Keswick Horse Show

Experience old-world charm at this modern equestrian event.

Photo by Teresa Ramsay

Begun in 1904, the Keswick Horse Show is not only one of Virginia’s oldest horse shows, but it represents the best of Virginia equestrian tradition and hospitality. From May 19 to 23, the 117th annual Keswick Horse Show will return to delight spectators and exhibitors at a new temporary venue, the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington.

A collaborative effort, the show is  run by volunteers from the community of Keswick and the Keswick Hunt Club. “The entire Keswick community contributes so much of their time to make this show happen. It is truly a group effort, and this community is so proud of the show,” says co-chair Jill Grant. Grant notes that some of the hospitality events, which usually include meals and even a dog show, may be curtailed due to the ongoing pandemic; however, she and co-chair Kelsey Mooney will have a live feed for the specialty classes so everyone can be part of the show, even if virtually.

Despite its homey atmosphere, Keswick is a serious sporting event. It holds the prestigious USEF AA-Premiere rating and is both a USEF Heritage Competition and a World Champion Hunter Rider event. Prizes are awarded for hunters, jumpers, and conformation, and riders range from children in lead line to amateurs and professionals on some of the top horses in the hunter/jumper world. The show’s signature events include two $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies (pro and non-pro) and the $20,000 Jumper Classic. 

Jane Gaston, 69, has shown at the Keswick Horse Show since 1968, participating in almost every division through the years. “Keswick is special in that it is an intimate horse show compared to most today,” she says. “I love going there, seeing friends, and competing in the beautiful ring. Renowned for its hospitality and warm and inviting crowd, friends of the horse show love to share Keswick and its long history. It’s a wonderful horse show.”

Grant agrees. “There is really nothing like the community that the Keswick Horse Show represents.” KeswickHorseShow.com 


This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue. All events were accurate at publication but may change without notice. Please check with organizers before traveling.

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