The Texas Classic bills itself as “Not Just Another Horse Show,” and this year the event does have some very interesting twists.
The first-ever World Conformation Horse Association (WCHA) events, which are open to all western performance horses, are taking place during the Texas Classic on June 1. Horses are shown in-hand, like halter classes, but the events are unique in that they reward horses with correct conformation which allows for success under saddle, not just halter. The WCHA was created to encourage interest in and competitive opportunities for conformation horses beyond halter events.
On May 25, spectators will be treated to another unconventional competition in the form of the “Extreme Mustang Smackdown.” During this event, five American Mustangs that competed in the 2007 Extreme Mustang Makeover last September in Fort Worth, Texas, will take on five of the best domestically raised horses in a “no holds barred” freestyle event that is attempting to raise awareness about the trainability of wild Mustangs. A winner-take-all purse of $5,000 is up for grabs for the event.
“We’re excited to welcome these unique horses to the Texas Classic,” says show manager Val Clark. “But even more importantly, the American Mustang puts a face on a serious problem the horse industry is currently facing in this country with unwanted horses. Through some very innovative programs being supported through the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the American public is being shown that there are opportunities to adopt and enjoy these horses, easing the burden on the environment and the taxpayer. We’ve all got to work together to address these issues and the Texas Classic is glad to play a part in that.”
Clark says spectators can expect a fun and exciting show as the Mustangs, ranging in ages from 4 to 6 years old, work to prove their mettle against older more experienced show horses.
“We called it a ‘Smackdown’ when we saw what these Mustang trainers could pull off with these horses and knew it would be an amazing show,” Clark says. “It’s all in fun, of course, but for an excellent cause.”