Dear Friends of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show,
Last year I wrote as we were preparing for the 168th Upperville Colt & Horse Show after a year’s hiatus. Today, I’m writing to invite you to what promises to be an even more successful 2022 show.
By the show’s start on June 6, we will have finished upgrading the footing in all the rings ―hunter, jumper, schooling and lunging. Completion of this multi-year project will directly benefit the 1,800-plus horses we anticipate. Another notable change is that we will have an unrecognized jumper show on Sunday June 5― a new event that we especially hope local riders will take advantage of.
We’ve continued our restoration of Upperville’s iconic tree canopy on Grafton Farm, the show’s home since its 1853 inception and where the hunters still compete. We have made space to accommodate more trees in the Parker Ring and have planted a new young tree near each of the two hunter warm-up rings. These join the five donated white oaks and eight additional native trees we planted previously thanks to generous donations. By June we will have finished the trimming begun in 2021 to remove dead growth and encourage new. The importance of our work to restore Grafton was validated when these showgrounds were added to the Virginia Landmarks Register on December 9, 2021.
We have been fortunate: the February Chronicle highlights Upperville as one of a dramatically declining number of stand-alone horse shows. It is among the extremely few that maintain their community-based traditional character while offering world-class competition. In an industry dominated by multi-week corporate style shows that benefit from economies of scale, our challenges include engaging top quality officials and jump crews for just a single week, maintaining first-rate facilities, and keeping the show affordable to competitors, whose fees fall far short of the show’s expenses.
Upperville requires a year-round effort that occurs largely behind the scenes until the tents start going up each spring. We thrive because of the generosity of people who care about horses, history, and tradition, who value the show’s authenticity and longevity, who want to preserve rural Virginia, and who know that showing at Upperville is a uniquely memorable experience. I am extremely grateful for all of them and for our small staff and the many volunteers whose hard work makes our show possible.
Our 2022 prize list will be available online March 21 and we will again print our keepsake show Program. I invite you to visit our website, www.upperville.com, and look forward to seeing you in June.
Joe Fargis, President