Interscholastic Equestrian Association Hunt Seat National Finals this weekend at Virginia Horse Center

15th Anniversary Final Logo6-colorThe Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) kicks off the 2017 Hunt Seat National Finals at the Virginia Horse Center on Friday, April 21. The competition will run through Sunday, April 23. Nearly 400 of the nation’s leading IEA Middle School and High School equestrians will converge in Lexington at the horse center’s Anderson Coliseum to compete for top honors. The student riders, in grades 6-12, will travel from across the United States to participate in this competition. Riders will compete in Hunt Seat Equitation classes over fences and on the flat throughout the weekend. Although its only a short drive from Roanoke, the show also will be available via livestream on EqSportsNet if you don’t feel like going out this soggy weekend.

Riders will compete in Hunt Seat Equitation Classes, over fences and on the flat, throughout the weekend. The format requires that riders compete in unfamiliar tack on unfamiliar mounts; therefore, they draw their horses the day of competition and enter the arena after a brief, if any, warm up.

 Judging each of the team and individual Hunt Seat classes will be Rachel Kennedy from Brookeville, Maryland and Melanie Smith Taylor from Germanton, Tennessee. Kennedy began riding at the age of 3 outside of Philadelphia at Jack Trainor’s Here and There Farm. Following a successful junior career, she rode to seven AHSA Horse of the Year titles along with numerous state titles as a professional. In 1995, Kennedy moved to Maryland and started her own business — ESP Farm. She has trained and shown numerous hunters and jumpers to championships and Grand Prix wins on the on the USEF “AA” Circuit at shows such as the Winter Equestrian Festival, NAJYRC, Capital Challenge, Devon, Ocala, Washington International, Upperville, Vermont Summer Festival, and Fairfield.

Melanie Smith Taylor also brings a wealth of experience to the IEA National Finals. Taylor became one of only two riders to ever win the Triple Crown of Show Jumping — the American Invitational, the International Jumping Derby, and the American Gold Cup — and the only person to win all three on the same horse. After winning the World Cup Final in 1982, she was named the U.S. Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year and inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Two years later, she capped off her show-jumping career with a team gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Today, Taylor serves the horse world as a clinician, a television broadcaster for major events, including the Olympics and World Championships, and a recognized judge for hunters, jumpers and hunter seat equitation.  She is also the author of Riding With Life, a comprehensive training guide detailing her unique program for setting horse and rider up for success.

The IEA Western National Finals at will be held on June 30 through July 2 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where nearly 200 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school Western equestrians will have their chance to compete in team and individual competitions in western horsemanship and reining.    

SCHEDULE:

Friday, April 24

6:00 AM     Schooling of horses
7:30 AM     Varsity Open Draw and Course Walk
8:30 AM–5 PM     (approximate)  Competition

Saturday, April 25

6:30 AM     Schooling of horses
8:00 AM     Varsity Open Draw and Course Walk
8:30 AM–2:00 PM     (approximate)  Competition
2:00 PM     Varsity Open Championship Class followed by Award of IEA                   Leading Hunt Seat Rider
3:00 PM     Parade of Teams (All IEA teams, coaches and riders scheduled to appear in arena.)
3:20 PM     IEA Lifetime Achievement Award (Adult)
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM     (approximate)  Competition

Sunday, April 26

6:00 AM     Schooling of horses
7:30 AM     Holy Innocents Horsemanship Test Finals
8:00 AM     Open and Immediate
9:00 AM–12:00 PM     (approximate)   Hunt Seat Team Semi-Finals
12:00 PM–3:00 PM     (approximate)   Hunt Seat Team Finals Competition
3:00 PM     Awards Ceremony

 

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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.

Get ready for a fantastic fall of riding

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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.

TRAIL RIDES

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:

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    The Fleetwood Community Center Trail Ride.

    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 bossmare1955@gmail.com 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.
  • The Flint Hill Volunteer Fire Department 2016 Annual Benefit Trail Ride will be held Oct. 21-23. Campers may arrive Thursday, October 20 at 2 PM. Registration starts Friday morning at 8:00. One day tickets are $40, and three day tickets are $60. A dinner will be served on Saturday evening for an extra $20 per person.  Beautiful groomed trails with two loops, 9 miles or 17 miles. Contact Deb Miloslavich at honeymoonhollow@hotmail.com for more information.
  • 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.

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    Costumes are encouraged for all classes at Green Hill Equestrian Center Halloween Fun Show and your sure to find a costume class at other open shows this time of year as well.

    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.

CLINICS

Did you find a few weak spots in your riding or your mount’s training? There are some opportunities to get help this fall.

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Gabrielle Hooten teaches at the Dressage clinic.
  • 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.

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The Virginia State 4-H Championships are held Sept. 15-18 at the Virginia Horse Center.
  • 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.

For a complete list of equestrian events happening through the end of the year, visit the Roanoke Equestrian Calendar Page.

 

Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. Hunter Breeding East Coast National Championship returns to Virginia Horse Center in August

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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.

Find the Virginia Young Horse Festival prize list here.

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.

Brooke Kemper rides Classifed to win in $25,000 Grand Prix of Roanoke

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Brooke Kemper on Classified

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.

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Brooke Kemper on Classified

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.

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.

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Tyler Smith and Soho D’Ermisserie were third in the Grand Prix of Roanoke

Related links:

From Lexington to Lexington, Nicholson officially named CEO of Virginia Horse Center

John Nicholson has been working the the Virginia Horse Center since May 2014 as a consultant and then interim CEO. He has now been named CEO.
John Nicholson has been working the the Virginia Horse Center
since May 2014 as a consultant and then interim CEO. He has
now been named CEO.

