The Virginia Horse Trials is one of my favorite shows of the season, and I try to go every spring and fall. Penny and Brian Ross are enthusiastic supporters of our sport, and they always do an AMAZING job of organizing this show. For those that have never been, you should definitely try to make it at some point in your competition career. The facility is top notch, the area is beautiful and the show is a blast.
This fall, VAHT offered Beginner Novice through Intermediate national level horse trials, and they also offered a CCI* and CIC2* at the FEI level. Brian Ross designs the Beginner Novice through Prelim courses, which are always a good test for each level without overfacing.
John Williams has been brought on board to design the Intermediate, CCI* and CIC2* courses. Overall, I think all of the cross country rode very well. There weren’t a ton of issues at any one fence at any level, and the number of Es, Rs, and RFs were low compared to the number of entries. In my opinion, the course designers did an excellent job of challenging everyone.
The big news of the weekend is the record number of entries in the CCI*. They ended up having three divisions in order to fit everyone’s dressage in on Friday. There were two regular divisions and one Junior/Young Rider division. There seemed to be a bit of talk about the discrepancies between judges in the CCI* divisions, but the judges seemed to be pretty close in scoring, if a bit tough, in the CIC2*.
The show jumping was all designed by John Williams and proved to be influential in all of the levels. The CIC2*, Prelim and part of the Training divisions all show jumped outside on top of the hill. Beginner Novice, Novice, one division of Training and all of the CCI* show jumped in the Coliseum. The courses were definitely rewarding forward, balanced riding.
However, I believe the show jumping proved most influential in the CCI*. I watched quite a few of the rounds, and the rails were flying. On the whole, the horses seemed just a bit tired from the cross country the day before. One horse from each CCI* division was spun at the jog before show jumping.
I have to send out a huge shout out to Bob Thornton for completing his second recognized BN event. Bob rides with Bonnie Mosser and has been riding for less than a year! He and his amazing mare, Easy Company, finished 6th in the Beginner Novice Rider division. This weekend was all about teamwork for those of us on Team Bonnie Mosser. There were a bunch of us competing, and we all pitched in to help each other. THAT is what this sport is all about!