"I was at the Virginia Horse Center last week with my daughter competing in the IFSHA Horse Show. I just wanted to let you know that your facility was amazing. We have never shown at such a wonderful and pleasant facility. The staff was extremely helpful and professional and the level of care and attention to detail of your facility was incredible. I really just want to say Thank You for all the hard work you and your staff put in to make the Virginia Horse Center an amazing place.” - Christine Morin, parent
The VHCF has built an extensive community spanning every breed, discipline and walk of life while strengthening the economic fabric of Virginia. Looking back, what are your warmest memories? A quiet morning on the grounds, reuniting with friends, seeing your name in lights, applauding your favorites, or reaching a hard-won goal. Participant, spectator, sponsor, community member—your story is the story of the Virginia Horse Center.
“What isn’t there to like about the show (Dressage at Lexington)? I have been coming here for 18 years, the facility is beautiful and practical, the footing is wonderful, the management is innovative and organized, and the quality of horses and riders attracted here is superb.”
- Jim Koford, High Performance rider
Our Impact by the Numbers
“The Virginia Horse Center Foundation has become a vital part of the fabric of Rockbridge County and the city of Lexington. On first blush, one sees a wonderful resource for the enjoyment of families, tourists, and those who use the facility. More importantly, however, it is an important economic engine in the area—providing jobs, driving business to hotels and restaurants, and drawing tourism dollars. The region depends on and hopes for its continued success.”
- Mimi Elrod, Mayor of Lexington
Every $1 contributed to the Virginia Horse Center Foundation generates $20 in services to our community.
Every year our programs in recreation, education, preservation, health and agribusiness result in over $100 million worth of services to our society. Not bad for a non-profit that has an annual budget of $3.5 million.
We know that horse shows at the Virginia Horse Center create $88 million in jobs and sales revenues for Rockbridge County and the State of Virginia. How do we know this? Our source for this figure is well-documented in The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in Virginia, Terance J. Rephann, Ph.D., Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, March 2011.
Our educational programs have a real-world dollar value of $3 million, the sum of similarly-priced programs (but free at the VHCF): 15 seminars each year, promotion of 4-H and the Rockbridge Regional Fair, and space rental for community events. Equine and other sport teaches responsibility, citizenship, self-confidence, leadership and character. Education about good animal husbandry can reduce the incidence of animal abuse and abandonment, reducing the fiscal burden on local and state governments to prosecute and care for cases of neglect.
The greatest threat to the horse industry is the loss of open spaces, estimated nationwide at 6,000 acres per day according to Equine Land Conservation. VHCF currently maintains 600 acres, an important buttress for Virginia's rural economy and rural character. The current book value of the Virginia Horse Center Foundation's land is over $7 million (as reported by auditors in 2010/2011).
At the Horse Center, our recreational activities directly impact the health of everyone who participates, an impact of $1.2 million. Horse-back riding and other sports-related activity have been proven to contribute to physical agility; to the therapeutic benefits in recovery from a number of diseases including stroke; and to an overall improved fitness of the physical body. Horse activities provide many physical, psychological and therapeutic benefits, such as countering the cost of obesity-related health problems. We are proud to support Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center on our grounds.
Did you know that the state includes the Virginia Horse Center in it's Agriculture category? According to the Weldon Cooper study, "...the Virginia horse industry is helping to offset the decline in the number of farms and helping to preserve over 1,000 miles of open space." Equine sport preserves farmland and generates income for farmers through the sale of hay and other agricultural products. We are proud to generate $280,000 each year through the sale of agricultural products and the support of agricultural initiatives.
“One year we lost our Virginia Horse Center signage budget and sales immediately plummeted. Once we got it back, the numbers were up where they belonged within three months! We are very happy to support the Horse Center and appreciate the business their patrons bring to us.” - Bob Taylor, General Manager, Applebee’s®, Lexington, VA