Taft Dickerson rides Best on the Rocks to win Dave Higgins Memorial trophy

Taft Dickerson and Best on the Rocks accept the Dave Higgins Memorial trophy.

Taft Dickerson and Best on the Rocks won more than a Green Western Pleasure class on Sunday at the Virginia Quarter Horse Association’s Spring Breakout horse show at the Virginia Horse Center. They also won the chance to be part of honoring the late Dave Higgins, a VQHA hall of fame member who died last year after a car crash.

Taft Dickerson and Best on the Rocks lopes down the rail during the Green Western Pleasure class.

The VQHA honored the former show manager by awarding the Dave Higgins Memorial Trophy to the winner of the Green Western Pleasure class.

Dave Higgins, show manager of the association’s annual Virginia Classic horse show, died last year after being involved in a wreck on the way home from the April show. He later died of his injuries.

Best on the Rocks performed with a good cadence and pleasant expression throughout the class to unanimously win the class of eight under all four judges. He later that afternoon would also tie to win the Sr. Western Pleasure class.

Each competitor was asked to drop their horse’s bit for inspection by the judges.
The Green Western Pleasure lineup.
Horses lope down the rail.
A roan lopes on the rail.

Western Pleasure comes with big stakes at Virginia Classic


A big-stakes western pleasure class will be at the Virginia Horse Center on April 9 as part of the Virginia Quarter Horse Association’s Virginia Classic Horse Show.

The Hylton Maiden 3-year-old and Over class takes place each year at the AQHA show and provides an incentive to wait for outstanding pleasure prospects to mature.

In 2015, the Hylton Maiden paid out $91,500. This year, $50,000 in added money will be put into the jackpot, making the projected payout for 2016 to be $31,500 to the winner, $11,570 for reserve and $8,455 for third. When calculated on a 20-entry average, even 10th place will recoup the $1,500 entry fee. (Click here to download an entry form for the 2016 Hylton Maiden. Click here to use the new online entry system for the 2016 Hylton Maiden.)

In addition to the jackpot, a $6,000 bonus will be awarded to the Highest Placing Intermediate Rider in the class and a $4,000 bonus will be awarded to the Highest Placing Limited Rider.

Judges for the Virginia Classic are Casey and April Devitt, Brad Kearns, Jeff Allen, Rick Christy, and Ryan Kail.

Entries are due by March 12; however, horses may be entered up until Friday, April 8 at 5 p.m. for a $500 late fee.

Past champions have included Taft Dickerson with Made By J (2015), Randy Wilson with Certainly On Sundi (2014), Jay Starnes with Zip By Machine (2013) and Kristy Starnes with Zippin Hot Machine (2012).