VHC Eventing presented by Capital Square wrapped up on Sunday after an action-packed event which saw more than 400 horses compete at all levels.
Presenting sponsor Capital Square’s co-founder and owner, Louis Rogers, had his own horse Juan De Reves [Brody] entered in Open Training B Division and ridden by Emily Beshear. The pair finished in second with a score of 26.2.
According to Rogers, this was Brody’s second time competing in the states. “I imported him over the summer but then had a bad injury, so Emily took him over for me. He is a Selle Francais, but we bought him out of Ireland. He had done a 1* and 2* as a six-year-old and is really mellow and enjoys his job. He goes into the arena, clicks into higher gears and jumps around and then comes out and goes back into mellow mode,” commented Rogers. “Brody loves being an American. He is happy to be here and ready to work,” he laughed.
Rogers continued, “It was a spectacular weekend, and the weather was amazing. It couldn’t have been better, cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. The footing was excellent, the courses were challenging and fun. I heard many a cross country rider cross the finish and giggle, they were so happy. You don’t usually hear that. The courses were hard enough to be challenging but so much fun that riders were giggling with joy after a successful finish.”
Rogers commented, “Where else can a 66-year-old amateur ride in the same arena with an Olympian? Warming up in the same ring with an Olympian just gives me chills. It’s not like that in other sports. Eventing is a hard sport, and everyone is so humble. It is very inclusive, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
“The camaraderie here is a big deal. Everybody is friendly and collegial, and it feels good to see old friends and meet new ones. We loved watching all of the Young Riders compete. The kids are the future and it’s important to keep them involved at all levels.
“It’s vitally important to have the Virginia Horse Center as our home court like Kentucky has the Kentucky Horse Park and North Carolina has their horse park. The Virginia Horse Center is near where we live, and we need to support it. The economic impact is important for our rural county. The Virgina Horse Center has it all; it just needs our support.
“When you’re standing on the cross country course and you turn around in a 360, all you see is the Blue Ridge Mountains. The hills are so much fun to ride and beautiful to view. We have it all we just need to support the Virginia Horse Center with our time and money. And Capital square is proud to support this event.”
USEA President Lou Leslie Checks out VHC Eventing presented by Capital Square
USEA President Lou Leslie traveled from her home base in Seattle, Washinton to compete at the Virginia Horse Center. This was her first time showing at VHC Eventing. “I’ve been eventing for about thirty-five years and as USEA President, I want to get a better perspective of the whole nation. I want to show in every single area of the USEA. I’ve done six of the ten areas and am pecking away at it. I have a really nice horse; I can show up and run Novice and I had a fantastic time at the Virginia Horse Center. There’s not many horses that you can do that on,” she said.
Leslie rode her own Souvenir in the Novice Open A Division and earned a second place with a score of 25.
According to Leslie, she hadn’t ridden him in over a month. “Rob Burk has been keeping him in shape for me. I rode him Tuesday before the event, packed up the trailer and drove to Virginia on Wednesday. I was able to help out Roxanne [Booth] a bit on Thursday and Friday and showed him over the weekend.”
Leslie bought him as a four-year-old. According to Leslie, “He’s a really good boy and I’ve ridden him up to the Prelim levels, so I felt pretty good riding him in Novice. The reason I named him Souvenir is because when I went to the Burghley Horse Trials, I ended up buying him instead of a t shirt,” she laughed.
Leslie continued, “The Virginia Horse Center is awesome. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing, and the weather couldn’t be better. Roxanne did a fantastic job, so kudos to her and her team! Being this was my first time there; everyone was so friendly, and everyone had fun. The kids in the barn just loved the barrel fire pits and roasting marshmallows. We all just loved it!”
“The cross country course was lovely and really appropriate for all the levels. I walked the Prelim, the Training and Novice just for giggles. The stadium course was a really good test. It was a ‘quiet patient ride’ and that’s hard to do on an event horse but if you were quiet and waited it was a good course and the footing was really nice. The one thing I noticed was that the footing you warm up on is the same that you compete on and that makes a big difference when you compete. It was the same for dressage too. From start to finish it was a wonderful show and just a great time,” she added.
“Out west you don’t need to run with studs because the cross country is dirt. It’s a lot more difficult to manage grass, but compared to what I’m used to, I had no complaints. I did use studs here on the cross country, but they were little ones. You could tell that the VHC team did aerate and water and that’s always appreciated. When I galloped across the fields, I did not hear that hollowness which usually means that the ground is really hard,” said Leslie.
“The town of Lexington is so quaint! I went out two nights for dinner and downtown is so cute. There are two universities in town, lots of history and I’d love to spend more time visiting there in the future. Virginia Horse Center is one of a kind and offers beautiful countryside, a quaint downtown and breathtaking mountains. You don’t see that anywhere else. I’d love to return and be a repeat competitor,” added Leslie.
Destination VHC Eventing
Amanda Beale Clement of Cairn O’Mount Stables of Malvern, Pennsylvania won both the Beginner Novice Horse A with B.E. Wexford Boy and Beginner Novice Horse B with B.E. Cointreau, both owned by Susie Beale.
According to Beale Clement, this was their horses’ first event ever. “I knew that Mrs. Booth [Roxanne] and her team would do a fantastic job at VHC Eventing and that was exactly where I wanted my horses’ first event in the US to be.”
“The other horse I rode [B.E. Balou U] was 2nd in the Training Horse Division and that was only her third event of her life and her first time out at the Training Level. My student Mary Delonzo was also third in the Senior Training level. Mary has been eventing for three years and comes here every year,” she added.
Beale Clement brought ten horses and clients to VHC Eventing presented by Capital Square. “I think the biggest thing I would love to share is that VHC Eventing is really a destination event for our clients. It is an event that every one of our clients wants to go to and it is our destination for the year, every year,” she said.
Beale Clement continued, “In the beginning of the year, we all put VHC Eventing on our calendar. There is no other show throughout the year where every single rider, including upper levels and adult amateurs, that can be together competing on the same weekend. Even for the lower levels, it is very exciting for them. For the young riders, adult amateurs and the younger generation, to be able to ride around the big time FEI riders, it makes them feel included,” she added.
“I think what makes it such a destination for our clients is that they love being able to rent an RV or camp and we all hang out and have dinner and bond. It’s really important to have such camaraderie and get to know everyone better and it’s just such a great time. The families come along and it’s such a great time,” said Beale Clement. “We have a little too much fun sometimes to be honest with you,” she laughed.
“I thought that this fall, VHC Eventing was just fantastic. Everyone was friendly and it was well organized. They worked with us, and it was so lovely to work with people that wanted to make this a fun and safe weekend for all of us. I was impressed that at every single level they took care of the grounds. The jumps were gorgeous, and the courses were amazing. The Virginia Horse Center team hit every single mark. We had people from Intermediate to Beginner Novice and everyone had such a great time. All of our clients are so happy and that is so important,” said Beale Clement.
As we head into the holiday season, we extend our warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and healthy and happy Holiday Season! We are thankful for your support and can’t wait to welcome you back to VHC Eventing presented by Capital Square May 22-26! Please consider sponsoring this world-class event! For customized sponsorship packages, please contact [email protected].