Submitted by A.M. Warmels
         On the weekend of April 14 and 15, a new type of horse show was featured in the Tennessee Walking Horse capital of Shelbyville, Tenn. A horse show open for all breeds, gaits and riders, any age and skill and one that combines thrill, competition and camaraderie: the world of Cowboy Mounted Shooting.
         The event, which was held at Clearview Farm, was organized by the Elk River Outlaws from Fayetteville and is part of the regional show circuit of the CSMA (Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association). Points accumulated during this show count towards the 2007 World Championship. Horses and riders gathered from all over the country with contestants from Texas, Florida, Massachusetts and South Dakota to name a few. A total of 60 horses competed, divided into six levels and completing a variety of shooting courses.
         The shows are affiliated with the CSMA and follow the strict safety and show regulations at each event. The official rulebook describes the sport as: Cowboy Mounted Shooting is a multi-faceted equestrian sport in which contestants compete using two single action revolvers loaded with blank ammunition specially manufactured to CSMA standards. Mounted contestants shoot 10 reactionary targets while negotiating a specified course of fire on horseback.
         Although the word “cowboy” is often associated with the American Quarter Horse, there is a variety of breeds competing at CSMA shows. The gaited breeds are well represented by Tennessee Walking Horses, spotted saddle horses and Missouri Foxtrotters. Mrs Jamie Parks and Candy Vickers train and compete successfully with their spotted saddle horses on a regular basis. Mr. Tom Block from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., brought his 14-year-old Missouri Foxtrotter, Cloud, to compete at Level 3. Arnold Warmels, the resident trainer at Clearview Farm trains his Tennessee Walking Horse Wrote In Red for both CSMA and Ranch Horse as well as the Tennessee Walking Horse versatility circuit.
         The CSMA provides a large national and international platform with local clubs in most states. Contestants can choose when and where they show, accumulating points all year. More information on local clubs and shows can be found at the CMSA Web site