Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

The historic Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, TN is home to The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®, which takes place each year in late summer for the 11 days ending on the Saturday night before Labor Day.

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) released its 2017 class schedule for the 79th Celebration on May 3, 2017. The Celebration recently began a process to revamp its class schedule over a three-year period with a focus on competitiveness, participation and the length of each session.

“We have received feedback from exhibitors and fans alike that our sessions were too long and that they wanted to see more entries in our championship classes,” said Celebration CEO Mike Inman.

With that in mind, the Celebration’s program committee reviewed the amount and length of presentations that take place during the class schedule and was able to shorten the presentations by approximately 90 minutes over the course of the show.

In addition, the Celebration formed a Trainers’ Advisory Committee, made up of seven leading trainers that entered the most horses at the 2016 Celebration in both the pleasure and performance divisions.  The committee met and exchanged ideas over a three-week period with 39 changes recommended to the 160 class schedule.  The Celebration board has adopted 24 of those changes in year one of the three year plan.

“We can’t thank the trainers that assisted us enough. They were very thorough in their review and made great recommendations to help us achieve our goal of morning sessions that end by noon and evening sessions that end by 10:30, while also increasing per class participation and the prestige of claiming top honors at the Celebration,” said Inman.

Some of the major changes initiated in 2017 were the removal of non-championship classes from the last three evening performances of the show resulting in the removal of four non-championship classes over those 3 nights. In addition, the amateur pony division and amateur 15.2 & under division will continue with separate qualifying classes but will now have a combined championship class on Thursday evening. In total, the changes resulted in a reduction of 12 classes over the last three nights of the horse show.

The Trainers Ride for the Roses class was eliminated however the amateur novice championships were kept on the schedule in both the pleasure and performance division in 2017.  “While it is important that the Celebration give as many people as possible the opportunity to ride for a blue ribbon at our show, it is even more important that we uphold the long-standing tradition of what winning a set of roses means at our show and the prestige that comes along with that ride under the spotlight,” said Inman.

In the pleasure division, the most significant changes was the combining of the Amateur English and Western Trail Pleasure championship classes. Again, both will continue to have qualifying classes that separate English and Western.  In addition, several divisions included combining classes into four and under divisions resulting in the combining of classes. The Riders’ Cup and Amateur Classic Park Pleasure classes were eliminated from the class sheet.

“The Celebration is committed to providing our exhibitors and fans with the best horse show experience in the country.  We will monitor the effects of these changes and continue over the next two years with modifications in the class schedule that reflect the industry’s trends in participation, increase the competitive landscape in our championship classes and provide our fans with the most enjoyable experience,” concluded Inman.  Click here for 2017 CELEBRATION CLASS SCHEDULE – FINAL