but it didn’t really feel like it this weekend at the Virginia Horse Center. The Stonewall Country Horse Show brought USEF ‘A’-rated hunter/jumper competition to Lexington. With the weather about 50 degrees, the show felt more like a spring event then one deep in January.

Saturday afternoon was filled with the show’s largest division, the junior hunters, with 16 horses shown.

The show will repeat Feb. 2-5. Here’s hoping the weather is just as fabulous as it was this past weekend.


Gone with the wind: New London Horse Show series closes its 2016 season

An over-achieving mini leaps one of the hurdles in the field set up for trail and mini jumping.

The New London Horse Show held its final show of its 2016 series on Oct. 22 at Coyote Crossing Cattle Company in Bedford County.

The October show was on a beautiful, sunny fall day, except for the unrelenting winds that blew hair bows, arena dust, and anything else not weighed down. Cattle Crossing Cattle Company has a nice, spacious arena with deep footing. The arena is nice and wide and more square than at most shows. There is also a small warm-up arena as well.

The grounds around the arena is rolling hills and the parking is in surrounding pastures and down the hill from the arena in a field. The parking seemed a little bit tight, often inside fenced areas. Larger rigs that are hoping for a pull-through parking spot won’t want to arrive late on a busy show day and may find the parking a little awkward. There was a little shade, but the area was mostly open fields and likely gets very hot in the summer. There are some covered stalls but reserve early if you want to get one as they are limited.

The show, judged by Wendy Snyder, has a wide variety of classes for English, Western, Minis and more. The classes and competition seemed to be appropriate for various levels including beginners. English classes are scheduled at the beginning of the day before switching to Western in the late afternoon. The show is Blue Ridge Horse Force sanctioned and in 2016 partnered with Sprouse’s Corner Ranch Horse Show series for a circuit championship award in five divisions. The circuit championship prizes were an embroidered jacket and an embroidered cooler for the winning rider/horse combination. Proceeds from the show benefit local organizations. October’s show benefited St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.