May 31, 2023

Virginia Horse Center Eventing Wrap-Up

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Newmarket Cooley. Brant Gamma Photography photos

Lexington, Va.—May 28Virginia Horse Center Eventing, presented by Capital Square, wrapped up on May 28 after a fun-filled weekend of top competition. The Virginia Horse Center welcomed riders of all levels from Olympic to beginner eventers.

The course updates and world class officials made the inaugural VHC Eventing memorable. The entire VHC Eventing management team and the Virginia Horse Center appreciate all who competed at this weekend's event, and we look forward to welcoming you back in November!

Sydney Hagaman and her own Charmeur won the CCI3*-S with a final score of 31.3.

Hagaman lives in Middleburg, Virginia, and is coached by Mike Pendleton. Charmeur is a 10-year-old German Sport Horse, and Hagaman has owned him since he was 4. “I had always had Thoroughbreds, and he is the first warmblood I’ve owned,” she said. “He was really good. He was super relaxed, really rideable, and jumped well in show jumping. The cross-country course rode really nicely, and the way it was set was great. I really liked it. The new jumps were nice, and despite the fact that we haven’t had any rain, you could definitely tell where the course had been aerated. That was the fastest I’ve ever gone in cross-country. The whole course rode well, and Charmeur felt really good."

Sydney Hagaman and Charmeur.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and The Newmarket Syndicate’s Newmarket Cooley earned an overall score of 27.3, earning them the win in the CCI2*-L. Halliday-Sharp also took home second place honors with Deborah Palmer’s Maybach for their overall score of 28.1.

Halliday-Sharp commented, “I really enjoy this event, and I’ve come every year since 2020. It’s a great event for the young horses. These are both young horses doing their first CCI2*-L. I honestly really love the big hill, and it really teaches you a lot about them as horses and how they come out the next day. This was a great experience for them, and I think it will make them bigger and better horses in the future.”

Ariel Grald and Claire Williams’ In Vogue won the CCI2*-S with an overall score of 28.8, narrowly beating second-placed Kim Severson and Anita Antenucci’s Arden JuJu’s score of 29.1.

“The pressure is on when Kim Severson is right behind you,” Grald said with a laugh.

“Stella [In Vogue] belongs to a good friend, Claire Williams, who has been laid up recovering from a skiing accident," she explained. "We sourced her from Ireland as a 4-year-old. This was her final prep run before Bromont where I will be riding her in the CCI2*-L. We strategically picked Virginia to work on our gallops up the hills. My intention was not necessarily to make the time on cross-country, but to focus on giving my horse a good prep run. But she really loves to gallop and despite my trying to slow her down a bit on the hills, her rideability and efficiency on the cross-country course has her going faster than you actually think you are. And it turned out my watch wasn’t working correctly either."

Ariel Grald and In Vogue.

Grald also earned a fourth placing with Annie Eldridge’s Adagio's Nobility for their combined score of 33.8.

Grald commented, “Bringing Michel [Vaillancourt] in to design the show jumping course made a huge difference. The courses were well set, and while we have some good designers in the U.S., we need to ride various tracks, and it’s important to have the opportunity to ride different styles."

“We all recognized the positive changes to the event and the future and the direction it's headed in," she said. "The feel and vibe is very different and with this reinvigoration; it will be cool to see how the event develops."

Grald also won the Advanced/Intermediate with Eldridge’s Forrest Gump 124 [Shrimp] and was sixth with Edridge’s Caballe.

“I came into the weekend wanting a little redemption because I fell off of him in the skinny ditch in the CCI4*-S in Tryon a few weeks ago," she said of Shrimp. "He is heading to Bromont in the CCI4*-L, and my aim was to have a good confidence weekend with him. I’ve only had him for about two years, and this is a relatively new partnership for us. He can be a bit quirky so it’s important to keep him confident and trusting our partnership. He is very capable in all three phases, and this was a really good run for him and for us to get on the same page before Bromont.”

Grald also won the Open Preliminary with Eldridge’s Cullintra End Game with an overall score of 38.5.

Madison Richards and Global BKG.

Madeleine Richards aboard her own Global BGK was the overall winner in the CCI1*-L after earning an overall score of 33.8. The win marked Richards’ first FEI win and her first win on Global BGK.

Richards also placed third with her own The Turning Point.

“It was amazing to have been at the Virginia Horse Center this weekend," she said. "I haven’t been here for a while and hadn’t been here with these two horses before. I wasn’t sure how they were going to like it, but they were absolutely amazing. I’m not used to the hills here on the cross-country course, and I was initially a little nervous. But my horses just cruised, and we had no problems.”

Richards got Global BGK about a year ago. According to Richards, “Our relationship has been slowly growing, and he’s a super horse and jumped so hard for me today. He’s been so great over the weekend, and I’m really proud of him. He was so good and absolutely loved it.”

Click here for full results.

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