Upcoming festival is for dog and horse enthusiasts

virginia horse festivalThis year’s Virginia Horse Festival, March 23-25 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, is a dream come true for both horse and dog lovers.

Festival-goers may bring their furry friends to the event this year!

“We have gotten feedback each year that guests would like to bring their canine companions to the event,” noted Stuart Sanders, event manager. “This year we are thrilled to partner with the Caroline County Humane Society to make that a reality.”

Dogs are welcome at the festival when owners present a valid rabies vaccination receipt and sign the event’s dog waiver prior to admission.

No retractable leashes are permitted, and dogs will need to wear a special collar tag while visiting the festival. Pet stations will be located throughout the grounds to provide water and cleanup supplies.

“Dogs and horses go hand-in-hoof, and we are pleased to be able to celebrate both of these loyal companions at the festival,” Sanders said.

The festival also will feature daily Jack Russell Races, featuring the dogs of Central Virginia Terrier Racing.

For equine enthusiasts, there will be clinicians, presenters, educational seminars and entertainment. Among the many presenters are Danny and Keli Warrington of LandSafe, a training program designed to share the best practices of fall prevention and response. The Warringtons will show festival-goers how to apply key fall safety techniques to keep both rider and their horse safe.

Clinicians include Ken McNabb, billed as a true American cowboy; Horse Hippie founder Laura Stopper Batts; Cornerstone Horsemanship; Cooler Horsemanship; Kenny Davis with Shokota Equestrian; Sonya Crampton, a hunter/jumper specialist; horse trainer Sonny Garguilo; Brock Griffith; and more!

Featured entertainment is Austin Anderson and the Texas Trick Riders. Anderson is a third-generation stuntman, horseman and performer. He started his career entertaining with his family as part of The Texas White Horse Troupe, which his parents formed in 1963. The family show has been featured at rodeos, Wild West shows, state fairs, expos and circuses.

In addition to clinics, demos and seminars, festival-goers will have access to an abundance of indoor and outdoor shopping, including vendors of boots, saddles, tack and trailers. Youth and adults also can visit the Hokie Horse Education Station, which offers horse-related craft activities like horseshoe painting and Kentucky Derby hat-making.

Children 12 and under will be admitted FREE with a paid adult admission.

At the inaugural Triple Crown Tribute reception and program, guests can commemorate the 45thanniversary of Secretariat’s historic Triple Crown, in which he won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Special guests include author Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of the late Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner; sports journalist Steve Haskin; and former Meadow Stable grooms.

Groundshaker, a great-great-granddaughter of Secretariat and the star of The Meadow’s Secretariat Birthplace Tours, will hold court in a paddock near the historic yearling barn. The retired racing Thoroughbred will be joined by Mia the miniature horse, who will be decked out like a little Big Red.

Secretariat fans also can enjoy celebrity appearances and autograph signings by the Secretariat racing team and shop for official Secretariat merchandise.

Among other events celebrating Secretariat throughout the weekend are VIP tram tours of the champion’s birthplace. Take a journey back to the heyday of Meadow Stable, and enjoy exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories from Tweedy, Haskin and other special guests. Tour stops include Secretariat’s foaling shed, training barn, yearling barn and stallion barn.


Festival-goers also can take guided tours of Meadow Hall, with its Meadow Champion Galleries and Triple Crown Room and the Chenery Collection of rare Meadow Stable memorabilia. All Secretariat events require Virginia Horse Festival general admission.



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