The Virginia Horse Center Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Joining the Board as the Horse Center continues to expand its team of top-notch industry professionals and leaders are Bill Heizer, Tim Jennings and Brian Ross.
“One of the unique features of the Virginia Horse Center is that our crowded calendar of events features almost every discipline that is a component to the equine industry,” Glenn Petty, Interim Executive Director of the Virginia Horse Center Foundation said. “Our specialty is that we don’t have a specialty. We have diversity. As a result, we are excited that our three, very well qualified, directors come to us from very different breeds and performance groups which increase those disciplines and breeds representation on our board. Ultimately, this increases the board’s and the staff’s level of expertise and inside knowledge of the game.”
Brian Ross comes to the Virginia Horse Center with a judging background that spans 30+ years and includes a number of the world’s largest and most reputable events.
Brian Ross was born in England, but he moved to the U.S. in 1965 and has built quite the remarkable resume over the past 50 years. Ross taught at the Potomac Horse Center for 7 years; he rode on the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion Tour for 3 years, and he and his wife, Penny, ran their own training stable for eventers in Southern Pines, North Carolina for 9 years, before moving to Rockbridge County in 1989.
Since moving to Rockbridge County, Ross and his wife have had an extremely positive influence on the Virginia Horse Center, bringing to life the Virginia Horse Trials at the Horse Center, an event that is now celebrating its 25th year. From 2005 to 2007, Ross was also a director of the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships at the Horse Center.
Ross started judging dressage and eventing in 1978, and he became an FEI eventing judge in 1988. Since then, highlights of his judging career have included judging the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 2006 Aachen World Equestrian Games, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (six times), and the Badminton and Burghley CCI4* events in England. Ross has served on numerous United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and United States Eventing Association (USEA) committees, most recently as Chairman of the USEA Licensed Officials Education Committee.
Ross and his wife now spend time caring for their 54-acre Tantivy Farm in Fairfield, Virginia and riding their own horses as well as enjoying fox hunting and competitive trail riding.
A former Virginia Horse Show Association (VHSA) Horseman of the Year, Bill Heizer brings to the board a
Bill Heizer currently owns and operates Bill Heizer Stables in Middlebrook, Virginia.
lifelong commitment to and background in the horse industry. Heizer currently resides in Middlebrook, Virginia where he owns and operates Bill Heizer Stables, an American Saddlebred show barn dedicated to training, developing and selling horses with an emphasis on youth and amateur riders.
“I have started many young prospects that have gone on to be world and reserve world champions thanks to the Virginia Horse Center, where they were showcased,” Heizer said.
Heizer continued, “I am also a big believer and promoter of horse activities on a grass roots level. I’m always willing to help 4-H and FFA clubs with riding and judging clinics and supporting the local one-day shows.”
In addition to his work in the horse industry, Heizer and his wife, Suzanne, raise registered Shorthorn and commercial Angus cattle. Heizer is also the Assistant Director of Pygmalion School, a private alternative day school in Staunton, Virginia, for students with behavioral issues.
Rounding out the new additions to the Virginia Horse Center Foundation’s impressive roster is Tim Jennings. Jennings has a wide range of experience and a history of involvement within the American Quarter Horse and auctioneering industries.
Tim Jennings has managed more than 360 live horse auctions, selling over 60,000 horses through Professional Auction Services, Inc.
Jennings began showing Quarter Horses in 1968, and he went on to win numerous Western Riding accolades including an AQHA World Top Five finish and a win at the American Quarter Horse Congress.
In addition to early show ring success, Jennings has managed more than 360 live horse auctions selling over 60,000 horses through Professional Auction Services, Inc., a corporation founded by Jennings and his brother in 1978. Jennings has been an auctioneer at a large number of hunter sales on the East Coast, including world record setting hunter pony auctions produced by the Virginia Pony Breeders Association, as well as Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse auctions including Heritage Place, Champion of Champions Cutting Horse Sales, the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association Sale and much more.
Jennings and his wife, Cathy, have expanded their business through Flashpoint Bloodstock, and they have pioneered online auctions for sport horses and ponies through www.sporthorseauctions.com.
About the Virginia Horse Center
The Virginia Horse Center (VHC) hosts over 100 equine events a year. In 2013, VHC provided 51,455 stable nights with an estimated 205,000 guest days and a combined local economic impact estimated at over $53 million statewide and $37 million in Lexington and Rockbridge County.
The VHC is situated on a 573-acre site with 8 barns to accommodate 750 horses in permanent stabling. Indoor stabling can be increased to 1,200 horses with the use of temporary stalls. VHC hosts 19 show rings, including two large arenas and a five mile Olympic cross country course. Four of the VHC barns are winterized with close access to the 4,000 seat indoor coliseum. VHC is recognized for the excellent footing of its show rings and the durable construction of the concrete stalls. VHC also offers camping facilities and on-site food and beverage services.
For more information on the Virginia Horse Center, please visit www.horsecenter.org.