The VIRGINIA SHOPPER has been on the prowl again, investigating all things “horsey”. The good news is Virginia is not only for lovers (as the state motto goes), but it’s for “horse lovers”. Kentucky often steals the limelight, but super savvy horse people know this state has a lot of best kept equestrian secrets! Here are just a few:
There’s a hugely fantastic array of horse products and gifts in Virginia – gear, garb, tack, art, jewelry, and decorative “horsey” items for the home like an equestrian hooked rug! Engraved horse charms make delightful gifts too, or hunt scene serving trays, and even horse treat kits. If you can think of it, it’s available in a Virginia specialty shop. There’s a full array of tack shops too and horse supply centers where you can find everything from feed to saddles, boots and riding gear. Just remember that anything equestrian themed automatically adds elegance, glamor and distinction.
2) Care, Feeding and Fun
When a horse owner friend of mine was thinking of moving to Virginia I was able to tell her that trainers, trailers, boarding facilities, farms, trail riding clubs, equestrian vets, dentists, and massage therapists are all readily available around the state. She was thrilled with the many service options and fell in love with the variety in terrain. Rolling hills and manicured pastures lend an air of upscale beauty and beautiful sunsets and misty mornings are reminiscent of the Old South, mint juleps and plantation living. Needless to say, my friend is now plotting her move. Equine massage therapists??? Really???
3) The Tally-Ho Factor
There are more recognized Fox Hunting Clubs in Virginia than in any other state. Who knew? And, historically speaking, George Washington hunted from his teens, and kept his own horses and hounds just for fox hunting. Fox hunt scenes are still among the most popular art forms in Virginia and I found things like antique prints, etched running horses glasses, and hunt scene tapestry handbags. Talk about fabulous gifts! Horse images always add elegance to any home and Virginia is the place to discover a whole world of equestrian art.
4) Competitions and Horse Shows
As a self appointed Shopper Sleuth, I disguised myself as an expert horse person. Fat chance of putting that one over! But people in the horse world are kind enough tolerate my investigation. Where could I enter in or be a spectator at horse shows and competitions? Again, there are venues for every conceivable horse activity all over the state, but I am particularly fond of a fabulous resource for both watching horses do things and joining the competitions. It’s the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia – a world-class haven for horses and horse lovers.
For more than twenty years, the Virginia Horse Center has been the crowning jewel of the Commonwealth’s $1.46 billion equine industry. Known throughout the country and around the world, this fantastic facility serves as a hub for more than 100 events a year including shows, clinics, rodeos, workshops, and community events.
Beyond searching for horse services, The VIRGINIA SHOPPER is always looking for truly unusual vacation spots and local events surrounding them. The Chincoteague Annual Pony Show and Auction (held at Virginia’s Eastern Shore) is definitely worth talking about. It’s the site for a spectacular pony event that’s also famous around the world. Every July, Sailwater Cowboys round up the wild ponies from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island and swim them across the channel to Chincoteague Island. This event is definitely something for the horse lover’s memory book. It’s a never-forget experience.
CONCLUSION: Virginia continues to honor the beauty and nobility of the horse and to provide all horse lovers with unlimited opportunities to care for, exhibit, compete, and simply to enjoy the human-horse partnership in every possible way.
RECOMMENDATION: If you thought Kentucky was the only place to go, add Virginia to the top of your list. It’s truly a horse lover’s paradise, and one of the best kept secrets in our country.
‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN …. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER