Horse lovers stampede Augusta Expo for first Equine Fair

A rider dressed in American Civil War garb presents an Appendix Quarter Horse during the Parade of Breeds at the first Shenandoah Valley Equine Fair at Augusta Expo on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

FISHERSVILLE — The first ever Shenandoah Valley Equine Fair was held from Thursday afternoon to Saturday night at Augusta Expo, and considered “a huge success.”

The event attracted an estimated 2,000 horse lovers, according to a press release from the 501c3 non-profit community center in Fishersville. Some attendees came from two or three hours away.

The fair’s goal was “to tap into the rapidly growing horse industry which has a $3.32 billion economic impact in the state of Virginia, according to the American Horse Council Foundation,” the press release stated. The non-profit “strives to increase tourism and become an economic catalyst in Augusta County, while promoting and supporting youth programs especially in the agricultural sector.”

“By adding events like these to our schedule, we are hoping to make a significant impact on Augusta County, not only financially but provide our families with educational activities and entertainment in a fun and safe environment while providing opportunities for our local businesses to promote themselves and contribute to the growth of our local economy,” said Gammon Cross, general manager of Augusta Expo, in the press release.

Thursday afternoon’s events, which required no admission fee, included a vendor show, clinics, breed parades, educational talks and demonstrations.

The events continued Friday and Saturday with paid admission, accompanied by sold out shows Friday and Saturday nights.

On Friday, horse lovers enjoyed the “True Grit Rodeo,” and on Saturday were mesmerized by the Magical World of Dancing Horses, presented by owner/trainer Dianne Olds Rossi, based out of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Special treats on Saturday included an educational demonstration by the 2nd US Calvary Co. A and 9th VA Calvary Company D Reenactment, and a patriotic tribute to the music of “Amazing Grace” during the Magical World of Dancing Horses.

The Virginia Military Institute Equestrian Team also made a special appearance Saturday night at Augusta Expo.

“I have set up as a vendor at many other horse shows and venues over the last few years and felt this one was the best by far,” said Amanda Buchanan from Buchanan Livestock Company in the press release.

She thanked Augusta Expo “for hosting such a great event for the locals.”

The second annual Shenandoah Valley Equine Fair is planned for Nov. 20 and 21, 2020.

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