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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
OPEN HORSE SHOWS
Beat the heat of the summer horse shows by catching one of these competitions this fall. Ribbons make the best colors of fall, afterall.
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.
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!
GREAT HORSE WATCHING
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.
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.
Some of the best young horses in the country will come together on August 27 at The Virginia Horse Center for the 2016 Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. Hunter Breeding East Coast National Championship as part of the Virginia Young Horse Festival.
Highlights will include the East Coast Best Young Horse Championship class and a party Saturday night at 5 p.m. in celebration of the Sallie B. Wheeler Hunter Breeding Championship. Several USEF Championship trophies also will be awarded on Saturday including The Dave Kelley Perpetual trophy, which will be awarded to the Overall Grand Hunter Breeding Champion; The J. Arthur Reynolds trophy, awarded to the breeder of the Overall Grand Hunter Breeding Champion; and The Foxwick Farm Perpetual Trophy awarded to the leading Thoroughbred.
On Friday, Aug. 26, the horse center will host a C-rated breeding show as part of the Virginia Young Horse Festival.
The Grand Prix of Roanoke had a new venue and a new champion for 2016, as Brooke Kemper rode her 12-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding Classified to the top spot for the $25,000 prize Saturday, June 26, at the Virginia Horse Center.
The 12-time winner of the Grand Prix of Roanoke, Aaron Vale, was not part of the field of 11 at the show’s new venue at the Virginia Horse Center.
As a large crowd of spectators looked on, Kemper, of Shadow Pond Stables in Culpeper, Virginia, was clear in her first ride and then clear again in the jump-off with a time of 37.258. She just barely edged out Maryann Charles and FVF Sailorman, who jumped a double clear with a time of 37.279.
Also in the jump-off round was Tyler Smith riding Soho D’Ermisserie, who had a double clear with a time of 41.763, and Gavin Moylan riding Pernod, who had four faults and a time of 35.411.
Maryann Charles and Sailorman
Tyler Smith and Soho D’Ermisserie
Brooke Kemper also rode Classified to a win in the Rockbridge Grand Prix at the Virginia Horse Center in 2015. She was third in the George L. Ohrstrom Grand Prix at the horse center in May. Kemper grew up on her parents’ Kemper Knoll Farm near Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her mother, Darlene, is a riding instructor, while her father, Whit, is a full-time farmer.
Virginia Tech’s annual Emily Jane Hilscher Memorial Show has been scheduled for April 22-23 at the Alphin Stuart Arena in Blacksburg. The show is held in memory of Emily Jane Hilscher, a Virginia Tech equestrian team member and animal and poultry sciences freshman who was killed in the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech.
The horse show is run using donations from local companies, alumni and friends. All the money collected at the horse show goes to a scholarship fund for Animal & Poultry Science majors who represent good academic standing, amazing character and a strong work ethic. The show is currently seeking sponsors/donations. Visit http://kburke08.wix.com/ejhmhs#!boarding-options/cxxj or email email@example.com for more information.
The show is one of two 4-H qualifiers in the southwest Virginia area and is also SWVHJA sanctioned. Saturday’s classes include over fences in the morning and hunter and dressage classes in the afternoon. Sunday features Western classes including pleasure, horsemanship, ranch riding, racking, trail obstacle challenge and speed. Find the class schedule here.
We’ve got the Easter holiday behind us and Spring has taken hold in the region (thank goodness!). Now it’s time for the horse shows to really get into full swing. This weekend is headlined by a horse auction.
VIRGINIA HORSE CENTER
The Great American Trail Horse competition and horse sale is this weekend in Anderson Coliseum. The annual auction will be at noon on Saturday and is held for trail horses of all breeds and budgets. Find a catalog here. Photos/Videos of many of the sale horses can be found here. The unique feature of this sale is the $2,000 added, trail horse competition starting at 7 p.m. on Friday. The competition is open only to the horses consigned in the sale. The top 10 horses will be selected to come back Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. for the finals. Friday will also include demonstrations. See a schedule here.
In the center’s East Complex, The Lee Jackson Classic (APHC) will be hosted by the Senandoah-Blue Ridge Appaloosa Association. Judges are Tony Burris, David Johnson, & Gayle Matson-Kozak. The Lee Jackson is the only regional Appaloosa show held in Virginia and offers classes for youth, non-pro, games, heritage, over fences and non-pro walk-trot and ranch pleasure. Find a class schedule here.
A deep plunge of cold air is coming just in time for Valentine’s Day this year, which may not make you enjoy heading out with the horses quite so much. But if your heart yearns only for horses, no matter the weather, you can still feed that hunger.
