The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International kicked off Thursday with the first horse inspection for the CCI*-L, CCI2*-L, and CCI3*-L divisions. Sixty-five international horse and rider combinations presented to the ground juries, and 61 will move on to the dressage phase.
All horses presented in the CCI3*-L were accepted. In the CCI2*-LA, Brittany Crandall and Cooley Almighty were sent to the hold box but opted to withdraw. Jessica Shull’s Valleyofthesun was held but sadly not accepted on re-presentation. In the CCI2*-LB, Rachel Ziemann and Highland Storm were held and withdrew without re-presenting. Olivia Hayes and Astrana De La Galerna were also held but later accepted. In the CCI1*-L, Claudia Iannucci’s Gregory the Great was held and withdrawn from the hold box. Mellisa Warden’s Deadpool was held but accepted on re-presentation.
Vanda Stewart (IRL) and Robyn Fisher (USA) presided over the inaugural CCI1*-L. The ground jury for the CCI2*-L includes Nicki Herbert (GBR) and Aniko Vincze (HUN). The CCI3*-L ground jury of Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride (USA) and Marilyn Payne (USA) got into the holiday spirit, arriving at the horse inspection wearing matching witch outfits.
Many competitors took advantage of the first jog falling on Halloween and dressed up for the occasion. We saw spooky fascinators, a masked man, and a unicorn onesie take a pass down the jog lane. View a photo gallery of the first horse inspection at this link.
An Intercollegiate & Alumni Team Challenge taking place this weekend includes competitors of every level competing in a friendly team competition. Seventeen teams from 11 schools with both current and former students participating make up the complete roster. Team entries can be viewed at this link.
With around 580 horses set to compete, this is the largest VHT International to date. The competition gets underway Friday with the international, Intermediate, Modified, Preliminary, and Novice dressage. Preliminary will run cross-country and Advanced/Intermediate and Intermediate will show jump.
“It’s thrilling for our team to have such a positive turnout,” said VHT Organizer Andy Bowles. “We’ve worked hard to put together a fluid schedule and present an excellent competition. We are grateful to everyone for coming. We wish you all good luck and great rides.”