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  • VDHMA Annual Meeting Coming Up Please join us for our annual meeting, January 30, 2016 at the Golden Corral in Waynesboro, VA. The Annual Meeting will begin at 11:00 am, please try to arrive ...
    Posted Jan 13, 2016, 5:45 PM by Hope Graves
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VDHMA Annual Meeting Coming Up

posted Jan 13, 2016, 5:45 PM by Hope Graves

Please join us for our annual meeting, January 30, 2016 at the Golden Corral in Waynesboro, VA. The Annual Meeting will begin at 11:00 am, please try to arrive by 10:45 am so we can begin the meeting on time.

Board members please arrive by 9:00 am.

Golden Corral
51 Apple Tree Lane
Waynesboro, VA 22980

#GivingTuesday - Help Mt. Vernon Purchase a team of mules

posted Nov 30, 2015, 7:23 PM by Hope Graves

Tomorrow on #GivingTuesday, December 1, and through the end of the month, George Washington’s Mount Vernon is inviting all mule lovers to help purchase a new team of mules to reside on our first president’s estate. By acquiring these mules, Mount Vernon will help build the bridge to inform visitors on the importance and history of these animals. We believe this event would appeal to the members of your organization, and it would be great if you could place information about it on your website. More information can be found at If you have any questions, please let me know!



Alicia Oken


Alicia V. Oken

Communications Coordinator


George Washington’s Mount Vernon

P.O. Box 110, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121

O: (703) 799-8693 | @mountvernon

Help Save The Glenwood Horse Trail

posted Nov 19, 2015, 12:34 PM by Hope Graves

We have received word that some people are trying to have the "horse" removed from the sign at The Glenwood Horse Trail from Day Creek to Glasco in Montvale.  If successful, the trail will be closed to horses - and we do not want that to happen.  Anyone interested in keeping the horse on the sign, and continuing to let horses on this trail should contact David Whitmore immediately at 540-291-2188

In addition there is a meeting Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 7pm at the Salem Library to discuss the matter.  The meeting is open to the public we encourage everyone to attend to support our equestrian trails.

Field Day with our Gentle Giants - CANCELLED

posted Sep 10, 2015, 3:14 PM by Hope Graves   [ updated Sep 30, 2015, 12:58 PM ]


In an effort to notify members of some upcoming events,  the most current Newsletter has been emailed to all members as well as attached to the website (click here)  before it goes into the mail.  Because of the delay of our Newsletters, many members do not know about the upcoming Field Days with Our Gentle Giants on October 3rd at the Simms Farm, right off of St. Rt. 460 in Bedford. I want to invite everyone that would like to attend or participate with your draft horses, mules, or donkeys. The field events start at 10 am and go until3 pm. We need members to bring your drafts, mules and donkeys and help out plowing, demonstrating equipment, or giving carriage/wagon rides. If you do not have any animals to bring, but would still like to come and help out, we can always use your help.


After the field events, we will be having an auction of donated items, so if you have anything horse related or not, taking up space that you want to get rid of and you were thinking about giving to the Goodwill or some other place, please consider donating it to our auction. VDHMA is a 501(c)3 non-profit and we can give you a tax deduction receipt for your donation.  


We are also raffling off a new Pioneer Forecart, or $500 cash first prize, and other items and cash for 2nd and 3rd. If you would like some raffle tickets to purchase or to sell, please call or email myself, or India Nichols, email at or 540-874-2006.


To finish out the day, starting at 5 pm we will be having a draft horse and mule pull that we expect to really draw in a crowd. The Simms' asked us if we could put on a horse pull and offered to help raise the prize money if we could. All pay out for this pull is being provided by businesses and sponsors in our area.


The Simms' farm is an excellent location right on the side of St. Rt. 460. It is very large, mostly flat and very visible by motorists. Pulling events is nothing new to the Simms'. Each year, they allow the local fire and rescue to use this location to have a truck and tractor pull, and this year, which was their 9th year, just drew their largest crowd ever of over 5,000 spectators. They already have the track, bleachers, barriers, everything that we need to have an event, and they are graciously allowing us to use their farm and anything that we need for this event. So if you are available, please come support this event.


Bo and India Nichols and several others have been working hard organizing this event and it has been advertised pretty heavily, so we are expecting a lot of spectators.


If you are able to help out in any way, can bring horses, please contact one of us and let us know.


Bo Nichols-540-875-8691

India Nichols-540-874-2006

Geryl Wade-540-330-5480

Missy Wade-540-330-5481

Draft Horses and Mules Return to the Virginia State Fair

posted Sep 10, 2015, 2:16 PM by Hope Graves   [ updated Sep 10, 2015, 3:06 PM ]

The Draft horses, mules and donkeys will once again return to the Virginia State Fair in Doswell, Virginia, September 27th and 28th.  There is a great lineup of classes scheduled throughout the day and we conclude this great event with a Horse Pull on Monday, September 28th.  We look forward to seeing everyone.  The prize list is attached.