VIRGINIA HORSE CENTER
The Polar Bear Horse Show is a very aptly named event this year. The hunter schooling show will be held in the East Complex at the center. The event includes classes on the flat and over fences and begins at 8:30 both Saturday and Sunday. Casual attire is permitted except in the equitation classes. Find the schedule of classes here.
TAKE A ROAD TRIP
Clinic: Lana Affemann Performance-Horses and Stark Performance Horses will be holding a clinic on grooming your horse and showing in halter and showmanship Feb. 14-15 in Smithfield, Va. (4-hour drive from Roanoke.) For more information or to RSVP, contact Hillary Stark at Hrstark184@yahoo.com or (757)705-3648.
Gymnastics Clinic with Paul Ebersole at Morven Park’s indoor arena in Leesburg, Va. (3-hour drive). Lessons will last one hour for groups of three or four riders, for all levels from Green horses and going up through the Eventing levels (Baby BN, BN, N,T,P,I) Ebersole will also offer a cross country clinic Feb 28-Mar 1st at Morven. Cost is $90 per horse which includes Morven’s ring fee. Auditors are welcome to watch at no charge. To sign up, please email Pat Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d rather just stay wrapped up in a blanket inside during this bitter weekend, thankfully these days you can do so and still be at the horse show.
The USEFnetwork is streaming several events live this weekend from Ocala, Florida. Thursday at 2 p.m. is the $34,000 FEI Thursday Prix. Friday at 1 p.m. watch the $200,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup. Forget the packed restaurants on Valentine’s Day and make your reservation with your computer for the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular at 7 p.m. instead. On Sunday, close out the weekend with the $150,000 FEI Ocala Grand Prix CSIO4* at 2 p.m.
The AQHA Novice Championship appears to be coming to Lexington, Virginia, on Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 2015 at the Virginia Horse Center. This is a huge win 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 pointed out 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.
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 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.
We just had our first messy snowfall and the recent single-digit temperatures here in the Roanoke Valley may have you feeling a bit fuzzy, but that doesn’t mean the horse world has ground to a stop. And now when your own horse activities may have slowed down for the winter is when you just might need that horse fix the most. Here are this weekend’s activities, plus some things to look forward to.
The Stonewall Country Horse Show: This show is USEF “A” rated Hunter and Jumper horse show. This event is owned and operated by the VHCF and managed by Leslie Brown and will be held in the Anderson Coliseum and the East Complex arena. Judges are Phoebe Sheets and Downing Nyegard. Find a schedule of classes on the prize list. Note: Braiding is optional in all classes and divisions. The show will open Thursday at 7 a.m. with Working Hunter classes all day in the Coliseum. On Friday, Working Hunters will be in the Coliseum and Jumpers in the East Complex. Saturday will feature Children’s Hunters and Amateur Hunters in the Coliseum for the morning and afternoon with Open and Junior Working Hunters toward the end of the day. The East Complex will host pony hunters and short stirrup classes throughout the day with much the same schedule layout for Sunday as well. This show benefits the VHCF, an facility that has become incredibly important in the Virginia’s horse industry. This show will repeat on Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the VHC.
Winter Schooling: If you are simply seeking for a great place to ride during the winter months, the Virginia Horse Center is open for schooling through March 1. Call the Stable Office at 540-464-2966 for reservations.
Maryland Horse World Expo:(4 hour drive from Roanoke) The Horse World Expo will return to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland, this weekend. (4 hour trip from Roanoke) Daily admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 6-12. Younger than 6 are free. The Expo includes seminars, clinics, demonstrations, stallion avenue and parade of breeds, and of course shopping. This year’s speakers include Roxanne Bowman on saddle fitting, Olympian (Eventing) Stephen Bradley, Dana Bright on Driving, Kenny Harlow on training and AQHA judge and auction manager Mike Jennings on Buying and Selling horses. For a full list of speakers visit www.horseworldexpo.com/MDbios.shtml.
Dressage Clinic with Britta Johnston, Understanding, Starting and Perfecting the Flying Change: A lecture discussing the flying change will begin at 12:30 p.m., Saturday at Capriole Farms in Catlett, Va. (3 hours drive from Roanoke) Horses working on flying changes will follow. Rides: $90 for a 45 minute lesson $20 for day stall, limited number. Auditors: $10.
Polar Bear School Show, Feb. 14-15, Virginia Horse Center East Complex
Stonewall Country Horse Show, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, Virginia Horse Center