The Tennessee Walking Horse Futurity will move to Murfreesboro this year.
Formerly held on the first day of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in August, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association (TWHBEA) announced Saturday that its 2012 Futurity will be held in conjunction with the World Versatility Show, set for July 19-22 in Murfreesboro at Middle Tennessee State University's Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
Futurity competitions showcase young horses, the competitors of years to come.
According to a press release from Lewisburg-based TWHBEA, the decision behind the move to link the two shows "was spurred by financial reasons and a desire to showcase, at one venue, everything the Tennessee Walking Horse has to offer."
"By holding these events at the same location and over the same long weekend, TWHBEA will be able to display virtually every discipline," the organization said.
The Futurity will invite various world champion show horses to be on exhibition and TWHBEA said it is "grateful for and recognizes the years of generous collaboration on the part of The Celebration regarding the National Futurity."
Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows told the T-G he was "excited for TWHBEA" and "happy they are doing what they want to do."
"I wish them a lot of success," Meadows said. "It's been a good venue for the Celebration and I know the Futurity will continue to be a success."
In the past, morning classes at the 11-day Celebration have started on a Wednesday, with the Futurity taking place that night in the Calsonic Arena. The Celebration's own evening classes did not start until the following night, a Thursday.
The Futurity offers the largest purse of the year for a one-night Tennessee walking horse show. Last year, about $70,000 in prize money was awarded to weanlings, yearlings and two- and three-year-olds.
The Celebration usually managed the Futurity on behalf of TWHBEA, which allowed Celebration-hired judges to participate in the show and Futurity classes to serve as qualifying classes for the Celebration.
That affiliation took a one-year break in 2007, because of a situation where the Celebration and TWHBEA were affiliated with different Horse Industry Organizations using different rule books. That year, even though the Futurity was held in the traditional place at the traditional time, it was managed directly by TWHBEA without Celebration involvement. The affiliation between the two groups returned the next year, 2008.
The Futurity is the second traditional Shelbyville horse show that has announced it is going elsewhere this year.
The 2012 National Trainers' Show is set to be held in White Pine in East Tennessee on April 12-14. It had been held in Shelbyville since the early 1990s, but the membership of the Walking Horse Trainers' Association voted last July by a margin of 96-39 to move the show.