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be a participant

See below for opportunities to bring your horse to participate in clinics and competitions at the Virginia Horse Festival.

Breed Pavilion presented by Virginia Horse Industry Board

The Virginia Horse Industry Board Breed Pavilion will be located in a designated portion of the Southern States Legends Stable. Each association/farm will receive 1 stall for your horse and an adjacent stall for your exhibit along with 9 one day admission passes. This area will serve as the hub for breed promotions and education. Additional stalls may be available upon request depending on participation. Participants in the Breed Pavilion have the opportunity to participate in Friday night’s Parade of Breeds and on Saturday and Sunday in the Breed Showcases. Each Breed Showcase will allow participants a 3-5 minute presentation of the versatility of their breed.  We have a limited numbers of stalls available so please make your reservations early.

Breed Pavilion Application

Cornerstone Performance Trail Challenge

The Cornerstone Horsemanship Performance Trail Challenge, held during the 2018 Virginia Horse Festival, is a special event consisting of maneuvers and obstacles. There will be 2 preliminary goes for contestants to choose from (Friday afternoon or Saturday morning), with the top ten returning for the finals on Saturday evening.

Sonya Crampton

Sonya is a Canadian hunter/jumper trainer who lives in Bluemont, Virginia. She successfully competes hunters in all divisions, jumpers to grand prix, and evening through the CCCI**** level. She was long and short listed for the Canadian Equestrian Team for ten years. She has coached two medal winning Young Riders Teams at the North American Young Riders Championships. Over the years, Sonya has qualified several horses for the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Am Games. Her students have also been short listed on the Canadian Equestrian Team and qualified for the Olympics.

Friday, March 23rd – 1st session – Gymnastics for hunters

Friday, March 23rd – 2nd session – Gymnastics for jumpers

Saturday, March 24th – 12:00 -12:50pm – Coursework for both hunters and jumpers

If you are interested in being a rider in one of Sonya’s clinics, call 352-804-1669 for details.

The Draft Horse Education Foundation

Participants are invited to rotate through various mini clinics to learn hands on about draft horses and driving. Mini-clinics include how to properly take care of draft horses, how to harness a single draft horse, how to hitch a single draft horse to a cart, how to drive a single draft horse in cart, and depending on time how to hitch a team of draft horses. A $20 donation per person is requested to participate and a Liability Waiver Form must be signed before participation. Open to ages 10 and up, and parent/guardian must be present to sign Liability Waiver for minor.

Participation is limited and handled on a first come, first serve basis. Sign up will occur at the Draft Horse Education Foundation vendor booth inside the Farm Bureau Center during the festival.

Sonny Garguilo

Sonny Garguilo is known for his unshaken patience with horses,. He travels the country working with horse and owners to understand better the horse human relationship. Sonny has not only had thousands of interactions with troubled horses but has worked extensively with the human to build a bridge between the two. Sonny has been a competitor in three separate Extreme Mustang Challenges placing 2nd and 4th and winning the trail class in 2012. Sonny will produce two clinics; Lunging in a Whole New Way, taking the mindless circles out of lunging to produce the smarter more willing horse and Finding the Holes and Fixing Them, Working with the horse and rider to find holes in the foundation and how to fix them from the ground up. To Participant in Sonny’s clinic contact him at (516) 790-8367 or

JTO Horsemanship

A group of three clinicians dedicated to making the horses life a better place by educating their riders. The use of obstacles to achieve this goal is an integral part of the process in establishing the proper use of the horse’s body position and establishing trust between the horse and rider. The clinicians are all accomplished horsemen and women in their own right . The three share a love of the horse and helping people reach their goals with their equine partners. JTO is offering three clinics throughtout the weekend and an Obstacle Challenge Competition, with cash prize, on Sunday, March 25th only. Participant spots in clinics and competition are available and limited please contact Jackie Turnbull at 704-690-1915 or Susan Grose at 336-971-0325 or 


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Introducing LandSafe – a revolutionary new training program designed to teach the best practices of fall prevention and response. Join the sport’s top equestrian safety experts Danny and Keli Warrington for this life-changing opportunity to learn and apply key fall safety techniques for using a one-of-a-kind proprietary fall simulator.

Mounted Games Across America

Mounted Games Across America (MGAA) is a 501c3, non-profit organization that promotes equestrian mounted games in the USA.  They offer regional, national and international opportunities for riders of all ages, levels, and from different backgrounds.  Equestrian Mounted Games are played in at least 24 different countries.  It is truly a sport, where athleticism, horsemanship, and teamwork are what define the winners. Riders are sorted into teams, with four riders and four ponies taking part in each race.  A competition consists of teams, riding head to head through approximately 10 races in a session.  Teams are arranged in lanes, relay race style, with a start/finish line, and often “handoff” a flag, batton, or other object to signify the next rider’s portion of the race.  The first team to successfully complete a race receives the highest amount of points.  Races may require riders to dismount, collect an object and remount.  Other races may require riders to collect something from the top of a barrel, cone or pole, drop something into a bucket, weave through poles, pop a balloon, or “joust” down a target.  Some riders perform these skills at a walk or trot, aided or unaided, while the highest level performs these skills at a full gallop, athletically vaulting on and off their pony without checking up.  Possibly one of the most exciting spectator equestrian sports, cheering loudly is encouraged!

MGAA is accepting riders for sessions throughout the weekend. Visit and click events to sign up.

Steve Meadows

Steve Meadows is a fourth generation horseman that’s been a professional horseman for over
25 years. For the last 5 years, Steve has been specializing in the Ranch events in AQHA. He is a
multiple AQHA World Champion, AQHA Hi Point Champion, and All American Quarter Horse Congress
Champion most recently placing 1st and 2nd there in the Senior Ranch Riding out of 83 entries.
Steve has done clinics throughout the US and Internationally including the official Ranch Riding
demo at the 2017 Congress and will be doing the Ranch Riding Clinic at the 2018 AQHYA Youth World
Cup in Texas in July. Steve is from Staunton, Va. where he and his wife Becky own and operate
Meadows Quarter Horses. They specialize in AQHA Ranch events and quality Hunters. Steve has been an
AQHA judge for over 15 years judging such prestigious shows as the AQHYA World Championships, the
All American Quarter Horse Congress, the Australian National Championships, and the New Zealand
National Championships. Steve is currently serving as National director representing Virginia at the American Quarter Horse

Nicole Carswell Tolle

This is an event in which clinic riders, trainers and instructors gain knowledge and techniques based in the Walk N Style Program. Trainers and Instructors can pursue certification in Training, Instruction, or both with Walk N Style LLC. Testing and live instruction will be utilized to test knowledge levels. Certificates will be awarded to certifying trainers and instructors and they will become part of a database promoted by Walk N Style LLC as qualified trainers and coaches recommended to the public for business and learning. See the Clinic Information document below for a full listing of certification classes, clinics and classroom presentations.