Skip to content

Walking Horse Enthusiast Races To Reality TV Finish Line



The walking horse industry’s very own Eric Childress is competing in the first equine -based reality television show, “American Dream Derby.”

Childress was referred to a news brief that ran in the Walking Horse Report last October and decided to give it a shot. Childress, who is a member of the Southwest Missouri State University Rodeo Team, was picked out of 5,000 applicants to participate in the show. The 24-year-old Springfield, Mo. resident also works at Don Bill’s Stables in Fair Grove, Mo.

The show is actually centered around the world of professional race horses, however, show recruiters encouraged horse lovers from various equine backgrounds to apply to the show. In each of the eight episodes, contestants have been facing equestrian challenges such as "stable chores, track trials and the fine art of handicapping," according to the show's web site.

The “American Dream Derby” airs Monday evenings at 8 p.m. on the Game Show Network. The season finale will be aired live on Feb. 21, 2005 at the historical Santa Anita race track -- several events such as the filming for Sea Biscuit took place at Santa Anita -- in Southern California.

The series culminates with eight of the contestants actually competing in a race; the winner will receive $250,000 in addition to a stable filled with up to eight horses.

While competing on the show, which began on Jan. 10, 2005, 12 contestants have had the opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes look into the training and racing of Thoroughbreds. The racing industry’s top trainers have guided contestants through the series, preparing them for the season finale.

Childress, who has been involved in walking horses for many years, had no prior experience with race horses.

He said his strategy on the show is to “listen to the people who know what they are doing, especially when they don’t think you are listening.”

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More
  • WHAA annual barn party rescheduled due to inclement weather

    There will be a lot of great items to auction as well as breeding fees to some of the top stallions in the industry and training fees for many of the top trainers. Everyone is encouraged to bring your young horses to preview for the upcoming show season. Read More
  • Birth Announcement – William Jackson Bauer

    Dr. & Mrs. Will  Bauer of Gainesville, Georgia welcomed their first child, William Jackson Bauer, on December 4, 2020. Jack weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces at birth... Read More