Chris Wynne aboard Up. Photo Courtesy of Teresa Ramsay.
Lexington, Va. – March 8, 2017 – The Hollins Spring Welcome Horse Show, which was hosted by the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, concluded on Sunday, March 5, with talented riders claiming championship victories in numerous national rated hunter divisions and USEF 1* jumper classes.
The Hollins Spring Welcome uses the annual horse show to promote the historical university that shares its name as well as its successful competitive riding program. In the past 30 years alone, Hollins students have claimed 18 national championships, and four Cacchione Cup wins.
The championship title in the 3’3″ Amateur Owner Hunter division was awarded to Brooke Cole and her own Emoji, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding called ‘Gibson’ at home. The duo also won the $1,000 Hollins Spring Welcome Amateur Owner Hunter Classic.
“The best part about Gibson is the reassuring feeling of knowing that he has so much power and scope that I know he can get me out of any difficult situation I put him in,” said Cole. “He didn’t have a lot of show experience before I got him about a year and a half ago, but he has really come along quickly. Gibson is so quiet and kind and always tries to do what I ask of him.”
As an amateur rider, Cole seamlessly manages balancing both work and riding, winning blue ribbons with little time to herself.
“I am a braider, and I usually don’t show and braid in the same week because I don’t like to show when I have had to stay awake all night. I got about 3-4 hours of sleep between Thursday and Sunday, so I was really counting on Gibson to step up this weekend,” explained Cole. “Winning this weekend was extra special for me. I was just hoping I could remember my courses correctly, so to win on top of it was really the icing on the cake. I couldn’t have done it without the support from my barn though. They were there every step of the way, offering help whenever I needed it.”
Chris Wynne and Up, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Reann Jones, took home the tricolor in the Performance Working Hunter division after winning the blue ribbon in all but one of the divisions classes.
“I sold Up to Reann Jones at our barn last year,” said Wynne. “I’m just keeping him tuned up in the 3’3″ division while Reann is catching on to everything. Hopefully they can be competing in the 3′ Amateur Hunters by the end of this year.”
Topping the Child/Adult Jumper division, Michael Mahoney and his 15-year-old gelding Remonta Haron took home the championship. Mahoney was freely gifted the talented gelding in November of 2010, and asked only to provide the horse a loving forever home in return. In 2012, at the Atlanta Summer Classic II horse show, the duo claimed the individual and team children’s gold medal in the inaugural U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s Children’s and Adult Amateur South Regional Jumper Championships.
The Virginia Horse Center provides an unparalleled experience for both horse and rider and with recent upgrades being completed in time for the competitive summer show season, competitors readily commented on the value in the improvements that the staff at the VHC are making to their facility.
“The horse center has had an upward trend of being exhibitor friendly,” remarked Chris Wynne. “It was very much a great indoor setting, the rings and jumps were decorated beautifully, and it’s great to see how exhibitors have become an even bigger priority for the Virginia Horse Center.”
“I think the best part about the facility is the friendly and caring staff,” said Brooke Cole. “They are always helpful and accommodating. The stalls are large, which is great when you have a big horse like I do, and the facility has a ton of rings so there is always a place to ride or prepare.”
With the conclusion of the Hollins Spring Welcome, the Virginia Horse Center is now preparing for its many exciting spring events including the Lexington Spring Premier Horse Show from April 27 – May 1, 2017.
To learn more about the Virginia Horse Center Foundation and its mission, please visit www.horsecenter.org.