The Virginia Horse Center Foundation announced Jan. 25 that national and FEI-level eventing will continue this year at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia, under the name of Virginia Horse Center Eventing. VHC Eventing has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Equestrian Federation to hold beginner novice through intermediate level horse trials plus a CCI1*-L, CCI2*-S, CCI2*-L and CCI3*-S.
“After months of proceedings with the [U.S. Eventing Association] and the USEF, we are delighted to announce that we have received unanimous approval by vote from the USEF Hearing Panel for horse trials to be held May 25-28th at the Virginia Horse Center,” stated VHC Foundation CEO Glenn Petty. “In addition, we are thrilled about the newly formed VHC Eventing Organizational committee and the improvements which are currently underway to the cross-country course.”
Whether the event would run came into question when the Virginia Horse Center and Andy Bowles, who had organized the Virginia Horse Trials at the venue since 2015, could not come to an agreement for another three-year contract. Bowles organized two recognized events each year in addition to three unrecognized events. The recognized events also hosted the USEA Young Event Horse Championships and the USEA Intercollegiate Championships.
Bowles has applied to continue running his event on the same dates at another venue. The Virginia Horse Trials LLC has been awarded a USEF license to run an event on the same dates, May 25-28, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
The new VHC Eventing team will be led by event organizer Joanie Morris and course builders Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert, who are constructing over 100 new cross-country jumps.
Rementer was the recipient of the 2022 USEA Posthole Digger, presented to a builder who has exhibited exceptional ability and dedication to the sport through their work. His resume includes the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Carolina International CCI (North Carolina) and Red Hills International Horse Trials (Florida). Rementer was also instrumental in helping the VHC Foundation acquire more than 80 FEI-level jumps that Rementer previously built for the now-defunct Red Hills International, to be delivered in early February.
Morris’ resume in horse sport includes leadership positions for multiple U.S. Olympic teams and world championships, managing director of eventing and press officer for all FEI sports for USEF, sponsorship activation at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event as well as event director for the $50,000 Grand Prix Eventing Showcase in Aiken, South Carolina.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity to be involved with such a wonderful group of people at this venue steeped in eventing tradition,” she said. “We are focused on creating a quality competition with top-quality courses and officials.”
Brian Ross, the original organizer of the Virginia Horse Trials, who lead the competition from 1989-2014, is the honorary organizing committee chair, and the committee is hoping to bring back several traditions he established for the event, including an opening party and bonfire.
“Penny [my wife] and I couldn’t be any more excited with the formation of this new committee at Virginia Horse Center Eventing and we are confident that they will continue with the well-loved traditions that we founded in 1989,” he said.