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Tue, 2016-10-04 13:56

Virginia Horse Trials Gears Up for First CCI2*, Area II Championships and Adult Team Challenge

Authored By: Leslie Threlkeld
John Michael Durr, course designer for Beginner Novice - Preliminary at the Virginia Horse Trials. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lexington, VA, October 4, 2016 - The Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials (VHT) at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va. has several exciting developments coming to the event October 27-30. This event serves as the 2016 Area II Championship for Beginner Novice through Intermediate levels, and the VHT team is preparing to host their first CCI2* in addition to the established CIC2* and CCI*.

“A lot of hard work has gone into getting ready for our first CCI2* and we are excited that it has all come together,” said VHT organizer Andy Bowles. “To host the CCI2* and our other FEI levels in addition to the Area II Championships and our popular Adult Rider Team Challenge will make for a great weekend with a good atmosphere and hopefully a lot of fun for everyone who attends.”

VHT is dedicated to providing great events and has heard the requests and reviews from competitors. In response, the team is making improvements wherever possible. One major new component of the Championship will be the addition of Junior divisions at all levels except Intermediate. There will also be two show jumping arenas featuring Brody Robertson’s beautifully crafted show jumps, and for divisions that finish on Sunday, awards will be given out in the competition rings at the conclusion of each class.

“Horse trials are a continual work in progress and we are always hoping to offer a bigger and better experience every time. Our hope is that the competitors at the fall event will recognize the changes we’ve made and feel encouraged to keep coming back.”

John Michael Durr Unveils New Championship Courses

Cross country course designer John Michael Durr joined the VHT team as a participant in the first cycle of the Course Design Mentor Program. With VHT’s FEI course designer John Nicholson as his mentor, Durr took over designing the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary courses.

“Part of our role as event organizers is to support bringing in new designers and help train them,” Bowles said. “One of the key decisions in choosing John Michael was that he has a feel for 'old-school' thinking. Not everything is made of machined timber. It’s open and flowing with natural fences and the idea to train the horses through the levels.”

Riders first tackled Durr’s new tracks at the May 2016 horse trials which featured brand new fences and a focus on horse and rider education. At the fall horse trials and Area II Championship, riders will see more new questions on course and paths that differentiate the difficulty of the horse trials compared to the Championship.

“The Championship is an opportunity to showcase what the level has taught the horses and riders all year,” Durr said. “The cross country should be difficult enough that it plays a role in the final results of the Championship, but riders should also feel like if they are successful at the Championship then they will be ready for the next level.”

Durr has designed the Beginner Novice through Preliminary horse trials and Beginner Novice, Novice and Training Championship courses on the Horse Center side of the road while Nicholson has designed the two-star, one-star, Intermediate and Preliminary Championship courses on the Oak Hill side of the road.
All Areas Welcome at Virginia Horse Trials’ Friendly Adult Team Challenge

The fall Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials (VHT) will once again include a friendly Adult Rider Team Challenge on Halloween weekend. Adult riders from any Area are invited to compete in the Challenge, and you do not need to be a member of the USEA Adult Rider Program to participate.

“The team challenge is a great way to meet people and learn what the Adult Rider program is all about,” said Donna Bottner, Area II Adult Rider Coordinator. “Even if you don’t already have a full team when you sign up, we will find a team for you to join. The Adult Riders are a wonderful group of people and we always have a good time at VHT.”

One would be hard pressed not to leave the event without having made new friends, thanks in part to social opportunities like a Friday night dinner and a wine and cheese party sponsored by Stackhouse Saddlery and VTO Saddlery. Team challenge riders will also be stabled together in one barn, fostering team spirit and friendly competition with neighbors.

“The Adult Riders are always so enthusiastic about the team challenge,” Bowles said. “They are extremely supportive of each other and there is a great sense of camaraderie that adds a special element to the event. We are glad to have the Adult Rider Team Challenge back again this year.”

Riders who are competing in the Area II Championship at VHT may also be a member of a team for the challenge. However, all members of the team must compete at the same level. The challenge is for Beginner Novice through Preliminary teams only.

Team ribbons will be awarded through eighth place and Area II Adult Riders will receive a gift sponsored by Sagmae.

Include all stabling requests on your entry form and mail to the event secretary. Email Donna Bottner ([email protected]) with your team information or request to be placed on a team.

Visit and the Omnibus page for more information about the fall Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials. Get your entries in: the closing date is next Tuesday, October 11!


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