The Virginia Horse Center announced Wednesday, April 8, that the Foundation Board of Directors has ratified John Nicholson as the new chief executive officer of the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia.

Following his 17-year tenure as the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Nicholson joined the Virginia Horse Center management team in May 2014, first as a consultant and most recently as the interim CEO, before officially assuming the CEO office.
“I’m honored to have been asked to increase my involvement and leadership of the Horse Center as the full-time CEO,” Nicholson said. “Over the past year, the management team has made significant strides in reversing the challenges faced by the horse center, and this is just the beginning. I’m confident in a bright future.”
For the past 10 months, Nicholson has been an active force in executing the Virginia Horse Center’s short-term and long-term business plans and in facilitating the launch of a new era for the facility. Together with Virginia Horse Center Foundation President and Chairman Ernie Oare, Nicholson has been instrumental in assembling a “dream team” of staff to continue the recent turnaround efforts for the facility.
“It was clearly identified about a year ago that if the direction at the Horse Center was not changed, the ship would sink,” said Oare. “We now have a team of unbelievable people, including Leigh Anne Claywell as the Chief Operating Officer and John Nicholson as the Chief Executive Officer, to help steer the ship in the correct direction and into a bright future. Nicholson brings to the table incredible experience and expertise in this capacity that is completely unmatched.”
Prior to making the shift from Lexington, Kentucky, to Lexington, Virginia, Nicholson led the Kentucky Horse Park during its rise to prominence on the global equestrian stage, including hosting the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games and procuring the prestigious National Horse Show. The Kentucky Horse Park also bid for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, however lost out to Bromont/Montreal as host city.
“Similar to the incredible transformation that John headed at the Kentucky Horse Park, we strive to transform the Virginia Horse Center into a first-class venue capable of hosting events the likes of the World Equestrian Games,” Oare said. “John knows, perhaps better than anyone, what it takes to get that done, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our team.”
Under Nicholson’s leadership, the horse park steadily transformed into one of the finest equestrian competition facilities in the world. Nicholson oversaw its expansion that included approximately $80 million in capital improvement projects, including the 5,500-seat Alltech Arena, the 7,300-seat Rolex Stadium, new barns, a new $10 million, 8,500-square-foot museum wing; and numerous new buildings within the park’s National Horse Center that are home to an impressive collection of national, regional and state equine organizations.
In addition to expanding the park, Nicholson concentrated on improving its public perception and increasing private sector support.

GET YOUR HORSE FIX: Equestrian events this weekend near Roanoke, Va. (April 11-12)

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. 

FRANKLIN COUNTY

The Franklin County Equestrian Club will host its Spring Fling Horse Show at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ginther Farm in Sontag. The show is Blue Ride Horse Force sanctioned. Get a class schedule here. Chuck Nifong will judge.

A LOOK AHEAD

GET YOUR HORSE FIX: Equestrian events Feb. 14-15 near Roanoke

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 ppalmerwheatland@aol.com.

ONLINE

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The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is the largest all-Arabian horse show in the world.

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.

A LOOK AHEAD

Virginia Horse Center to host AQHA Novice Championships?

Way-up-highThe 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.

The show is also listed on its events calendar.

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.

Unbridled Change harnesses power of horses

Winston Churchhill once famously said, “There’s something about the outside of the horse that’s good for the inside of a man.” A Boones Mill nonprofit, Unbridled Change, is using that bit of wisdom to offer equine-assisted mental health services for children, teens, and adults that need support overcoming obstacles in their life such as trauma, anger management, parenting and bullying.

Horses are a great mirror that reflect back a client’s behaviors, the organization says, allowing for awareness and eventually control and change.

Founder and Executive Director Michelle Holling-Brooks is the only Certified Eagala Advanced Equine Specialist in Virginia and one of only 14 in the country. EAP is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses and then talking about feelings, behaviors and patterns.

Unbridled Change offers several different programs to their clients:

  • A ‘Bit’ of SupportMilitary Services program works with military personnel, veterans, spouses, and their families to help with transitions, stress relief and mindfulness skills, coping skills, parenting skills, mental health therapy for PTSD & MST and also recreational therapy.
  • Take Back the Reins is an equine-assisted psychotherapy program that is designed for children, teens, and adults who were victims or witnesses of abuse or neglect with the aim of breaking the cycle of abuse. 
  • Hoof-prints of a Healthy Herd is an equine assisted psychotherapy program that is designed for parenting and family reunification.  The program works with both the children and the parents to help address the core concepts of a healthy family unit: healthy boundary setting and acceptance, respect, communication and healthy relationship skills.
  • Wranglers is designed for children, teens, and adults who struggling with anger management issues. 
  • “Blazing the Trail of Character” combines hands-on activities with horses and six character development concepts: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The program is available to area youth groups and schools.
  • Riders Up! is designed for children, teens, and adults who are working on executive functioning skills, fine tuning self-regulation skills, and self-esteem.  

Find a video of Unbridled Change at http://vimeo.com/109596834

If you’d like to volunteer.  
Donate.  

Directions to the farm from Roanoke Airport:
Take I-581 South toward Downtown Roanoke.  I-581 will turn into route 220 South toward Rocky Mount, VA .  (581 will merge from a highway to route 220 there will be a Lowes, HomeDepot, Walmart and other box stores when it first merges down).  Stay on 220 for about 10 miles – cross the county line into Franklin Co and the town of Boones Mill.  Just after the light turn an immediate left over the bridge onto Boones Mill Road (at Jack Garst Agency or Southern States).  At the stop sign turn right to stay on to Boones Mill Road.  Go 2 miles and turn right onto White Oak Road.  Go about 1 mile and turn right into the Unbridled Change’s parking lot at the indoor arena site.