This is the 158th year of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show – the oldest show in America boasts some great improvements, but more than anything else it is a timeless tradition in the heart of Virginia’s horse country. The week is young, but already competition is heating up on both sides of John Mosby Highway just east of the picturesque village of Upperville.
Here are a few photos to make you wish you were there… Oh, and we have to tell you that we were very remiss about jotting quick notes while catching quick pix of winners and we simply can’t figure out who is on #149 or what class it was on Tuesday, but the shot is win-win all the way. Be sure to check out the results on horseshowsonline – Upperville has two listings, one for Hunters and one for Jumpers.
First stop at Upperville - get your golf cart! We do a lot of running back and forth between hunter and jumper rings. Handing out magazines, taking photos: add the weight of cameras to typical June heat and it's exhausting, so we get to motor in a Metro Golf Cart. Leann Smith, part of the family who owns and runs this business, couldn't have been nicer. Conveniently located on the east end of the hunter show, right near the horse crossing. © Lauren R Giannini
Improvements at Upperville include footing – the main hunter ring and ring 2 on the hunter side both sport state-of-the-art all-weather footing. The rings still have their distinctive trees but the going is foot-perfect!
Winning isn't everything, but it sure is nice, especially under the oaks at Upperville!!! © Lauren R Giannini
The Exhibitor's Hospitality tent on the hunter side provides sustenance every morning of the show and also 4:30-6:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday afternoons. Tuesday's late afternoon hospitality was sponsored by Chartris Private Client Group and AHT Insurance. On Friday from 5-7pm, hospitality moves to the jumper side for the Welcome Stakes. Shown here, Upperville Show Secretary Al Barber and Diane Jones, whose husband is Tommy Lee Jones - not the actor, the horseman/huntsman & Upperville show manager. © Lauren R Giannini
Our favorite bootmaker, Dubarry… the vintage pair dates back about 11 years and on Thursday will keep our tootsies happy from dawn to dusk. We plan to arrive for the first class at 8 am on the hunter side – Local Hunter O/R – to shoot some friends – and then we’ll make tracks in our golf cart to the jumper side to catch the action. By the way, Dubarry boots look absolutely fabulous with white jeans and any kind of a top – a real fashion statement at any kind of event or social function…
Dubarry gets the style 'thumb's up' but they also top the charts in terms of comfort and useful longevity. We couldn't live without ours... © Lauren R Giannini
Dogs and horses go together and while they must be leashed at Upperville (we resisted taking photos of faithful Fidos following their people down the lanes or searching out their favorite person in the hospitality tent), they are part of the landscape and serve as guardians.
Nobody messes with this cart and cooler! © Lauren R Giannini
Of course, our best canine friend found her first-time ever at Upperville quite an adventure. Beezer is a rescue we adopted from the Middleburg Humane Foundation and we are about to celebrate our seventh month together. She really got the hang of the Metro Golf Cart on her second day and because of the ‘no carts beyond this point’ and the heat, we parked her under a tree near the hospitality tent while we took some photos and enjoyed the buffet catered by Tutti’s Back Street Cafe.
Our best canine friend discovered the advantages of riding in a golf cart and the joy of being parked in the shade and getting some lovely tidbits as a reward. Photo taken from inside the hospitality tent with a 70-210mm telephoto and cropped - not perfect focus but we didn't bother to change the setting for tracking action over fences. Love the ears: she's a Mountain Feist (Blue Heeler X Rat Terrier). © Lauren R Giannini
Then there was the gray horse who cantered into ring 2 for the under saddle class and we thought, dang that’s a nice mover – wonder if it will win… We were right, but only that a gray horse won, and not the one we had picked. No way would we ever want to judge hunter classes – too much like really hard work and way too subjective!
This horse and rider didn't win, but the composition of the shot pleased us and shows the great all-weather footing in Ring 2. © Lauren R Giannini
The action continues at Upperville all week and reaches the grand finale on Sunday with the Grand Prix. For information and the daily schedule, please visit Upperville and, if possible, bring family and friends and enjoy it in person – great shopping and gorgeous horses. Life in the Piedmont doesn’t get much better than that!