More than a year ago Ernie Oare the Virginia Horse Center Foundation President, and Bill Rube, the Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. National Hunter Breeding Championship Committee Chair, began discussing the future of the championships. Both men place high value on the prestigious national hunter breeding championship, and they wished to see it continue to grow and flourish.
With that in mind, Oare and the Virginia Horse Center team put in a bid to host the 2015 Sallie B. Wheeler/US National Hunter Breeding Championships, and on Aug. 29, the Horse Center hosted the largest and most successful Sallie B. Wheeler event to date.
"It was great. I can't say enough good things about the Virginia Horse Center," Rube said. "The stalls, everything - everybody loved it. It really suited the championships. It was really nice to work with a venue that wanted the championship there."
Rube continued, "They covered everything down to the little details. They laid mulch all the way from the barns to the ring and all the way around the rings so that the young, barefoot horses didn't have to step on any stones. Sandy Gerald decorated the rings beautifully. It was a great event."
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Rube, the Sallie B. Wheeler Committee, the USEF and the Virginia Horse Center, entries for the 2015 Sallie B. Wheeler Championships were up nearly 60 percent from 2014, and Rube expects to see that growth continue as the event remains at the Virginia Horse Center for the next two years.
"The Sallie Wheeler Championship is a National Championship, and we at the Virginia Horse Center welcome all of you," Oare said at the start of this year's event. "Chairman Bill Rube has worked tirelessly with our manager, Sandy Gerald, and our staff to make this event what it is supposed to be - special."
Judges Mindy Minetto and Chris Wynne presided over the show, ultimately naming Solaris EMF (Sir Wanabi x Panache EMF/Pablo), a Hanoverian gelding owned by Cismont Manor Farm and handled by Kenneth Wheeler, the East Coast Best Young Horse and the Overall Grand Champion. Solaris EMF also won the Yearling Hunter - Colts/Geldings Class and the American Hanoverian Society Breed Registry Award.
The East Coast Reserve Champion Best Young Horse went to Arbor Hill (Aloha x Paisley/Private Account), a Hanoverian/Oldenburg gelding owned by Wheeler and Cismont Manor Farm and handled by Richard Taylor. Arbor Hill also won the 2-Year-Old Hunter - Colts/Geldings class.
Taylor earned the Leading Handler Award, and the Virginia Horse Center's own Betty and Ernie Oare were named the Leading Owners. The Oares topped the 2-Year-Hunter - Fillies class with Jump! (C Quito x Fine Kiss), handled by Richard Taylor.
The Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. National Hunter Breeding Championships mark one of the many high-caliber national events added to the Virginia Horse Center's calendar as the Horse Center continues to grow as an industry leading venue, capable of hosting of the world's largest and most esteemed equestrian events. This month, the Horse Center is proud to welcome for the first time the Nutrena East American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Level 1 Championships, to be held Sept. 29 - Oct. 4.
For more information on upcoming events at the Horse Center visit www.horsecenter.org/Events.aspx. View more images, updates and winners from the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF Nationa Hunter Breeding Championships here.