June 18, 2012 Shelbyville, Tenn. – The Unified Horse Show Development Program (UHDP), an arm of the Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse (FAST), is pleased to announce they have awarded the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives Athens Classic/1st Annual Sam Gibbons Memorial horse show in Athens, Ala., a grant for $800.  The new horse show will also incorporate the new gas chromatography-mass spectrometry “swabbing” initiative, which was previously endorsed by UHDP.

“We are pleased to assist our first horse show with the new enforcement initiative.  The health of the horse industry is critical to the future of our show horse and programs such as this that place an added emphasis on the welfare of our horse fit perfectly with the mission of both UHDP and FAST,” said UHDP Chair Deborah Williams..  Previously this year, UHDP announced grants to help with horse shows in Mississippi, Iowa and Alabama.

The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives Athens Classic will be affiliated with the PRIDE HIO.  This is the inaugural year for the horse show in Athens, Al on June 22, 2012 and it will be managed by Ken Wilson.  The 32-class schedule features both pleasure and performance Tennessee Walking Horse classes as well as Racking classes.

The UHDP program was started less than one year ago and the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives Athens Classic marks the seventh horse show supported by UHDP. 

The UHDP was formed to assist new horse show development as well as help existing shows that need financial aid.  The group will also seek to revitalize previous Walking Horse venues and help with walking horse events across the nation.  The UHDP will focus its aid to horse shows primarily outside of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky.   Horse events and shows will have to apply to the UHDP for financial aid.  Applications can be found at www.fastwalkingshowhorse.org.

The program also includes a mentoring program.  UHDP will offer mentoring services to groups that request help with organizing their shows and putting together events.  The UHDP and FAST proudly promote all show disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse.