Equestrianism, also known as horseback riding, is a way of life for many who reside in Northern Virginia. The good news about living in Northern Virginia is that even if you don’t ride horses, you can still enjoy the equestrian lifestyle that the horse community provides. As local equestrian Virginia Costa recently shared in a sit down interview with us, “You can ride at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, watch Olympic qualifying events in The Plains, tailgate at numerous races such as Gold Cup and spectate wonderful horse shows such as the Upperville Colt & Horse Show which is the oldest show in the country. There are a number of Olympians who live and operate their businesses in Northern Virginia and the chance to watch them compete at a local venue is exciting!” Our region has enjoyed a long and rich history for horseback riding that includes many of our public figures, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Farms, barns, horses and the people who love them are the majestic scenery of western Loudoun County starting in South Riding and Aldie and stretching out to Middleburg, the Plains, and Upperville. The Bluemont Fair which is held each September in Northern Virginia always includes pony rides for children to enjoy. Enjoying horses often involves lots of hard work for the owners, but the joy that these horses and the equestrian way of life provides is well worth it to them. The added benefit for those of us who enjoy spectator horse events is that these equestrians share their love for horses with us. Another bonus is the beautiful quality and influence of equestrianism on fashion in Northern Virginia and across the world.
In the Winter Issue of 2018, which will be released January 4th, Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine profiles Virginia Costa, a lifelong equestrian who fell in love with horses the first time she came across the Middleburg Hunt. In her career as an equestrian, Virginia has hunted and done eventing and jumping. You can read a snippet of her interview below and the full interview in the Winter 2018 issue.
What made you want to start riding?
When I was 8 we visited with family friends who had a farm with horses in Purcellville. They went hunting with the Middleburg Hunt that weekend and we were able to watch – from then on, I was hooked! I have always loved animals but I was fascinated by horses after seeing the Hunt and would have done anything to ride. The tradition, formality and beauty of it all was so exciting to me as an 8 year old! My parents finally relented and I saved enough money to buy my first pony (with a little help!) when I was 10. I had to work to pay for board and I was happy to go every day after school to clean stalls and feed. I eventually ended up fox hunting myself with that pony that I saved up to buy with Deep Run Hunt Club right outside of Richmond.
What kind of riding experience do you have?
I’ve been riding since I was 8. No one in my family rides but my parents brought me to see the Middleburg Hunt and then I begged to take riding lessons. I got involved with the United States Pony Club at a chapter in Richmond, Virginia. My mom researched it since I wanted to ride horses and our family knew nothing about them. It is a training and educational club—a great national organization that focuses on teaching horsemanship. I started out in eventing and then I switched to hunter/ jumper right before college. I rode for my college IHSA team at the University of Richmond and then continued training with my long term trainer and dear friend Ada Cosby in Richmond. I’ve been riding with Jonelle Mullen of TuDane Farm in Middleburg for the past few years.
What drew you to your horse Marco?
Oh gosh, with Marco it was love at first sight. He was so sweet like a big puppy dog. So cute. We tried him at a huge competition called Capital Challenge—it’s a large and busy horse show—he just trucked around in a ring of craziness and was calm, cool and collected. We knew he had a great brain and a great heart.
How did you get Marco?
My trainer Jonelle Mullen helped me find him through Emil Spadone who imports a lot of horses from Europe. We were looking for a young horse that we could train for me to show. We looked at a lot of horses before finding him and he was worth the wait!
As told to Jessica Monte
This article will appear in full in the Winter 2018 Issue of Northern Virginia Style & Living