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90 Entries For WHOA Academy Championships



by Mark Taylor

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The academy program originated through the Saddlebred industry as a tool to introduce new riders to the breed. In 2002 the Walking Horse Owners’ Association developed an academy program to introduce beginning riders of all ages to the smooth ride of a Tennessee Walking Horse. This program also allows the opportunity for horses that are older to be used and enjoyed in their senior years. Generator’s No-U, who is 22-years-old, is a prime example of a horse that had a long show career and is now helping teach young riders through the Academy Program.
The 2007 WHOA Academy Program concluded a very successful season with the 2007 WHOA Academy Championships on March 24 at the Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. Ninety entries took part in this championship event judged by Marty Irby who did an outstanding job.
“We are very pleased with the way things are going for the WHOA Academy Program,” says Academy Chairperson Harolene Willis. “We held six events during the winter season with an average of 86 entries per event. It is amazing to watch these riders, some as young as five-years-old, learning how to show the Tennessee Walking Horse. The encouragement they receive from family and the instructors is tremendous.”
Jack Greene served as the official photographer for the day and all proofs can be viewed at www.jackgreene.com.
The first Academy show of the season was held on Jan. 6 at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a great turn out of 90 entries. Midland Farms hosted the Feb. 17 edition with 71 entries participating in the cold, snowy conditions. Bowling Green was the next stop on March 3 with a two-judge system to make up a snow date from early February. Eighty-two entries made the gate call in Bowling Green, Ky. The final show prior to the Academy Championships had the most attendance with 97 entries making the gate call at Waterfall Farms.
The Walking Horse Owners’ Association has plans to add four academy classes to each versatility show schedule during the summer months. Also WHOA will sponsor ribbons (up to five classes) for any show that would like to add the WHOA Academy Program during the 2007 show season. For more information contact Mark Taylor at 615-494-8824. Versatility show schedules and dates are available at www.walkinghorseowners.com. 

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