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Tue, 2017-09-12 10:26

Progress Continues at Virginia Horse Trials in Preparation for October CCI

Authored By: Virginia Horse Trials
Alyssa Phillips and Oskar competing in the VHT CIC2* last May. Leslie Threlkeld Photo.

The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) organizing team is determined to have their best year yet at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. After record entries of over 500 horses at the May CCI/CIC and Horse Trials, the staff looks forward to another successful competition during the Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials on October 26-29, 2017.

“It is our goal to provide a world-class competition venue for amateur and professional competitors at every level. We have set a high standard for our events and we aim to exceed expectations at every turn,” said VHT organizer Andy Bowles. 

“We are making a sincere effort to listen and respond to competitor feedback and make necessary improvements to the facility and courses. We are feeling very encouraged that we are on the right track after the May event and we’re excited to finish the year strong.”

In addition to offering international CCI2*, CIC2* and CCI* levels and a Beginner Novice through Intermediate horse trials, VHT is pleased to once again host the USEA Area II Championships next month. This is an opportunity for the best Beginner Novice through Intermediate horses and riders from six Mid-Atlantic states to compete for top honors at a state-of-the-art venue. 

The Area II Adult Rider Team Challenge will also return to VHT in October. Adult Riders from any Area are invited to participate. Each team may be made up of competitors at different levels of competition and a coefficient is applied to account for level of difficulty in determining team scores. 

Committed to Developing Top Courses
VHT boasts two exceptional cross-country courses with stunning Blue Ridge Mountain views and grassy, rolling terrain. Careful course management and the addition of new permanent complexes and portable fences have bolstered the quality of courses in recent years.

The team doubled-down on footing maintenance this spring, making big strides in improving the going on cross-country and receiving excellent feedback from competitors. Regular mowing has continued throughout the year to promote grass growth and the courses will be aerated ahead of the competition for optimal galloping conditions. 

The direction of the Intermediate and FEI tracks on the Oak Hill course was reversed in order to lessen the impact on the horses. All the significant climbing is done within the first half of the course, and the amount of downhill galloping has been reduced overall.

Internationally renowned course designer Captain Mark Phillips will once again design the Oak Hill cross-country courses with assistance from John Michael Durr on the one-star and Bowles on the two-star. The lower level courses on the Horse Center course are the vision of Durr with assistance from David Taylor.

In 2015, Bowles introduced the VHT Course Design Mentor Program. Durr was the first participant, taking on the design of the cross-country tracks on the Horse Center course under the tutelage of designer John Nicholson. 

It is time to welcome a new up-and-coming course designer to the program. David Taylor joins the team from Keymar, Md. He is a one-star level event rider and is a USEA certified course designer through Training level. 

“I am beyond excited to work with the team at one of my favorite events,” Taylor said. “It is truly an honor to work with Andy and John Michael in developing my depth of knowledge and personal style when it comes to course design.” 

A second water complex was introduced to both the Oak Hill and Horse Center courses in May and the team is pleased to unveil a number of additional new fences built by Tyson Rementer. 

Entries for the Virginia Horse Trials open on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. For more information, visit or view the USEA Omnibus listing online. 

To enter the Adult Rider Team Challenge, contact Donna Bottner: [email protected]


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