FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Cool Springs Marriott was once again the place to be as the year draws to a close. Back from a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID, walking horse enthusiasts travel from near and far to mix and mingle at the annual Walking Horse Trainers' Association Banquet, held Saturday, December 11, 2021. 

Back in November, WHTA made the announcement that this year’s voting for the prestigious Horse of the Year honors would be cast electronically. It was the hope of the association to have made the process easier for trainers to vote, thus in turn having a greater participation in the voting process. This proved to be a great move since this year the WHTA saw a 66 percent increase in the number of ballots cast.

The annual silent auction was once again the perfect place to shop for the last minute Christmas gift or even a gift for yourself. Well over 100 different items were offered for bidding.

Mark Farrar once again was happy to serve as emcee for the night and handle all the announcing duties, and in his usual fashion, he kept the crowd fully entertained. Starting out the evening, Farrar took a moment to recognize several organizations that play major roles in the walking horse industry, as well as a few individuals that helped make this weekend fun and successful. 

The Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award was next. This year, Ramsey Bullington was presented with the much deserved honor.

The 2021 Scholarship winners were acknowledged next. In their 11th year as scholarship sponsors, the Glenn C. Dowell Jr. family awarded scholarships to Jayden Jackson and Claudia Gribble.

Jamie Hankins and John Allan Callaway were called to the stage next so Callaway could be presented with his green blazer in recognition of his world grand championship win with Justified Honors. Callaway earned the coveted green blazer last year with his win aboard Master’s Razzle And Jazz, so this year, the year 2021 was added to the year 2020 on the chest. The blazer is donated by Frank and Shirley Neal in honor of 1992 World Grand Champion Dark Spirit’s Rebel. This tradition was started in 1995.

Next up it was time to recognize the National Trainers’ Show Grand Champion. Russ Thompson directed Walk For Roses to the victory to become the 53rd Trainers’ Show champion for owners Sue Brassy, Dudley Logan and Joey Manos.

The Performance Trainer of the Year award went to John Allan Callaway, while the Pleasure Trainer of the Year award went to Dickie Gardner. Gardner was presented with the gold Trainer of the Year ring. Since Callaway had earned a previous Trainer of the Year ring, he was presented with a diamond lapel pin. 

Scott Shepard from Marsha's on the Square has been a valuable supporter of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association. Again, this year, the trainer of the World Grand Championship was presented with a beautiful, custom saddle-riding suit. Callaway was happy to accept this gift. 

The last time Friendship Club honors were awarded was in 2015. This year three deserving individuals were honored. They were Bobby Jones, Rachel Reed and Jimbo Connor.

Sarah Smith, president of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary was next to come to the stage. She was happy to present Beth Lawwell with the Auxiliary Member of the Year award.

WHTA Horse of the Year Recipients

Performance Trainer of the Year
John Allan Callaway

Pleasure Trainer of the Year
Dickie Gardner

Assistant Performance Trainer of the Year
Sam Martin

Assistant Pleasure Trainer of the Year
Victoria Kalosis

Groom of the Year (tie)
Trevor Plafcan and William Keith

Youth of the Year
Abi Smith

Amateur of the Year
Janice Fostek
Best One-Night Show
Money Tree Classic

Best Multi-Night Show
North Carolina Championship

Lead Line
Winner – Vivian Woodruff
Reserve – Wylder Way

Amateur Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Ultra Grey Pistol
Reserve (tie) – My Lorie Darlin’ THF and Simply Country

Winner – Tee Martin
Reserve – My Hopes And Dreams

Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Sam I Am Jose
Reserve – Born A Maverick

Winner – Cash Kid
Reserve – She’s Walkin On Fire

Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – I Am The Lady
Reserve – My Lorie Darlin’ THF

Lite-Shod Specialty
Winner – Big Time Bandit
Reserve (tie) – Moonshine At Midnight and Two Gunns LLC

Two-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Broadway Honors
Reserve – Born A Maverick

Youth Show Pleasure
Winner – Benelli
Reserve – Nip Of Gin

Youth Pony
Winner – Time To Tease
Reserve – Skywalk’s Threat

Trail Pleasure
Winner – Machete
Reserve – Luciano

Adult Pony
Winner – Strike
Reserve – Dark Rain

Country Pleasure
Winner – Hey Charlene
Reserve – Slingblade

Winner – All About Jose’
Reserve – Harley Quinn

Amateur Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – My Honey Bee
Reserve – Grayton Beach

Elite (50 & Over)
Winner – Mr. Heisman
Reserve – Maroon 5

Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Glory JC
Reserve – Captain Woodrow F Call

Western Lite-Shod
Winner – Big Time Bandit
Reserve – Miss Dixie Flyer

Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – My Honey Bee
Reserve – RBG

Western Park Pleasure
Winner – Papacito
Reserve – A Titleist Masterpiece

Three-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Kobe 24
Reserve – Honor And Remember

Fine Harness
Winner – In Ted’s Image
Reserve – Call My Lawyer

Winner – Demonic Presence
Reserve – Back In The Saddle Again

Ladies Amateur Specialty
Winner – She’s Limitless
Reserve – Gin Toddy

Men’s Amateur Specialty
Winner – A King Thing
Reserve – Zeta

Amateur Canter
Winner – The Mason Dixie Line
Reserve – Country And Famous

Amateur Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner Miss Heavenly Cash
Reserve – Top Shelf Toddy

Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Smoky Mountain Strong
Reserve – Powerstroked By Jose’

Amateur Park Pleasure
Winner – Dose’
Reserve – I Walk The Walk

Amateur Lite-Shod
Winner – Roscoe Jenkins
Reserve Big Time Bandit

Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – A Dixie General
Reserve – Wilma LJ

Professional Park Pleasure
Winner – Dose’
Reserve – Papacito

Four-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Justified Honors
Reserve – Mr. Magnifico

Five & Under Country Pleasure
Winner – BP’s Captain Jack Sparrow
Reserve – Sabotage

Amateur Park Performance
Winner – Do Right
Reserve – A Touche’

Amateur Show Pleasure
Winner – Epic
Reserve (tie) – Charlie Danger and Georgia Florida Line

Five & Under Trail Pleasure
Winner – The Maiden
Reserve (tie) – Daddy’s Home DH and Habanero Picante

Professional Park Performance
Winner – I’m A Proud American
Reserve – So Real

All Day Pleasure
Winner – Petal Pushin’ Jazz
Reserve – IB Smokin Joe

Amateur Five-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – All About Jose’
Reserve – As I Am

Juvenile 11 & Under
Winner – Cole Haan
Reserve – Extra Special Jose

Amateur Spotted Pleasure
Winner – She’s Major Money
Reserve – Little Big Town 

Professional Show Pleasure
Winner – He’s Starbucks
Reserve – Georgia Florida Line

Amateur Five-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Honor My Country
Reserve – Charlie’s Perfect Angel

Amateur 15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding
Winner – Gin Toddy
Reserve – A Pink Floyd

Youth 12-17
Winner – My Hometown Girl
Reserve – A Superbowl MVP

Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion
Winner – Marty McFly
Reserve – He’s Made In The USA

Amateur Specialty
Winner – Uptight Jose’
Reserve (tie) – A King Thing and Gin Toddy

15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding
Winner – Pappy Van Winkle
Reserve – TN Lineman

15.2 & Under Stallion
Winner – Knock Down Drag Out
Reserve – Samsung

15.2 & Over Mare or Gelding
Winner – She’s Limitless
Reserve – Beiga Cheval

15.2 & Over Stallion
Winner – Justified Honors
Reserve – Mach I