Scenes from Upperville: Lead Line & Specialty Classes

When you attend Upperville, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a show that cares immensely about supporting the local traditions that have been in place since its origins as a breeding show in 1853. The show was founded long ago to encourage local farmers and horse owners to compete, therefore giving them incentive to breed high quality horses that could perform. In addition to the Cleveland Bay, lead line, side saddle, Thoroughbred, and other breed classes, there are also divisions solely for locals, which add to the show’s overall distinctly Virginian flavor. Since there were so many of these special classes at Upperville that you don’t normally see at newer shows, I wanted to share a special post with you highlighting a few of them. And if you haven’t yet, check out my other Upperville posts, including scenes from Upperville, Horse Show Faces, and a tour of Middleburg and Salamander.

Upperville lead line was held on Saturday and was one of the most anticipated classes of the week. The division had two age group classes: 1-3 year olds and 4-6 year olds. An excited crowd gathered along the rail all the way around the ring.

The crowd at the in-gate during lead line. I’m guessing navigating this mob of colorful bows and tiny hooves is good practice for attending Pony Finals.

Moments when I consider if my blog should follow exclusively the “lead line circuit.”

Perhaps the one leadliner that was proportionate to their horse.

Has a GPA helmet ever looked cuter than on this adorable child?!

Two things you can never have enough of: horses and hats.

The memories being made in photos like these are the reason I was inspired to start my blog. Love this moment.

Matching bowties score big points with the judges.

Pony: Hi, I’m down here.

This adorable child was clapping for every single one of his fellow lead liners as the results were announced.

Probably the coolest thing about the leadline is the rainbow ribbon they give to participants not placing 1st-8th. It looks even cooler in person and will make you instantly want to trade your circuit champion ribbon for one.

Petition for lollipops to be given out to riders in all classes regardless of age.

After lead line, there was an equally competitive Walk-Trot division, also separated into two age groups.

I love how involved the whole family is during these traditional Upperville classes.

Speaking of family, there was literally a family class.

This very impressive family was perfectly coordinated from their green hunt coats to their trips around the ring in which they remained in sync the entire time.

The side saddle class convinced me there definitely should’ve been a Disney princess who rode side saddle. These ladies were all gorgeous, elegant, and totally fearless.

Yes, they jumped too.

There was also a class called the Piedmont Foxounds Invitational Hack (actually I had to look up what it was called). It was a fun exhibition in between the lead line/family class/side saddle action on Saturday.

These riders smiled the whole time and were real crowd pleasers.

The Cleveland Bay class is one of Upperville’s oldest traditions. The breed originated in England and today there are less than 600 purebreds left in the world. To see so many in one place at one time during Upperville is a special treat every year.

I spoke with one owner after the class and he said Cleveland Bays were bred to be so versatile that they could be in a harness pulling a carriage one minute, and then detached and ridden on a fox hunt the next.

There was also a foals class! The most memorable part of this class was that you could literally hear it all the way across Highway 50 because one foal would whinny or make a high-pitched squeal, and then every other foal would do the same thing.

This post concludes my coverage of the 2015 Upperville Colt & Horse Show. Hope you enjoyed sharing the sights and scenes with me!

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