Fauquier’s Upperville Colt & Horse Show listed on the historic register | Recreation
The oldest and among the most prestigious horse shows in the United States was recently listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register.
The Upperville Colt & Horse Show, located in northern Fauquier on the Loudoun County line, reflects various aspects of the country’s diverse history and contributions, including local African Americans and horsewomen.
Colonel Richard Henry Dulany (1820-1906) founded the horse show in 1853 along the original Winchester Turnpike, now US 50.
A decade later, he joined the Confederacy with the 7th VA Calvary and was seriously wounded at Gettysburg, according to his obituary in the Clarke Courier.
A plantation owner who lived in Welbourne in nearby Upperville, Dulany created the horse show to improve the care and breeding of working and sport horses, according to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form. prepared in September by Maral Kalbian LLC of Berryville.
One story describes his discovery of an injured colt caught under the fence rails, motivating him to educate farmers on better livestock care.
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Upperville Colt & Horse Show was not held during Civil War, World War I, World War II and in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It returned last June with restrictions and is scheduled to be held June 6-12, 2022.
The riders claimed first place earlier this year in a top-flight race from Ireland, after a second-place finish by a woman from Upperville and rounding out the top three by a rider from Chile and Dubai, according to upperville. com.
The 19.5-acre horse show property features well-preserved historic structures from the late 19th and 20th centuries, including a grandstand dating from around 1895, approximately 180 feet long facing the main arena.
The venue retains a 1950 concession building and includes smaller warm-up and show rings as well as booths for announcers, judges and cameras, according to the nomination form. The Dulany family sold the property in 1963. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Inc. currently maintains the property.
“The grounds of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show retain its historic integrity, making it one of the most intact historic horse show grounds in the country…(the) property retains a high degree of integrity due to the preservation of its setting and limited modern construction,” according to the application form.
During the Civil War that raged around Fauquier County and neighboring Culpeper, horses and cattle were constantly confiscated or stolen by troops on both sides.
The concern for a particular stallion in Upperville was told by Dulany’s grandson, H. Rozer. He said a black groom, Garner Peters, accompanied the horse to Pennsylvania where he kept it for the duration of the war.
Peters, who was enslaved by Dulany, made a living during the war breeding the stallion with neighborhood mares, according to the nomination form. Dulany was one of the biggest slaveholders in northern Virginia before the war, according to his obituary.
After the war, Peters brought the horse back to Welbourne, where he spent the rest of his life. The groom continued to work in the equestrian community after slavery ended and with Dulany for at least 15 years after emancipation, according to research on the entry form. Peters died in 1893.
Peters worked at Welbourne at a time when colored people were not allowed to become members of the Dulany Riding Club, which reorganized in 1869, the National Register appointment says. Horse show rules codified segregation at that time.
Only a white person could become a member, according to the nomination form. The Upperville Colt & Horse Show continued to grow for its select members.
In 1891, the charts included Trotting Horses; Heavy draft; General utility horses, including Cleveland and French Coach; hunters; Paired horses; Of race; Riding or saddle horses; Best pair of ponies; and best pony ridden by owner, according to the nomination form.
In 1893 the membership list included Mrs. Ida Dulany, a relative of Richard and possibly the first woman to become a member.
Another racing-focused rule change put in place in 1895 stated that while black grooms could drive a horse to be examined by judges, they could not ride or drive competitively with a white man or boy.
“This limitation and oppression of their skills and training might have led the neighboring community of St. Louis to hold their own show in 1898, called the St. Louis Colt Show…another horse show in the county of Fauquier located near Rectortown was also open to African Americans,” according to the nomination form.
Melvin “Dude” Warner, 101, worked as a groom from 1947 to 1963 for Theo Randolph, an avid sportswoman and club president and her physician husband. In an interview for the National Registry nomination form, Warner, a World War II veteran and African American from Loudoun County, recalled his experience working with horses.
He said that during the 1950s most stables in the area had black grooms and they did “everything but get in the ring”. When Warner accompanied Randolph to horse shows up north, black grooms were able to ride, according to the nomination form.
The biggest change in the local horse industry came after integration, when African Americans were able to attend local high school beginning in the 1960s, Warner said in his interview.
He said that when young black people had the chance to go to high school and then maybe college, they didn’t want to come back and work to take care of the horses – “there were better opportunities and best jobs for them in the world”.
In 2015, Warner was placed on “The Wall of Honor” at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show.