Skip to content

Faces return after long absences

By Sadie Fowler

This past show season saw the return of several new faces to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry — although, technically, they aren’t actually new.

A few weeks back, the WHR reached out to horse enthusiasts via social media to hear the stories of any newcomers who decided to jump back in the saddle after a 10 or more-year absence. It was exciting to see there were a few who’d chosen to return to their breed of choice. 

Of course, this group of the select few who had been away for more than 10 years doesn’t include all the new faces who have emerged, choosing the walking horse as their breed of choice. 

“The fact that we are seeing people coming back to competing and enjoying our horse after a hiatus is very encouraging,” said Mike Inman, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. “Their affinity for the horse and the camaraderie never left for these individuals. Seeing the positive turn on what is happening in so many facets of the industry has really been the motivation to get re-engaged.”

At quick glance, Sarah (Coffee) Burks made a return in a big way this year, and a previous feature story on her ran in the October edition of WHR. Additionally, Patty Wilson and Mary Morton are two others who have enjoyed their return. 

Wilson owns two horses now, one of which won at this year’s Celebration.

“I returned to the Walking Horse world this year after an almost 20 years out,” said Wilson, who resides in Birmingham, Alabama. “I grew up riding and showing from about the late 1960s until 1998 and I’m pleased to be back!”

Wilson’s horses are in training with Phillip Trimble Stables. 

Morton returned to the show ring in 2014 after raising a family and simply living life. She had shown as a youngster and is thrilled to be back as well.

Mary Morton returned to the show ring in 2014 after raising a family. She had shown as a youngster. 
She is at Dickie Scrivner’s barn and now has two horses in training, a flat shod horse and a padded horse. 
Her return to the show ring was also met with great success. She got her first Celebration ribbon — two, in fact — this year on her performance horse, Master Of Heartache. 

Morton said this year’s Celebration was a childhood dream come true for her, and she’s looking forward to continuing her journey with eyes set on a new pleasure horse.

Burks’ story was also one with great emotion and excitement. She was a well-known face in the industry who parted ways many years ago and admitted having several personal struggles along the way. 

Burks did a lot of soul searching and work on her own soul with the strong, healthy and helpful support from her late husband, whom she credits for encouraging her to live life to its fullest and reconnect with her horses. 
She has several winning contenders now and is a full-blown, regular — and welcomed — face to the industry once again. 

More Stories

  • FAST provides industry update

    In 2021, the walking horse industry has experienced a generally successful year for our show horse including an increased number of horse shows and sustained entry numbers at the 2021 Celebration.  As we enter into the final quarter of the year, industry organizations and leadership are turning their attention toward the 2022 year.   Read More
  • Obituary – Lined With Cash

    It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Lined With Cash. He passed this afternoon of an apparent cardiac arrest.  This 25-year-old son of WGC Coin's Hard Cash out of the great Gen's Silver Lining has sired currently 1238 offspring who hold close to 400 World Titles. Read More
  • Obituary - Chester Marbry

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of long time walking horse owner, Chester Marbry. A full obituary will he posted as it becomes available. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Marbry family during this time. Read More
  • WHOA announces new show venues for 2022

    The Walking Horse Owners Association would like to announce that WHOA will sponsor the “Southern Belle Walking Horse Show” scheduled for March 10-12, 2022. The event will be held at the Georgia Horse Park, 1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers, Georgia 30013. Read More
  • Latest Issue 11 22 21

    Read More
  • Obituary – Joel Roper “Huck” Moss, Jr.

    Joel Roper “Huck” Moss, Jr., husband of Peggy Ann Moss for 56 years, died November 17, 2021, after an extended illness. Mr. Moss was born on April 8, 1942, to the late Joel Roper “Bubba” Moss, Sr., and Margaret Gardner Moss.  Read More
  • TWHBEA names Derickson CFO

    The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association President, Jack Heffington, announced the hiring of Thomas Derickson as the Chief Financial Officer of Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association, effective November 17, 2021. Read More
  • Mikey’s Motors donates cart to Celebration

    Mike and Chris Williamson with Mikey’s Motors recently donated a utility cart to The Celebration for use on the showgrounds. The cart, which is street legal and enclosed with heat and air will be utilized by Celebration staff in a number of ways throughout the course of the year. Read More
  • Horse of the Year online voting available for Trainers

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Association is excited to announce that they have launched electronic voting for this year's Horse of the Year awards.  With this voting, it is their hope to have made the process easier for trainers and that as a result there will be a greater participation in the voting process... Read More
  • Changes happening fast at TWHBEA; Focus turns to election

    The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) recently announced that Executive Director Margo Urad would end her term as Executive Director on December 6, 2021 and assume a new role as Director of Programs and Horse Show Development... Read More