The TWHBEA Versatility Program is a showcase for the flat-shod Tennessee Walking Horse. With as many as 20 different events from which to choose, you and your horse have a variety of events in which to participate. You may choose to enter one event, or compete in them all! Some of the divisions are more challenging than others, so perhaps you would like to start with one of the simpler divisions such as English pleasure, western pleasure, water glass, or model. Because the Versatility Program is a self achievement program which you custom design for you and your horse, you set the goals you'd like to accomplish, and the excitement begins! Prizes, fame, glory, honor, and a sense of accomplishment are in store for you as a participant of the TWHBEA Versatility Program. The Versatility Program is just one of the many services of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association! There is no charge to TWHBEA members for participation in this program.
The Tennessee Walking Horse is shown under both English and Western tack and attire.
The flat shod segment of the walking breed has grown tremendously due to the easy training of the breed, and the natural inherited gaits. Many people are able to maintain their horse without the aid of a professional.
The flat shod plantation pleasure horse must display brilliance and show presence while performing true walking gaits. Any tendency to pace, rack, or trot will be penalized. Form must not be sacrificed for speed. The horse must well mannered and manageable on a light rein. Manners are paramount for a pleasure horse and will be given serious consideration in judging. The horse must be well balanced, both fore and rear. He must back readily on command, and respond to the rider's signals to perform all gaits without necessity for bumping and pumping of the reins. The horse must enter the ring at a flat walk, and when the gate is closed, the Judge will call for the running walk, flat walk, and canter. The head motion of the walking horse is very important. If he isn't nodding, he isn't walking. Horses will be worked both ways of the ring.
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English tack and attire are mandatory for this class. Neatness and taste in attire are encouraged and will be a consideration in the final judging.
In a model class the horse must be shown in a bridle, led into the ring and parked for judging. Conformation and condition are paramount. Horses must stand quietly. Unruly entries will be excused.
Western pleasure entries must reflect the suitability of a Walking Horse as a western working horse, exhibiting an exceptionally smooth, comfortable ride without excessive animation. A good western pleasure horse must have a balanced, flowing motion with a free and easy gait. The horse must be ridden on a loose rein, and must exhibit a true, four beat walking gait with cadenced head nod. The head set must be natural, neither excessively nosed out, or over flexed at the poll. The head should not be high but should exhibit the type of head carriage of a TWH used as a western working horse. If a western horse does not stand quietly, he must be penalized. If a western horse has a fast, uncontrollable canter or requires pumping or bumping, he must be penalized.
Specific judging criteria for all divisions is included in the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) Rule Book. Contact the NHSC, P. O. Box 167, Shelbyville, TN 37162.