Record Entries Take Virginia Horse Trials to New Heights

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International is thrilled to welcome its highest ever number of entries at the autumn 2019 edition of the event taking place October 31-November 3. Over 580 entries have been received, which includes 53 current entries vying for the USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship.

New for this event is the CCI1*-L, which is the Modified (3’5”) level run under international long format rules. VHT is currently the only event in the country to offer the CCI1*-L, which serves as an introduction to FEI competition at the Modified height. Even with this addition, Modified horse trials entry numbers are approaching 50 horses, an increase of 30% since the spring VHT International.

Happily, Starter numbers have more than doubled, with over 20 entries scheduled in this small but mighty level. VHT hosts three unrecognized starter trials throughout the year. It is a pleasure to see competitors from the unrecognized events also joining us at the recognized events.

“I want to thank everyone for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials,” said VHT Organizer Andy Bowles. “We are honored to have the two-star championships again, and it’s great to see people coming to try the one-star long.

“But just as important as the FEI divisions, we’re seeing horses and riders who enjoy our unrecognized shows at the lower levels stepping up to experience the atmosphere and challenge of a recognized environment. We will do our best to provide them with a positive experience so they continue to pursue recognized competition. In this way, we are thrilled to further the mission of the US Eventing Association to educate horses and riders and promote the sport of eventing.”

Back by popular demand is the Intercollegiate and Alumni Team Challenge. Whether currently in school, recently graduated, or graduated any number of years ago, riders are invited to don their school colors, chant fight songs, and enjoy a healthy dose of school rivalry. Teams may be made up of alumni only, current students only, or a mix of both. As of writing, 13 teams were registered to compete in the team challenge.

In addition to those levels already mentioned, VHT’s fall edition offers both a CCI3*-L and CCI3*-S, as well as a CCI2*-S, which was offered for the first time at the May event. National competitors have a broad choice of Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate. Bowles, Carsten Meyer, and David Taylor will design the tracks on two separate cross-country courses, and Chris Barnard returns as the show jumping designer.

Prize money is once again on the table for the FEI competitors, as well as special awards for Best Conditioned horse and Best Turned Out rider, ribbons through tenth place, and additional gifts and prizes. The top three finishers of every national horse trials division receives discount coupons for future entries.

Given that the competition takes place on Halloween weekend, don’t be surprised to see a few characters working in the show office. We also invite all horse show dogs to don their favorite outfit and strut their stuff in a doggie costume contest prior to the complimentary Saturday night competitor party, where everyone is welcome for supper and socializing.

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