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McConnell honored as Trainer of the Year




(Editor’s Note: The following script was read during the 79th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Saturday night when Jimmy McConnell was recognized for being the industry’s performance horse trainer of the year.)

Many would say that this trainer loves his profession and has a lifetime of dedication promoting this great breed. This gentleman has trained and shown some of the best horses that this industry has ever seen. He is a master showman that enters the show ring with a competitive spirit and passion to win. This trainer knows how to excite a crowd and bring them to their feet. 

Jimmy started training horses as a teenager with his father, Odell McConnell and brother, Jackie McConnell, at Longview Farms in Union City, Tennessee. Jimmy has won at every major show and class this industry offers. The great horses that he has trained are too numerous to list. These include professional and amateur ranks. He has won three WGC’s at the Celebration on three different horses.

2004: The Dark Night Shade
2007: Master Of Jazz
2009: Watch It Now


Formac Stables has been based in Union City, Tennessee for many years with a secondary training barn here in Bedford County. Last fall, Jimmy permanently located Formac Stables outside of Shelbyville.

He is no stranger to leadership positions. Jimmy served as president of the WHTA in 1984, 1985 and 1996-98. He was the WHAT Rider Cup Performance Champion in 2010 and 2011. He was previously selected by his peers as the WHTA Trainer of the Year in 1985, 2004 and 2010. 

Jimmy has always had the following of many loyal fans throughout his showing career. In addition, he has a wonderful group of customers from past to present. Many of these customers and friendships span decades.
While his love for training and showing horses has been paramount in his life, his children and grandchildren are his pride and joy. His children are Stacy Blackburn and husband Knox, his son Jason McConnell and wife Fran. His grandchildren are Alex and Evan Blackburn and Libby and Finn McConnell. Four generations of the McConnell family have represented their love and commitment of this breed.

We are proud to present the 2017 WHTA Trainer of the Year for the fourth time…Mr. Jimmy McConnell. Congratulations, Jimmy. 

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