Skip to content

Equine Education – coming to Shelbyville!

By Sadie Fowler

The youth is the future of the walking horse industry, and, quite simply, the more kids interested, the better off the industry. That’s the line of thinking Jerry Harris had when he began organizing Equine In Education, a program scheduled to take place in Shelbyville, Tennessee March 9 at the Calsonic Arena.

Harris is already expecting 1200 school-aged children from various schools across Middle Tennessee to attend, and he welcomes even more. 

“The youth are the backbone of our industry,” Harris said. “They are our future … I wanted to do something to bring the youth back so I started talking to other folks about this program, and everyone agreed. It just took off from there.”

Equine In Education is a FAST sponsored event; others helping Harris coordinate the festivities for that Friday of fun include Kathy Zeis, Denise Rowland, Allison Thorson and several other trainers and leaders within the walking horse industry. Leftover funds from last summer’s revived Lynchburg Horse Show are being used to put the event on with the end goal being to promote the walking horse. 

“After last year’s show in Lynchburg we did an RFD ad and still had funds left,” he said. “This is a FAST-sponsored event, but I really just wanted to put it on to do something to bring the youth back … I want to see the stadium (Celebration) filled up like it was when I was a kid … We’ll all be happy then.”

The program will serve like a field trip for students ranging from kindergarten to grade eight for about a half-day of activities related to the horse, ranging from riding demos, to exposure to veterinarians, farriers, trainers, instructors, the USDA, the Celebration and more.

“We want people to realize if parents have a child who wants to ride they can,” said Harris, explaining the walking horse is a horse for everyone. “We have a line up for this program that’s just unbelievable.”
Several horses will be on hand to add excitement to the program, including I Am José and The Golden Sovereign. Academy horses will be on hand for some students to test out their skills, as well as weanlings to attract the younger students’ attention. 

The event is free, which has been an incentive to schools across the region that normally have to pay for field trips, Harris explained. Locally, Cascade, Liberty, Thomas Magnet have committed to the event, and Harris welcomes any other schools wanting to attend to call him and join in the fun. Several other schools outside Bedford County are also committed to attending.

Harris started the mission by contacting superintendents who in turn contacted principals for each school. Schools are responsible for transporting students, but the rest is free, including lunch from Domino’s and beverages by Coca-Cola. 

“Teachers are excited and think the kids can really learn something,” said Harris, who has organized three other events similar to this in the past. “This is by far the biggest one I’ve done and I think that’s simply because of the strides we made in 2017. Everyone is excited about the future.”

The agenda for the day includes a welcoming by Bobby Richards, who will explain the various divisions and uses of the horse to students. 

Harris expects a representative from the USDA to be on hand to explain their part in the industry. An emphasis on what the horse brings to the local economy will be made, as well as opportunities students have within the industry, including scholarships.

“The main thing is we want to expose them to the horse and see what kind of future they can have,” he said. “Pat Marsh will be there as well …. People don’t realize how important the walking horse is to our region. We want to educate them on the horse and they can use that to get another education.”

In addition to the USDA, veterinarians, trainers, instructors and other speakers, Harris specifically said Walt Chism will speak on the history of the breed and David Williams will talk about the breeding aspects of the horse. 

To learn more, contact Harris at 931-580-4411.

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 6 21 21

    Read More
  • Be mindful of leadline participants

    The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is fortunate to have participants that range from small children to those that have experienced a full life. Many of our participants first introduction to the Tennessee Walking Horse is through our leadline classes... Read More
  • Obituary – Mary Ella Burke

    Mary Ella Burke of Wildersville, Tennessee, passed away Friday, June 4, 2021, at the age of 82. She is preceded in death by her husband, Earnest F. Burke, her mother Beaulah Johnson and father Ray Johnson... Read More
  • Walking Horse Owners Association presents the Charles B. Howard Memorial Fund Scholarship

    The Walking Horse Owners Association is honored to announce the Charles B. Howard Scholarship program for the year 2021-2022. Affectionately known as “Charlie”, he would want to help a career minded student to reach their potential and proudly present these first awards... Read More
  • Live from Liberty Lions Club

    ReporTV will provide live streaming coverage from the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show, Friday, June 18, beginning at 6:00 pm... Read More
  • The Money Tree Classic never disappoints!

    The WHTA Auxiliary has exciting news to announce! The MTC is proud to announce the addition of the Billy Gray Two Year Old Challenge, sponsored by David Williams... Read More
  • WHOA Cookeville Summer Classic horse show

    The Cookeville Summer Classic Horse Show will be held at the Hyder-Burk indoor arena on Saturday June 19 at 2390 Gainesboro Grade, Cookeville, TN. Casual show attire of a shirt with collar, long pants and boots is required... Read More
  • Obituary - H. Cloyd Philpott

    H. Cloyd Philpott, Jr. 84, of Lexington, NC passed away on Tuesday, June 8. A Memorial Service for Mr. Philpott will be held on Thursday, June 17th at 2pm at the First Presbyterian Church which is located at 15 West 3rd Ave, Lexington, NC... Read More
  • Christmas In July announces added money for Extravaganza classes!

    The Christmas In July Show to be held June 29-July 1, at the Bedford County Agricultural Center in Shelbyville will offer additional prize money in its extravaganza classes featuring two-year-olds and two other classes ending nightly sessions. In total, four classes will be paying $1000 first place money... Read More
  • Obituary – Mike Janeway

    Mike Edwin Janeway was born on August 1, 1944, in Maryville, TN. He was the son of Oscar Wiley Janeway and Mildred Montgomery Janeway. Mike’s involvement with horses began when he was an infant, because his grandfather, James Calvin Montgomery, always had horses... Read More