The Upperville Colt and Horse show, located in the quaint town of Upperville, Virginia, has a rich history that dates back to 1853, making it the oldest horse show in the United States of America. Upperville is also considered to be one of the most prestigious shows in the country.
The show originally started by Colonel Dulany, who wanted to promote better care of young horses as well as better breed stock of horses in Northern Virginia. The first show only featured two classes, one for colts and one for fillies, but has since grown over the years.
According to the official Upperville Colt and Horse Show website, “Grafton Farm, formerly called Number Six of the properties of the founder of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, is where it all started back in 1853. And the towering oaks today are the same trees that stood and watched so long ago.”
The whole week was full of gorgeous weather on the bustling showgrounds on Grafton Farm. Upperville features an assortment of classes on the prize list from breeding classes to ones in the hunter and jumper disciplines.
The final day of the show, Sunday, the 8th of June, showcased the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic. The course this year was in a ring with All-Weather Footing instead of the usual grass ring, but this didn’t make the course any less difficult. The course designer, Marina Azevedo took the opportunity to add some challenging turns and distances into the course. A majority of the rounds ended with 8 or more faults, making it an exciting class for spectators to watch. Only two riders, Candace King and Paul O’Shea made it to the jump off.
Paul O’Shea, an Irish rider on River Dance Semilly, owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC, started off the jump off and left the ring with four faults. Candace King, an American rider, rode Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm, was the second ride of the jump off, which she exited the ring with four faults as well, but with a slower time than O’Shea. Paul O’Shea on Skara Glen’s Sienna, owned by Skara Glen Stables, was the third and final ride of the jump off, left the ring with zero faults, giving O’Shea both first and second place.
O’Shea not only won the better part of $75,000, but also left Upperville with a golf cart and a Custom Saddle and a Horse Ear Bonnet by Antares Sellier France.