By Lisa Cummings

CONYERS, Ga. - On July 25 and 26, the Georgia International Horse Park hosted the 2003 Georgia Racking and Walking Championship. This was the first year for the show to be presented by the Georgia Racking Horse Association and the Georgia Walking Horse Association. The racking horse judges included: Ed Hiers of Houston, Texas, Ricky Shackleford of Mooreville, Miss., and Billy Strickland of Joppa, Ala. Kenny Lawrence of Bellbuckle, Tenn., was the walking horse judge.

The chosen charity for this year’s event was the Reece Center for Handicapped Horsemanship. Also known as Ride Atlanta, the organization was founded in 1984. They offer riding lessons for children with physical and mental disabilities. This enables children who are normally restricted by their disabilities to interact with horses and to improve their balance, coordination and control.

In September of last year the center suffered a great loss. Their 12-stall barn, all of their tack, which included specially made saddles, and feed were lost in a tragic fire. Proceeds from this show were to benefit the center and help offset some of the expense of rebuilding and maintaining their program for the children.

On Friday evening you would have believed that entries would be at an all time high for this Georgia show. The stalls on the grounds were full and many trailers had pulled in to prepare for the show. Just before show time, as exhibitors began the inspection process, the hopes of having an outstanding show were turned into the hopes of having enough horses on the grounds to have a show at all.

Many trainers and exhibitors pulled out of the show to avoid being pulled out of showing. Show chairman Willis Lee Daniel stated, "If the Federal people had allowed DQPs Ricky Statham and John Cordell to do their job this show would have been excellent."

The National Horse Show Commission reported that there were 345 horses inspected at the grounds. Seventeen violations were found and about half of those were technical violations that carry no suspension. This includes high bands, foreign substances and illegal shoeing. No bilateral sores were found among the horses that were inspected.

The first walking horse class offered only three entries. Claiming top honors in the Western Lite-Shod Specialty was Cash In After Dark and Laura Berringer. Judi Berringer of Waverly Hall, Ga., is the owner. Berringer and Cash In After Dark returned to the ring to claim two more blues, one in the Lite-Shod Specialty class and the other in the Amateur Lite-Shod Specialty class.

Direct Effect and Jamie Waddell took home the blue in the Amateur Park Pleasure Two and Three-Year-Olds for Robert Emfinger of Verbena, Ala. Delight In Pushin and Jaren Compton made the victory pass in the Walking Pony 17 and Under class for Hugh Taylor of Childersburg. The Aged Mare and Gelding Open Champion was Gen On The Move and Hugh Taylor for Robert Emfinger. WHTA Youth Council 11 and Under Specialty Champion was Busting With Royalty and Jodi Powell for Jeffrey and Bonnie Powell of Alex City, Ala.

Disarmed claimed two blue ribbons at this show. The first was with Ross Campbell in the Three-Year-Old Open class. The second came with Joan Kemp in the irons in the Three-Year-Old Amateur division. Disarmed is owned by Joan Kemp and Dr. George Shaw of Dora, Ala. Casee Crocker rode in to the winner’s circle aboard I'm All Colored Up in the Two-Year-Old Amateur class for Dr. J.Michael Brown of Arab, Ala. Casee Crocker returned to the ring in the Park Pleasure class on Grandy's Garcia to claim the blue for Kathy Jamison of Florence, S.C.

Show Pleasure Open Specialty Champions were Armed For The Future and Brian Watson, riding for Angie Crews of Carrollton, Ga. Almost Indecent and owner/exhibitor Jamie Waddell of Clanton, Ala., grabbed the blue in the WHTA Youth Council 12 -17 Specialty.

Make My Day Jubilee and Larry Latham made the victory pass in the 15.2 and Under Open for Joey and Elise Tidwell of Dallas, Ga. Owner/exhibitor Becky Samford of Birmingham, Ala., claimed the blue aboard A Powerful Choice in the Amateur Specialty. The Four-Year-Old Amateur Specialty Champion was Doc's Cutting Edge and Dr. Wes Samford of Birmingham, Ala.

Kaye Dempsey directed Major Magic to the winner’s circle in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty. Major Magic is owned by Bruce and Kaye Dempsey of Piedmont, Ala. Park Pleasure Open Specialty Champions Shakers Painted Warrior and Chuck Ramsey made the victory pass for Mandy Flowers of Thomasville, Ga. Pusher's Sam I Am and Nan Ingle claimed the blue in the Ladies Amateur Specialty class. The Two-Year-Old Open Champions were Cruz and Steven Brown. Cruz is owned by Glen Haven Farm.

Chris Pate directed Generator's Mountain to the winner’s circle in the Walking Horse Championship. Woody and Carolyn Spinks of Gardendale, Ala., are the proud owners.

Intimidation played a huge part in the number of entries presented at the show, but by no means did it effect the quality or the talent of the entries that were presented. Congratulations and thank you to all those that persevered and went into the ring.

This highlights the Georgia Racking and Walking Championship. Complete results may be found by visiting the results section of our web site.