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What A Weekend!



By Jeffrey Howard

The 4th of July has now come and gone and the Walking Horse industry can be extremely proud.  Horse shows began Thursday and finished on the 4th of July in Kentucky.  Along the way shows were held in Shelbyville, McMinnville and Woodbury, as well as in Missouri and Greeneville, Tennessee.

At the nine horse shows held this weekend, there were a total of 256 classes.  To put that in perspective, the 11 days and nights of the 2010 Celebration had 204 classes.  At the five horse shows in Middle Tennessee over four nights there were 181 classes.  At those five shows there were 1,059 entries, an average of over 210 horses per show and almost six horses per class.

The industry has endured a definite contraction over the last several years DUE TO ANY NUMBER OF FACTORS including the struggling US economy.  However, there will be over $50,000 given back to local charities and industry initiatives from the funds raised at shows just this weekend.

Needless to say, another factor in the success of this past weekend was the quality of horses in the ring.  At any show you attended, you found World and World Grand Champions butting heads.  At one class at the Tony Rice Horse Show, Amateur Specialty, of the eight horses awarded ribbons, three were previous World Grand Champions (two were 2010 World Grand Champions), six were past World Champions and those eight horses have won 19 classes at shows in 2011.

This class was definitely great but many other classes during the weekend provided similar quality in the ring.  Think of it this way…the 2010 Amateur World Grand Champion Two-Year-Old, Three-Year-Old, Four-Year-Old, Canter, Specialty, Elite, 15.2 & Under and Show Pleasure all showed this weekend and won.  In the professional division, the 2010 World Grand Champion Three-Year-Old, Four-Year-Old and 15.2 & Under all showed this weekend.  In the pleasure division, five 2010 World Grand Champions showed this past weekend with three of those claiming blue ribbons.

In addition to the horses, crowds were large and exhibitors, owners and fans were all in festive moods.  It was great to see everyone having a good time, fierce competition and spirits high as the industry starts the march to its World Championship in August.

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