Riding for a cause

Horses, ponies and riders gathered at the home of Millie Goodwin on Monrovia Road on Aug. 17 for the 79th annual Belmont Horse Show. 

Hosted by the Belmont Ruritan Club and the Belmont Club of Women, the show boasted 54 entries competing in more than 20 different classes throughout the day. Ribbons were given out to the top four finishers in each class.

The show, which has been held in August nearly every year since 1936, serves as the primary fundraiser for the two clubs. The first show was put on to raise money to help pay for a public health nurse to come to the area. Today, most of the money raised goes toward scholarships for students in Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania counties.

“It’s a good community thing for people to get together, where families come out and have a good outing,” said Henry Southall, a member of the Belmont Ruritan Club. “That’s what we’re about, getting the community together.”

The show continues to be popular, having drawn several generations of participants to compete over the years. At $10 per horse and $5 per pony, the entry fee for the show is low compared to larger shows, and participants don’t have to pay an entry fee for each class.

“It’s still a fun show,” Peggy Rower, a member of the Belomont Club of Women who used to participate in the show, said. “It’s great for youngsters learning to ride, or even old people who are just starting to ride, and for horses who are just getting trained.”

In addition to ribbons being awarded in each class, champions and reserve champions are crowned in four categories: English horses, Western horses, large ponies and small ponies.

In the English Horses class, Something Else, owned by Lauren Sheridan of Kents Store, repeated as champion. The horse and Sheridan also took home first-place ribbons in the English Horse class, the Go As You Please class, Short Stirrups class, Hunters Under Saddle class, Pleasure class and the Halter class.

Last year’s Small Pony champion, Blue Paris, owned by Wakefield Farms and ridden by Meghan Murray, also retained the title. Blue Paris also finished first in the Go As You Please class, Pleasure class and Hunters classes. 

Shezon The Open Range, owned and ridden by Leigh Curtis-Chapman of Fredericksburg, was crowned the Western Horse champion, claiming first place in both the Old Timers and the Ladies and Gentlemen classes.

VT Running on Empty, owned by Aileen Ryalls and shown by Samantha Wills, was named the Large Pony champion, with first-place finishes in the Large Ponies and Pleasure classes and a second-place finish in the Go As You Please class.

Reserve champions were also named in each of the four categories. Comet, owned by Hollow Oaks Farm in Spotsylvania, was named the small pony reserve champion. Lady Lena, owned by Pat Kidd of Kents Store, was the large pony reserve champion. From A Distance, owned by Wakefield Farms was the reserve champion for the English horse class, and Doc’s Pleasure Zip, owned by Curtis-Chapman was named reserve champion for the Western horse class.