The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) hosted its first-ever “Lunch with the Legends” event for industry youth during the 84th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration on Sunday, August 28.
Six legendary trainers and amateur riders from both the performance and pleasure horse ranks took time out of their busy and stressful Celebration schedules to sign autographs, take photos and participate in a discussion panel for some 50 youth riders of all ages.
“The fact that these individuals took time out of their day during their busiest week of the year says a great deal about how our industry, and these ‘legends’ value youth,” said Dee Cantrell, TWHBEA Vice-President of Youth.
The panel of legends included Sister Milligan, Jimmy McConnell, Hannah Pulvers Myatt, John Alan Callaway, Allison Thorson and Casey Wright, who were peppered with questions like “Do you ever get nervous before you show?” and “Have you ever fallen off a horse?,” to which John Alan Callaway, trainer of current WGC Justified Honors laughed and responded, “Every single week!”
Other discussion topics centered on finding inspiration in trying moments, adapting training methodology to the needs of individual horses and the ever-changing showring trends and the best way to spend the off-season to ensure maximum success for both horses and riders in the spring.
The children were also entertained by some light “roasting” banter among the panel, emphasizing the importance of balancing friendship with competitiveness. Many laughs were shared and stories told as the legends offered advice on how to make sure that showing remains fun enough to the kids to stick with for a lifetime.
“We all want to be winners,” said Sister Milligan, “But your horse is the most important thing. You’ve got to remember that you’re doing something most kids will never get to experience, so if you and your horse are the best you can be, you’ve won no matter what!”
The luncheon ended with door prize drawings that awarded Apple products, Tennessee Titans tickets and a Bedford Tack gift certificate to several lucky attendees.
“Lunch with the Legends” was sponsored by the Tennessee Walking Horse Youth Association, Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, Walking Horse Trainers’ Youth Council, Thorsport, Bob & Debroah Adcock, Mike Floyd, Jake Jacobs Family, Suzy & Keith Johnson, Charles Gleghorn, Keith & Lorraine Rosbury, and Jerry Myatt.
Photos from the event can be downloaded at no charge from www.shaneshiflet.com.