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F.A.S.T. horse show offers relaxed weekend fun

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday weekends always seem to be fast, full and frantic, but Calsonic Arena is offering everyone a chance to slow down, kick back, and watch someone else work for a change.

The second annual F.A.S.T. (Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse) Showcase horse show is Sunday. Admission and parking are free, and there will be other, special events inside, such as face painting and -- as always -- information booths about the Tennessee walking horse.

There will be a silent auction with prices in all ranges, and concessions will be available for purchase. Face painting and temporary patriotic tattoos will be available for the children.

"There's lots of fun stuff planned for this year's show," said Kathy Zeis of F.A.S.T. "We'll start with trail obstacle courses at 9 a.m."

The trail obstacle course tests the mettle of a trail horse -- and his rider. The classes range from novice upward and one class, Zeis hopes to see filled with "pros."

"We've invited mounted patrols and search and rescue teams from across the state," she said. "F.A.S.T will donate $200 to the winner's organization."

Trainers will be competing in a challenge class, and the winner gets a basket full of items donated from all of the other trainers and the owners of the horses.

"Nobody's really sure what it's going to end up having, but so far we've gotten a hundred-dollar bill and a bridle. Lots of stuff."

The pleasure and performance classes will start at 5 p.m.

"It has already become a highlight of the Fourth of July shows," said Zeis.

The reason for the three-day weekend won't be overlooked. At 8:30 p.m., the Showcase will feature a patriotic program, including a dramatic reading of a poem, "Ode to Old Glory," the singing of "Proud to be an American," and a very special presentation of the colors.

"Then we'll crown the Showcase champion," she said.

F.AS.T. is the Foundation for the Advancment and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse and its primary purpose is raising funds to support the Tennessee walking horse in the areas of education; equine welfare and protection; the promotion and preservation of Tennessee walking horse shows and exhibitions; preservation of the breed; and scientific research and development. The nonprofit organization helps promote new horse shows and last year, added its own to the list. Even though the event ha free admission, entry fees and donations helped it make it a successful fundraiser last year.

"We raised $30,000 with last year's show," said Zeis. "We've put $135,000 back into the industry since our inception in '09."

"We raise funds to support different avenues of the show horse," said Brenda Carlon, a member of the nonprofit organization's board of directors, before last year's show.

Carlon said the donations -- all tax deductible -- help promote the walking horse industry, as well as improve it.

"We aided S.H.O.W. (the horse industry organization that oversees inspections and training) and purchased their video equipment," she said. "We help train DQPs (Designated Qualified Persons who inspect horses) and pay for judges' clinics and sponsor farrier clinics."

F.A.S.T. also gave away scholarships last year to Blake Beam of Arab, Ala.; Kaitlyn Beatty of Byrdstown; Paige Bennett of Alvaton, Ky.; Leslie Birk of Gordonville, Mo.; Summer Brooks of Rogersville; Kaitlyn Esters of Trussville, Ala.; Samantha Green of Shelbyville; Blaise Broccard of Herder of Cedar Hill, Mo.; Bobby Richards III of Franklin; and Kolby Wyant of Milton, W.Va.

The organization has provided funds for the Youth Academy, training DQPs and in many other areas.

For more information visit www.fastwalkingshowhorse.org/index.php.

But for more fun and a break from the sun, mosquitoes and firecrackers, go to Calsonic on Sunday and watch the show.

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