Virginia Horse Trials has been undergoing a major transformation since last year, when longtime organizers Brian and Penny Ross stepped down and Andy Bowles took the reins for the much-loved fall event. This year we’re excited to announce that VHT will be upping the ante even more with what’s being hailed as a “weeklong eventing extravaganza.”
“Our aim at VHT is to combine training and competition to help riders have the best possible experience,” Andy said in this press release. “In addition, it marks the start of a three-year improvement plan on the horse center side cross country course, that focuses on footing/flow and the arrival of John Nicholson as designer of the Oak Hill cross country courses.”
The week’s festivities will start with a series of clinics taught on Oct. 27-29 by New Zealand team riders Tim and Jonelle Price, as well as popular U.S. clinicians Doug Payne and Sharon White. The Prices said they are looking forward to teaching their first ever clinics in the States (and, lucky for them, it just so happens that Virginia is gorgeous in the fall!).
“My recent experiences in America have revolved around Rolex Kentucky with all the pressure of competing a horse overseas that that entails, so I can’t wait to see more of the States and meet people and horses in a situation where I can be more relaxed,” Tim said. “And, of course, we will be bringing a little bit of Kiwi magic with us to all the training days, and that is a very special magic.”
There will be plenty of Kiwi magic going around at this event, as new designer John Nicholson will also unveil his inaugural cross country courses in the U.S. Brother to Andrew Nicholson, John is well known for the creative and artistic flair he brings to his courses in New Zealand and Australia, and it’s definitely going to be a unique experience for riders at this fall’s VHT.
VHT will also unveil an improved rider party on Saturday evening, as well as outdoor show jumping and $4,000 in prize money for the international classes. The event will also proudly host the Area II championships this year, along with an Adult Team Challenge. As an added bonus, schooling rounds for both dressage as well as show jumping will be available on the Thursday prior to the event for both VHT competitors and any riders who want to attend.
“I am not only excited to ride on the new courses Virginia Horse Trials is unveiling this year, but I am thrilled about the pre-event activities and opportunities,” Sharon White said. “I think these additions will help many of the less experienced riders develop and prepare for the show and will also give young horses an opportunity rarely available to do schooling rounds, maximizing the experience they can obtain in a weeks time.”
Andy said the new changes are a part of his goal to make the event “a show riders look forward to coming back to year after year, enjoying a week-long opportunity to better themselves and their horses at a world class venue.”