Celebrate the Virginia Steeplechase Tradition

April 25, 2018 | Ivy Publications

Each spring and fall, Virginians don their “afternoon dress” or “Sunday best” to celebrate the state’s steeplechase tradition with posh horse races. Social affairs, these events are filled with fashion and tremendous tailgate spreads, complete with lawn games and farm-to-table food and drinks. The sport is one of elegance and beauty as equestrians race over lush fields and hills. This season, the custom continues with the Foxfield Spring Races on Saturday, April 28, and the Virginia Gold Cup on Saturday, May 5.

(Below, bottom photo by Richard Clay, courtesy of VA Gold Cup)

The proximity to the horses on race days make for an exhilarating experience. Reaching speeds around 45 miles per hour, the horses test the limits of speed and agility and tradition includes spectators placing friendly wagers on their favorites and then raising their glasses to the fastest. In addition to the competition on the field, hat and tailgating contests are added entertainment.

No matter the season, this 250-year-old tradition continues to excite and entertain equestrian lovers. Be sure to check our Facebook and Instagram for special ticket giveaways for upcoming races.

To learn more about Steeplechase, click here. Scroll on to see our horse race fashion guide!

(Below, bottom photo by Chris Weber, courtesy of VA Gold Cup)

From broad-rimmed hats embellished with lively accessories to bright seersucker suits, the preppy fashion showcased at Virginia horse races is always a staple of the events. We put together some of our must-have pieces to help you plan the perfect look.

For Her (1–3) & For Him (4–6):

  1. Spring/summer dress: Forever Holiday Dress from Verdigris
  2. Broad-brimmed hat: “The Vineyard” hat with “The Traveler” scarf from Wine & Country Collections
  3. Pearls: Morganite & Akoya Pearl Stud Earrings in Gold from Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry
  4. Watch: Tissot Quickster Chronograph Quartz Watch from Schwarzschild Keller & George
  5. Bow Tie: Lewis Bow Tie by Collard Greens from Natty Beau
  6. Button-up shirt: Mint Crinkle Plaid Print Long Sleeve Shirt by Stone Rose from Verdigris

Original story by Abby Meredith


Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia, and Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia, are accompanied by the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made foods, award-winning Monticello AVA wines as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.


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