Lexington, VA. - Community involvement is crucial to the success of the Virginia Horse Center (VHC). This was evident at a recent fundraising event co-hosted by Mrs. Magdelan Bryant and Michael and Karen Crane at Bryant's Locust Hill Farm in Middleburg. The small group who assembled in gorgeous weather with wonderful views at the historic manor home was engaged and excited about the rebirth of the Virginia Horse Center. Speakers included VHC President Ernie Oare, CEO John Nicholson and Treasurer Tim Harmon.
The supportive group attending the event recognizes how important the VHC is to the overall health of the Virginia equine industry. The multi discipline nature of the VHC allows it to reach a broad audience impacting both the local and national equine community.
Locust Hill farm provided a picturesque setting for supporters of the Horse Center to gather and talk about the future of the facility. Bryant is a Virginia owner/breeder who has been a prominent environmentalist in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties, and was one of the first property owners in that area to place her land in a conservation trust. Chairperson of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Bryant received the Land Trust of Virginia's Conservationist of the Year Award in 2011. She has also been deeply involved in the Thoroughbred industry as an owner of many successful horses.
One aspect of the Virginia Horse Center that was highlighted during the evening was the impact that it has on children. The Horse Center is the foundation for future equestrians, with venues and events that support and encourage children. Julie Williamson has been involved in organizing the Virginia State 4-H Championship Horse and Pony Show for many years.
"We are so lucky to have this facility in our state," Williamson said. "It's a great opportunity for our 4-H kids to be able to show at a facility of this caliber, an opportunity that they would not normally have. We have the next group of horsemen coming up and a lot of them are being touched by the opportunities that the Virginia Horse Center and 4-H and have been able to give them. We talk about big things happening at the VHC, but this is an awfully big thing that touches an awful lot of people"
The event was very successful with exciting outcomes, which include an offer to host another intimate dinner party in the fall in Middleburg and interest in future meetings to discuss continued improvements. There was also a request to bring world-class international circuit jumpers to the Virginia Horse Center in the fall to school in the Coliseum as an opportunity to help get them ready for large indoor venues. Attending international stars, Katie and Henri Prudent, echoed this realization. The success of the Virginia Horse Center as both a world-class venue and a resource for the local community would not be possible without the generous support of its donors and volunteers at events like these.
For more information about the Virginia Horse Center please visit www.horsecenter.org.