Botetourt County Horseman’s Association holds 19th annual horse show

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The Botetourt County Horseman’s Association held its 19th annual horse show at Green Hill Park in Salem, Virginia, last Saturday. With a variety of classes including model, over fences, pleasure, ranch and games, there was something for everyone to enjoy. And if you really prefer a trail ride, it had that as well by using the whole park and offering a hunter pace from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Many of the classes were also sanctioned for points by Blue Ridge Horse Force and Franklin County Equestrian Club.

Although Saturday’s weather was warm for October, it felt like fall as the show held a taste of early Halloween with the costume class. Three entries made it very difficult on the judge to choose a winner. With two unicorns and a football, the football came out on top after the judge called a pow-wow of the BCHA board to come to a decision.

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The hunter classes appeared to be especially popular with several classes having entries in the double digits. However, entries for the Western classes and games were light. Even the showmanship classes were empty. Ranch pleasure was one of the stronger Western classes, with 5 entries.

This show has a special class just for Arabians — the Susan Bradley Memorial Trophy Arabian Pleasure. While in 2017, there were just two entered in this class, this year saw eight entries. Chloe Thomas riding DLA DreamsAmastar took home the perpetual trophy for the year.

The Jackpot pleasure included $100-added, and the winner took home $70 of the pot. Meanwhile, even an entry picked at random after the class was judged won $25, paying for their price to enter the class. Lillian Cunningham, riding Faircourt First Blush, won the jackpot with Audrey Ann Mosby, on Pastel Moonbeamz, took reserve.

The association also holds a class just for its members. This year the giant perpetual trophy added Clair Humphrey’s name to the list of winners. She rode her palomino gelding, Red Badge of Trouble, for the win.

The participants seemed to greatly enjoy the day. One review posted on Facebook showed the appreciation that was had by those that attended. Katie Gardner of Otteridge Farm, LLC, said of the show: “This sweet little fun show needs more attention. All of us at Otteridge Farm sincerely appreciate the effort that was made to provide a nice day!”

Today we attended the 19th Annual BCHA Horse Show & Hunter Pace put on by the Botetourt County Horseman’s Association and held at Green Hill Park in Salem. They had the clever idea to fully utilize the grounds by having a hunter pace in conjunction with their show. I had absolutely NO idea what to expect, having had no previous experience with this group, but Lynda McGarry was judging, and I like and respect her and know her to be fair, sporting and professional and with a real desire for kids to be successful, and I know the facility and what jumps they have to work with, so I figured we’d go.
It was terribly inexpensive ($9/class, $25 for juniors to hunter pace, no other fees) and just under an hour from home, so it needed to be put to good use by at least some of my group. I wound up with Casey and Hana hunter pacing Bandit and Lacey, and Lillian and Cuppie showing Ingrid and Split. I will say the hunter ring could use a couple of adjustments in terms of translating the show from what is printed in the prize list to what is happening in reality (and I’m not griping, I’ll be happy to help if asked), but we all wound up on the same page eventually and had a very good day. (This has nothing to do with the management of this show, but as an aside, Green Hill Park really needs to step it up and repair their jumps or get some new ones. I’ve course designed out there multiple times this year and it’s a challenge to provide a good hunter course.)
I appreciate the level of classes offered and think the class offerings are exactly what they should be for this show, without having too many classes, which was SMART. What I really want to address is the effort that was made by this Association to produce a really, really fun day for these kids. The ribbons and prizes were just absolutely outstanding, and the grunt work done by management to secure the sponsorships necessary to give NICE prizes at a horse show this inexpensive absolutely should be applauded. Every first place ribbon got a prize bag — we brought home all manner of useful stuff that kids love to win. Champions got trophies. There was a money class — my Lillian won it and brought home $70, which more than covered her total show bill! We were greeted at check-in with baggies of horse treats. They had a photographer, who was personable and handed out business cards. The office process was seamless. My older girls tell me the hunter pace course was really enjoyable, well thought out, had jumps of enough size to be fun, and proved to be an outstanding outing for our seasoned field hunter to educate our green horse. They needed a hand down the steep drop to the first water crossing and I was tied up ringside with my little one, whereupon the announcer handed off her microphone, left the booth and saw to it that they had the leading assist they needed, then was so kind to them in our conversation later when they found out they had won.
Also, I saw many/most horses and ponies prepared with obvious care for the show, clean and happy-looking with riders dressed in their best. The two Saddleseat Arabs I saw in particular were just lovely in their presentation — there was a special Arabian trophy so the contingent vying for that had taken extra pains to look nice and it was very clear and most refreshing. And y’all know I’m not an Arab person — but I sure did see a group of well-behaved and well-presented ones today.
In short, this sweet little fun show needs more attention. All of us at Otteridge Farm sincerely appreciate the effort that was made to provide a nice day!!
— Katie Gardner, Otteridge Farm LLC via Facebook

What makes this show stand out among the shows often held at Green Hill Park are the prizes. First place winners got a package of loot along with their ribbon. A $100-added pleasure class is nothing to sneeze at. And the hunter pace winners got their own gift packages donated by Saddles n’ Stuff. Everyone got something. All participants got a welcome goody bag filled with horse treats and other items just for registering.

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Eileen Beckman of Otteridge Farm in Bedford inducted into Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame

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Eileen Beckman was inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame on Sept. 15, 2018 at Virginia Tech. Photo courtesy of the Lynda McGarry

Eileen Brent Beckman, of Otteridge Farm in Bedford, Virginia, was inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame last week at Virginia Tech.

Beckman, well-known for breeding and raising champion hunter ponies, was nominated for the honor by the Virginia Horse Council.

Born in 1918, Beckman was not raised in a horse-riding family. But the love of horses still prevailed. In the 1940s she bought and rode a thoroughbred hunter, Ramos, to great success. After serving in the Red Cross — where she met her husband, Carl — and living in Chicago for a bit, she would move to Virginia and establish the famed Otteridge Farm. There at the base of the Peaks of Otter, she taught riding lessons and bred champion hunter ponies.

Beckman is a founding member and past president of the Virginia Pony Breeder’s Association and also is in the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame.

Eileen Beckman on Ramos
Eileen Beckman on Ramos.  — Photo courtesy of Off Track Thoroughbreds

Beckman was a firm believer that breeding success lied in researching pedigrees. She told The Chronicle of the Horse in 2007, “In the beginning, I really had no idea what I was doing. I would look and see what everyone else was doing and just give it a try. But I think that I’ve been blessed with a pretty good eye. My husband used to say, ‘Eileen you come home with the worst looking things and they turn out just fine.’ ”

Among the farm’s many success stories were Otteridge Dreaming Of Blue, Otteridge Dress Blues, Otteridge Black Hawk, Otteridge Pow Wow, Otteridge Foxtrot, Otteridge Up In Lights and Otteridge French Twist.

Otteridge Farm has always placed a great emphasis on breeding ponies with great temperaments and that can be handled by children. Poor temperaments are not tolerated in their breeding program and there are no stallions standing at the farm.

Eileen Beckman died in May 2010 at the age of 91. Otteridge Farm’s tradition as a top-notch breeding program continues, with Beckman’s family, including daughter Randee Beckman and grand-daughter Katie Gardner, at the helm.

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