by Ann Bullard

IRVING, Texas – Horse shows always present challenges. The 2009 version of Big D had more than normal with rain by the buckets-full, storms and tornadoes. The show was located just minutes from the Dallas Cowboys’s Training Complex that collapsed in 70 mph winds. Federal APHIS officials stayed from beginning to end. Yet the show went on, with 107 Tennessee Walking Horses going through the gate. A competitive contingent of American Saddlebreds, Racking Horses and Rocky Mountain Horses helped make it a successful horse show.

Show Manager Peter Fenton lauded trainers, exhibitors, volunteers and staff for the way they pulled together in exceptionally difficult circumstances. “It was an incredibly difficult week, between the weather, USDA and USEF [United States Equestrian Federation],” Fenton said, explaining that the Saddle Horse national governing body came in for the weekend. “As difficult and challenging as it was, the trainers stepped up in a big way.”

A number of horses were turned back and some tickets written. Two hundred and forty-five entries were inspected over the course of the show. The five tickets written up were for one pre-show scar rule, one post-show scar rule, one low chain and two conflict resolutions.

Newton Parks of Murfreesboro, Tenn., marked the cards for walking, country pleasure and racking horse classes. Janie Hamilton of Hixson, Tenn., handled the office duties. Mark Farrar of Shelbyville, Tenn., kept everyone informed of results as well as delays, with Billy Whitley, Raleigh, N.C., and Howard Schatzberg in center ring as ringmaster and photographer, respectively.

Tenn-Tex Farms and trainer Stan Urad fielded the largest and a most-competitive contingent of walking horses. Blues and tricolors included a half-dozen for Sippin Tennessee Gin, with Elysse Powell and Brandon Urad having several winning rides in lite-shod competition. Mary and Michael Kirton teamed up to win Amateur and Youth Park titles aboard The American President, while Urad’s assistant, Nick Plafean, picked up top ribbons aboard Star In Dixie and Dumas Son Of The South.

The trophy for most distance traveled went to Laurie Toone, who brought a group of horses from Bell Buckle, Tenn. Allison Thorson and Mackenzie Morgan won 10 blues and tricolors under Toone’s direction. The two shared top rides aboard Suiza and A Red Ruby in amateur and youth rider classes.

Dr. Martha Chapman was justifiably pleased with Ginny Chapman’s winning rides aboard Widow Maker All Over. Trainer Roger Ivans coached the team and showed fans willing to stay through the downpour just what a speed horse can be as he had Undertaker’s Widow Maker leaning into the turn while they racked around the ring.

Don Crum and Marco Suarez also had top ribbons hanging outside their soggy tack rooms.

Complete results may be viewed by clicking here.