Amateur Horse Pull - Saturday, July 18th in Lexington

posted Jul 14, 2015, 1:34 PM by Hope Graves

This is the fourth annual Virginia Amateur Horse Pulling Championship, held during the Rockbridge Regional Fair at the Virginia Horse Center. The pull starts at 7:00 pm and this year it is being  held in Barn 6 in the indoor arena.  This pull is an invitational event limited to Virginia resident teams only. It is often used as a schooling event for first time horses to the sport and is conducted to be a good training experience. The amateur status is because  there is no funding to pay premiums other than the gate proceeds that are divided evenly between participants. The training opportunity is based upon the way the event is conducted. The first load is the empty sled and weight is added in smaller increments than regular pulling contests. This allows the horses to develop a sense of confidence  by the efforts being increased in smaller amounts so they can be successful and believe they can do the requested effort. All other disciplines have schooling shows and that's what this event is for Virginia draft teams. It is a fun event and not a serious competition. All Virginia teamsters are invited and the public will enjoy the good nature of the participants and horses. We look forward to seeing you there. Best Regards, Jason Rutledge, lifetime draft horseman, event announcer and organizer.

Southern Va Draft Horse and Mule Show

posted Jun 5, 2015, 9:11 AM by Hope Graves

The Southern Va Draft Horse and Mule Show scheduled for this Saturday at the Pine Spur Hunt Club has been CANCELLED. The Show management shared the following update.

"Due to the week's worth of rain, and more predicted for tonight and thunderstorms for tomorrow, Astride with Pride, Inc. has made the decision to cancel the Draft horse show that was scheduled for tomorrow at Pine Spur Hunt Club. Our heavy horses and the equipment we use would tear up the beautiful grass arena. Please pass this information along to others."

Support the VPA's Percheron Field Day on May 23rd

posted May 19, 2015, 10:32 AM by Hope Graves   [ updated May 19, 2015, 10:58 AM ]

The Virginia Percheron Association will be holding their annual Percheron Field Day on May 23rd in Weyer's Cave, VA.   This is a GREAT event that you won't want to miss.  Load up the family and head to Weyer's Cave to learn more about the Percheron breed and see our Virginia teamsters show off their talent and skill with these fine horses.  

The Event starts at 10:00 am.  The Auction begins at 11:00 am, followed by the raffle at 2:00 pm.  VPA members will provide demonstrations throughout the day.  The event is open to the public.  Located on Route 257 in Weyers Cave across from the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.

For additional information contact:  Gary Kisamore at 540.290.0801.


posted May 19, 2015, 10:21 AM by Hope Graves   [ updated May 19, 2015, 10:23 AM ]

~ State Veterinarian’s Office Urges Horse Owners to Check with Their Veterinarians Now Regarding Vaccination Schedule ~

Mosquito season will begin soon in Virginia and has already begun in some areas. That means it’s time to start thinking about vaccinating your horses against mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and possibly against rabies as well. Unlike WNV and EEE, rabies is a three-year vaccine that does not need to be repeated annually.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) urges all horse owners to check with their veterinarians for vaccination recommendations for their animals. Virginia only had one confirmed case of WNV (Augusta County) and one of EEE (Suffolk) in 2014, although many other states had a much higher incidence of cases.

“Timely vaccination has been shown to decrease WNV and EEE disease incidence drastically,” said Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian at VDACS. “Without vaccination, we would expect to see many more infected horses, so we still urge horse owners to consider EEE and WNV vaccination. We believe that in most cases, private veterinarians will recommend them for their clients.”

Vaccines are effective for six to twelve months, so horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In areas where the disease occurs frequently, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year they are vaccinated. Other prevention methods include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Dr. Wilkes also suggests that owners check about rabies vaccinations for their horses. There were no cases of rabies in Virginia horses last year but four each in 2012 and 2013.

Rabies vaccines are also very effective and vaccinating horses annually can prevent rabies in both horses and humans. In addition to taking measures to decrease the likelihood that horses will be exposed to rabies, routine rabies vaccination is a very important aspect of disease prevention.

All three of these diseases – EEE, WNV and rabies – cause neurologic signs in horses, such as staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness. The diseases can kill anywhere from 30 percent (WNV) to 90 percent (EEE) to 100 percent (rabies) of the horses infected. There is no proven cure for these diseases, but veterinarians can provide supportive therapy to treat symptoms of EEE and WNV and keep horses from injuring themselves. Rabies is always fatal. Humans can become infected with rabies by handling a rabid horse but cannot become infected with EEE or WNV by handling an infected horse, nor can a horse acquire the virus from another infected horse. The presence of an infected horse in the area indicates that mosquitoes carrying EEE or WNV are present, however, and those insects pose a threat to both humans and horses.

For more information on WNV or EEE, contact the Office of Veterinary Services, Division of Animal Industry Services, VDACS, at 804.786.2483 or see Information about rabies and rabies exposures can be found on the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control page at Horse owners should contact their veterinarians for further advice on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219

Virginia Teamsters Receive Recognition

posted May 19, 2015, 9:59 AM by Hope Graves

In the latest issue (Winter 2015) of the DAPNet (Draft Animal-Power Network) Newsletter, several of our Virginia teamsters were acknowledged.  The article, which focused on the 2014 World Percheron Congress said "The Virginia folks are excellent teamsters and . . . deservingly took top honors in both plowing classes "   The article goes on to specifically acknowledge the much appreciated assistance of Gary Kisamore and friends (from the VPA) as well as the "poetry in motion" of the Redifer Family (Father and Son) Teamsters.  The article is attached below, Volume 5, Number 1, Winter 2015 of the DAPNet Newsletter.    

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