The horseshow season is in full swing. Exhibitors can choose from prestigious AAA shows on down to more relaxed local show circuits. Within an hour’s drive of Central VA you have multiple shows from which to choose every weekend. There is the opportunity for all levels of horses and riders to enjoy the competition.
For young riders there’s a selection of equestrian camps, ranging from overnight camps to weeklong day camps at area stables. There are activities for the beginning riders, all the way to activities for the specialty advanced riders.
Here’s one of my favorite summer equestrian pleasures: enjoying a Sunday afternoon sipping wine and watching polo set in the spectacular background of the Blue Ridge mountains at the King Family Vineyards in Crozet. From Memorial Day to mid-October, matches begin at 1:00 pm every Sunday (if weather allows) and they are free and open to the public.
Although there will not be foxhunting again until the fall, there is still the opportunity for foxhunters to get together. Hounds are being walked, there are trail rides to accustom horses to going in a group and there are still some hunter paces.
And of course there’s no better way to celebrate summer than to explore the Virginia countryside from the back of a horse. If you like to ride out from private property, farms that are in the area where the various foxhunts participate can offer miles of rideout. Landowners who allow the hunt through their land will usually allow hunt members to trailride and also will usually give their neighbors permission to ride as well. There is state park land in Virginia with riding trails. Also horse camping as well as trail riding is permitted at a number of our state parks. In Albemarle County there are two parks which permit horseback riding: Preddy Creek park and there is also Patricia Byrom Forest Preserve Park. In Fluvanna County Pleasant Grove Park has equestrian options too.
Our Virginia horse racing season also begins in earnest in the fall, and we’ll have more about those details for you soon.