SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Three experienced Equitation judges have been selected to adjudicate all Equitation classes at the 70th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®, according to Show Manager, Dr. Doyle Meadows.  The Equitation judging panel includes:

 Terri Mosely – Mt. Airy, NC
 Dee Dee Sale – Lewisburg, TN
 Bill Stricklend – Joppa, AL

This panel will be independent of the judging panel that will judge the remainder of the Celebration classes, and all are licensed by the National Horse Show Commission and have extensive backgrounds in judging Walking Seat Equitation.  Mosely judged The Celebration in 1987 and Spring Fun Show in 1992.  It will be a first-time experience for Sale and Stricklend.

“I’m very happy that we were able to get such a high quality panel for our Equitation classes,” said Meadows.  “I have every confidence that these judges will do a great job and it should make our Equitation classes very special this year.  More importantly, I want it to become a springboard for this division for years to come.”

The five Equitation classes at The Celebration will be judged by this three-person panel using the Majority Opinion System (MOS) to tie the classes.  MOS is the most widely used system for shows with three judge panels.  All other Celebration classes will be judged using the five-judge, Olympic system.

Under the MOS system, all three judges carry equal weight in the final class decision, and winners are placed by the best two out of three votes.  Each horse is judged as if it were working individually and then compared with the performance of all other horses in the class who are judged on the same basis.  All judges place the same number of entries in each class, depending on the class size.  Ties are resolved by averaging the opinions of the three judges.

“Equitation classes are completely different from any other set of classes in our show,” said Celebration CEO and Show Manager Dr. Doyle Meadows.  “In Equitation classes, the exhibitor is the competitor and wins the award whereas in other classes, the horse is the competitor.  These classes are very technical when it comes to evaluating the equitation rider and requires a specific skill set from the judges.”

Meadows also indicates, “The Equitation class is not a beauty contest…it is a performance that requires the exhibitor to perform certain maneuvers in addition to traditional rail work.  Subsequently, the class is judged on a combination of the exhibitor’s ability to perform the required skills.”

He feels this is a big step forward for developing the equitation division further.

“It’s obvious that youth exhibitors are the future of our industry.  Exhibitors with Equitation experience make for better riders later in their careers.  Having a separate judging panel for these classes is an example of how strongly we feel about these exhibitors showcasing their skills.”

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® takes place each year during the 11-days and nights prior to Labor Day.  It is the premier event for the Tennessee Walking Horse, during which the breed’s World Grand Champion and some 33 other World Grand Champions are named.  It is a festival event, encompassing exciting classes in competition where more than $700,000 in prizes and awards are given.  Other activities include a barn decorating contest, a trade fair and a dog show.  For more information, visit