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Competitions & Events

Highlights below from 2017. Check back for 2018 updates.

Guy McLean

Guy McLean and his highly trained team of equine performers, will be putting on an entertainment display on Saturday night at the Virginia Horse Festival. As a two time World Champion Colt starter, Official Ambassador of the Australian Stock Horse, and international Entertainer at events across the world, Guy and his team will put on a show, not to be missed, for old and young alike. The show will take on a True Australian feel, as Guy and his team take you to the Outback of the land they love, and the audience will experience all that it means to be a ‘True Australian Stockman’ and a ‘Horseman’ whose life is dedicated to these wonderful creatures who he loves so dearly.

Secretariat’s Birthday Celebration

The annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration at the Virginia Horse Festival March 24-26 promises to be another memorable gathering for “big fans of Big Red.” Here are highlights of the preliminary program:

  • Celebrity appearances and autograph signings by the Secretariat Racing Team
  • Meet and greet with Groundshaker, our resident Secretariat great-great granddaughter, and her new companion, Mia the mighty mini, who will be decked out like a “little Big Red.”
  • New this year: Tours of Meadow Hall mansion showcasing the Chenery Collection of rare Meadow Stable memorabilia, including locks of Secretariat’s hair
  • New this year: a special “pre-Derby” dinner with a guest chef, craft beverages and the Secretariat team
  • Back by popular demand: a showing of the Secretariat movie with commentary by the Secretariat Team.
  • An extensive selection of official Secretariat merchandise for purchase in the Exhibit Hall

Click here for a full schedule of the weekend. 

Special thanks to the sponsors and supporters of this event!

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Secretariat…his records live on…his bloodlines live on…and at The Meadow, his legend lives on!

Cornerstone Horsemanship Performance Trail Challenge

The Cornerstone Horsemanship Performance Trail Challenge is a special event consisting of maneuvers and obstacles potentially encountered on the trail. The Performance Trail Challenge is intended to reflect the versatility, attitude and movement of a working horse in the task of performing a designated pattern. The Performance Trail Challenge will test the horse and rider’s partnership and abilities while engaging obstacles and performing required maneuvers.

Contestants will use their judgment on how best to complete the obstacles and the overall course in order to finish the Challenge within the 5 minute time limit. However, the judging is based on precision, not speed. An uncompleted course will not disqualify the horse/rider team, but all obstacles and maneuvers must be attempted. The main objective of the Performance Trail Challenge is to display the horse’s ability to work at a forward working speed, completing the course with accuracy, ease, smoothness, responsiveness, and control.

There will be 2 preliminary rounds for contestants to choose from (Friday afternoon or Saturday morning), with the top ten returning for the finals on Sunday afternoon. Entries are limited, and must pre-register. Use this form to sign up now!

Thoroughbred Makeover Rematch

Top-placed horses from the 2016 $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover will demonstrate the skills that they developed in preparation for the ten-discipline competition in Kentucky. Each will perform and the crowd will select a winner. The purse for this rematch is $1,000.

Horses and Riders below:

Tom Mansmann and David L

A with a background in Dressage and Eventing, Tom now spends most of his time in the hunt fields as a professional with four Virginia hunt clubs and running Pacific Farms with his wife, Claire. As a North American Field Hunter Champion, it made sense that Tom entered “Chris” in the Field Hunter division at the Makeover. However truck problems kept them from getting to Kentucky on time and they switched to the Eventing at the last minute, still producing a 10th place finish with no previous show experience.

Sarah Davis and JJ’s Local Law

You may recognize this familiar face from last year’s Virginia Horse Festival, where Sarah showed JJ’s Local Law in the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover Preview. With experience in Eventing and exercise riding, Sarah has made a name for herself transitioning Thoroughbreds into second careers. JJ and Sarah have been together since Sarah was her exercise rider throughout most of her racing career. Sarah and JJ return to Virginia Horse Festival this year as your 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover Field Hunter Champions.

Michelle Craig and Youmightbearedneck

Michelle and “Rory” were supposed to be at last year’s Virginia Horse Festival with RRP but were involved in a frightening crash with their trailer en route. Rory fractured his upper jaw in the accident though miraculously was un-phased mentally. As part of his recovery Rory was not able to use a bit but Michelle knew she had a smart young horse on her hands, so she learned to ride bridleless. Michelle chronicled their progress all spring and summer and they quickly became a fan favorite, earning the Thoroughbred Ambassador Award at the Makeover for their inspiring journey.

Julie Nelson and Riding the Tide

Julie is an amateur rider who grew up riding in Pony Club and has had a number of OTTB projects over the years one of which carried her to the CCI** level of Eventing. “Rodney” is affectionately named after his race trainer and former Grand Prix show jumper, Rodney Jenkins. They say great things come in plain brown wrappers and Rodney is no exception. He and Julie had impressive results in the Dressage and Eventing divisions, taking home 11th and 9th place respectively as well as the Top Amateur award in each division.

Parade of Breeds

The Parade of Breeds will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24, in the First Bank & Trust Company Pavilion. Come experience some incredible horses and witness a diversity of breeds.

Parade of Breeds Application 

Presented By:

4-H EquiSmartz

The EquiSmartz Motto: “EquiSmartz – Developing industry leaders, honing life skills and cultivating a love for the horse through learning and competition utilizing the horse as the tool without requiring ownership!” EquiSmartz is the state-level equine educational competition for 4-H, open to all 4-H youth regardless of their ability to own or maintain a horse. Contests offered are Horse Bowl, Hippology, Horse Judging, Public Speaking, Individual and Team Presentation.

Participant Schedule