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Equine Researchers Visit the Celebration Grounds



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - Approximately 175 leading equine researchers, horse extension specialists, consultants and graduate students visited The Celebration® grounds on Thursday, June 2nd, as part of a tour organized by Dr. Patrick Kayser with the MTSU Horse Science program for the international Equine Science Symposium in Murfreesboro this week.  The Equine Science Society (ESS) is a professional organization that promotes quality research on equine nutrition and physiology and strives to establish effective communication among researchers, teachers, extension, and production personnel.

Numerous research papers will be presented by leading equine researchers and their graduate students during this symposium (May 31-June 3) regarding the latest research findings that will lead to improving  current practices in the feeding, care and breeding of horses; as well as breakthroughs in science that will lead toward optimizing the performance for the equine athletes.

The Celebration® has a great ongoing relationship with the MTSU Horse Science program and its staff and was very proud to be selected as part of this tour.    Dr. Doyle Meadows, CEO of The Celebration gave the group an overview of the history of the Celebration and the formation of S.H.O.W. and the DQP process during a luncheon in the Blue Ribbon Circle.   Dr. Dave Whitaker, Director of Public Service for the MTSU Horse Program, further enlightened everyone as to how the Tennessee Walking Horse breed developed to meet the needs for the middle Tennessee area at the time and then evolved into the ever popular show industry as we know it to be today.

The attendees were taken on a brief tour through the facilities and stadium area and after the luncheon a demonstration of the various classes of TWH’s was presented in the Calsonic Arena.  Dr. Steve Mullins, President, and Tony Edwards, DQP Coordinator with S.H.O.W. demonstrated and discussed the DQP inspection process and then presented examples of the various types of horse shoes used for the different divisions.

Next, the group was treated to a demonstration of past World Grand Champions® (WGC) ranging from Country Pleasure to an aged Performance horse.  Dr. Whitaker provided a most enlightening and educational overview of the gaits and judging criteria for each division.

Hunter Morgan rode A Red Ruby, the 2010 WGC and recent 2011 Fun Show Champion Country Pleasure Horse and MacKenzie Morgan then demonstrated her 2010 Trail Pleasure WGC, “Good Til The Last Drop”.

For the Lite Shod division, Laurie Toone rode three time WGC “Red Sundays Best” and for the Park Horse division, Bobby Richards proudly demonstrated the contrast in performance for this division aboard “Jose’s No Counting Me Out”.

Justin Harris then exhibited two performance horses. First to the group of professors he presented   Three-Year-Old stallion, I’m Innocent, and  Lined Walkin’ – the 2009 Four-Year-Old WGC stallion.  The demonstration ended with five of the horses being put on the rail at the same time for the group to observe the differences in their performance.

“The tour was a great opportunity for our industry to showcase the Tennessee Walking Horse to almost 200 equine professors and instructors from across the United States and five foreign countries,” said Dr. Doyle Meadows, CEO.  He added, “I certainly want to thank Dr. Steve Mullins and Tony Edwards for playing a major role in the Equine Science Society Walking Horse Tour and our local trainers, Laurie Toone, Bobby Richards and Justin Harris for providing a wonderful set of exhibition horses for this group.”

The tour group then left to visit Waterfall Farm and the Jack Daniel Distillery before heading back to Murfreesboro to continue with the professional meetings to share and report the latest in their research findings.

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