SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) will add a five-year-old amateur division to all of its shows in the 2013 season.  The new class will be a specialty class and will be in addition to the Amateur Specialty division and Amateur Canter division.  In addition the age restriction of five years and over in the Amateur Canter division will be removed eliminating the age requirement to compete in that class.  All of these divisions will have the traditional mare and gelding division and stallion division in the preliminaries.

“A large percentage of two year olds do not compete in the ring with amateurs until midway or later in their first year under saddle.  Combine that with the competitive performance horse career regularly extending well into the teens it makes perfect sense to start the aged division for amateurs when the horse reaches six. This years’ Celebration had over 40 horses entered that were fifteen years or older,” said TWHNC CEO Mike Inman.

The suggestion for the new class and division came to Inman via an exhibitor from Alabama.  “It is important that The Celebration interact and correspond with its exhibitors and although we can’t implement every suggestion we will do our best to implement those that better the experience for our customers,” said Inman.

Inman reached out to the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) before making the decision and the feedback from the WHTA was unanimously in support of the move.  “In all my conversations with trainers and owners discussing this concept the feeling was unanimous that there were tangible benefits for the horse, trainers, owners, and show managers,” concluded Inman.

The TWHNC encourages all horse shows to incorporate the new division and help build anticipation for the crowning of the inaugural Amateur Five-Year Old World Grand Champion at the 75th Anniversary Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.