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Touring Whitter Stables



 

 

by Debbie Graham

 

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. - A few minutes after 8:00 a.m., on a summer morning in July, a Coach Charter, Inc. tour bus rolled up the long winding driveway leading to Whitter Stables in Collierville, Tenn.  On board were 43 tourists from Saluda, S.C., who were participating in the 2007 Saluda County Soil and Water Conservation District Ag Study Tour to West Tennessee and Memphis.

The tour bus left South Carolina on Monday, July 16th under the direction of Phillip R. Perry, County Extension Agent of the Cooperative Extension Service in Saluda, S. C.  The group traveled to Paris, Tenn., and visited Paris Landing in Buchanan, Tenn.  On Tuesday, they toured farms in Henry County and made stops in Jackson, Tenn., at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center as well as the Pringles Potato Chip Plant. 

Wednesday was spent in Memphis with stops at the Agricenter International, Elvis’ Graceland, Beale Street Rock and Soul Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory and the Peabody Hotel.  Lunch was enjoyed at The Rendezvous followed by a Memphis Riverboat Cruise on the Mississippi River.

On Thursday morning, July 19th, Buddy Smith, professional bird dog trainer, joined the tour for the day.  Smith operates Buddy Smith Kennels in Collierville, Tenn., and had arranged for the group to visit a Tennessee Walking Horse stable in the area.  The group spent the morning touring Whitter Stables as Jackie McConnell and staff welcomed them and provided information as well as an exhibition of show ring contenders.

     McConnell exhibited 2006 Four-Year-Old WGC Star and gave the tourists a brief history of his career and campaign for the 2007 World Grand Championship. Owners Opal Moody and her daughter Wilsene Moody were on hand to receive the group and presented each visitor with a cap.  Wilsene Moody also exhibited show ring contender Foolish Dollar.

Farrier Mike Umberger, known to the walking horse industry as “Red”, gave a demonstration of his highly regarded shoeing techniques as the group moved into the crosstie area to observe.  Horses waiting for their turn for shoes allowed the large crowd to pat and visit with them and behaved as though the crowd of people was an everyday occurrence.  The tourists enjoyed the “hands on” experience with the horses and were impressed with their beauty, talent and well-mannered dispositions.

After expressing appreciation for the hospitality they received, the group boarded the bus and headed to Grand Junction, Tenn., for stops at the National Bird Dog and Retriever Museum, as well as the famous Ames Plantation.  A visit to the historic city of Holly Springs, Miss., was also planned with visits to the Walker Place Estate and Fitch Farms’ Galena Plantation.

The tour bus traveled back to South Carolina on Friday carrying passengers home with many fond memories of West Tennessee and also a deep appreciation for the phenomenal Tennessee Walking Horse.

 

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