(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
No, not the 2003 World Grand Champion Tennessee walking horse, but a slightly smaller version.
Okay, a much, much, much smaller version. If trainer Bill Bobo had to work with this Whole Nine Yards, he might find it easier to carry the horse than to have the horse carry him. Janice's version is a miniature horse, standing only 34 inches tall at the withers.
"We named him after we got him, after the World Grand Champion," said the Chattanooga resident, in town for the pony and miniature horse show at Calsonic Arena this weekend.
There was a good reason, of course. Janice was, at the time, a walking horse owner and exhibitor. She went to an auction to get a saddle for her daughter and came home with a little something extra.
"There was this little stallion there, 34 inches tall with a 350-pound woman sitting on him. I felt sorry for him and I bought him," she said.
Since then, her time on horseback has ended. She had to have back surgery and even the smooth gait of a Tennessee walking horse was too much to bear, but she couldn't walk away from the horse world.
She got another miniature horse. "I get my equine fix," she said, laughing. "They're kind of like those potato chips. You can't have just one."
In fact, she now has about 15, 10 of which are national champions or are on national top 10 lists in their category. One of her minis has been a four-time national champion and will be showing Saturday. One of Janice's mares is registered as both a Shetland and a mini.
The show is the ASPC/ASPR/AMHR Area 3 National Show, and the four groups competing are the American Shetland Pony Club, American Show Pony Registry, American Miniature Horse Registry, and the American Miniature Horse Organization. Many of the tiny trotters can be double, or even triple registered between the different registries.
The show runs today through Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day with more than 400 classes. Admission is free.