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Safety Top Concern for Youth at Celebration



 

RIDER SAFETY TOP CONCERN FOR YOUTH DIVISION AT THE CELEBRATION

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and its board of directors has adopted a new policy for youth riders designed to enhance the safety of all riders in these classes. The new policy sets a minimum age requirement of six years old for participation. The new rules will take affect for the 2005 Fun Show and Celebration.

The classes will change from Youth Riders, 11 and Under to Youth Riders, 6-11 Years of Age. In addition, The Celebration strongly encourages the use of protective helmets in these classes.

"The Celebration wants to make sure all youth participants at our world championship horse show are able to show in the safest environment possible," said Celebration Board Chairman Pat Marsh. "While the Tennessee Walking Horse has the most gentle demeanor of any show horse, asking a youngster under six years of age to have complete control of a 1,200-pound animal seems to be a little more than some can handle."

The Youth Division has been one of extreme growth in recent years. At the 2004 Celebration, the Youth Riders, 11 and Under, on Walking Geldings class had enough entries to be split into three different divisions.

"While there have been several occasions in recent years where some of our youngest riders have lost control of their entries, we’ve been very fortunate that there have not been any serious incidents in the ring," said Celebration CEO and show manager Ron Thomas. "Not only are we looking out for the safety of a young rider whose horse might get away, but the safety of the others in the class as well."

Youth riders under six years of age will still have the opportunity to show in Lead-line classes as they continue to hone their riding skills before entering the show ring alone.

The 67th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is scheduled for August 24-September 3, 2005 at the Historic Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, TN.

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