Living on a Virginia horse farm is amazing. Not only are horses beautiful creatures but Virginia is a beautiful state which provides horse and rider some truly amazing rides. Depending on where you are located you may be able to take in the beautiful scenery of Virginia’s majestic mountains on a leisurely walk, gallop through serene pastures or trot alongside the calming waters of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. It is just as lovely to ride in the winter as any other time of year and may feel even more magical if there is snow. Keep reading to discover the best way to keep your horse warm, healthy and happy on a winter walk in Virginia. Continue reading
Equine therapy has been around since around 500 BC when Hippocrates wrote at length about the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding for his patients. By the 19th century, German doctors were prescribing horseback riding to alleviate attacks of hysteria and hypochondria. In the 1960s, horseback riding had become a bonafide therapy tool and the North American Riding for Handicapped Association was born. This later became the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. Below you will find some of the health benefits of equine therapy, people it can help and where to Therapeutic Horseback Riding in the Virginia area. Continue reading
While Virginia’s glorious spring weather is a joyful time for eager horse owners tired of the winter weather, there are some dangers to be aware of in this season’s rapidly-growing green grasses. A fresh spring pasture may look lovely, but it can cause issues with horses’ digestive systems and metabolism, particularly for horses with other health issues. Untreated spring pastures can be especially problematic for horses with Pituitary Pars Intermedia Disorder (PPID), those that have suffered from laminitis in the past, horses that are resistant to insulin, and even to horses who haven’t been eating grass during the winter, as it can cause them to develop laminitis or colic. Luckily there are some simple fixes to help to ensure that both your land and your horses are as healthy as possible throughout the year! Continue reading
Many of the paddocks on horse farms have limited shade available for horses – which means horses can easily get overheated in summer months! While Virginia’s climate is milder than much of the southern United States, horse owners still need to take certain precautions to maintain their horses’ health while temperatures are high. Continue reading
You’ve bought your perfect horse farm in Virginia, but now want to get away for an afternoon and do some trail riding. You’re lucky, Virginia is one of the best states to trail ride in due to its natural beauty and number of places to trail ride throughout the state. So, get your gear together, pack a light picnic, stay hydrated, and go out and have some fun! Continue reading
It might be surprising to you, but Virginia ranks number twelve in the nation for their equine population. Virginia has a rich and vibrant history of horse farms and Thoroughbreds as we know it were first introduced in the state to the rest of the nation. With about 215,000 equines in Virginia, the most popular breed you’ll find is the Quarter Horse, but it’s followed closely by the racing favorite, the Thoroughbreds.
Equine History in Virginia
I briefly mentioned above, but the first thoroughbred, a 21-year British successful racehorse was imported to Virginia in 1730. After this first horse came through, many, many more followed in the years to come. From there the thoroughbred lines in the nation start to flourish with new blood coming in here and there. Fabulous horses are commonplace at the time as the number of historical figures that own them grow their farms larger. However, one of the most well-known horses to come out of Virginia is the world renown Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner with his famously large heart which may have come in handy for racing.
Born and Bred 100%, Virginian Horse Breeds
Yes, there are two breeds that hail out of Virginia!
With a little under 100 registered, the small, gaited riding horse called the Virginian Highlander reminds people of a large pony. This breed is known for its stability, stamina, and temperament. This horse is perfect for inexperienced riders especially for the small ones, for its gentle nature and smooth gate. The horse is attractive, friendly, and powerful.
The second and more famous Virginian horse breed is the Chincoteague Pony which draws crowds to the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague. While much is unknown of their breeding as the date of their arrival is not known as well as what type of horses they came from. While they are rounded-bellied, short and stocky they are still genetically considered horses as their stature is due to the scarcity of resources available to them historically. While there is an annual Pony Penning, during the year the herds are managed by the Fire Company on Chincoteague as they are still wild.
The Future in Virginia Horse Farms
Virginia still has a lush landscape of horse owners and equine enthusiasts. Horse races are still commonplace throughout the spring and summer in Virginia. Races range from Charlottesville’s bi-annual steeplechase, called the Foxfield Races held in April and October, to the newly returned this summer, Thoroughbred racing at Colonial Downs.
While few are work animals, horses offer a popular retreat into the wilderness that surrounds the Blue Ridge Mountains, if you find the right area to trail ride. With over half the horse population is ridden for pleasure, it’s easy to see why they are so popular in the region. Investing in the upkeep of horses, while expensive can offer such a getaway from everyday life. Virginia has come a long way with regards to its horses, and the breeds available, it’s going to be interesting to see what’s next for the large, hardworking, beautiful animals.