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Alabama All Arabian Horse Show


Article & photos by Tommy Brannon

The Alabama All Arabian Horse Show presented the Mississippi Riverboat Parlay regional show at the Expo Center in Tunica, Mississippi, March 22-26, 2017. This was a four region qualifying show, with Regions 14 & 15 Qualifiers on March 22-23 and Regions 9 & 12 Qualifiers on March 24-26. The show featured a full array of halter, performance, sport horse, and Straight Egyptian classes.

The Charity beneficiary was Angel Heart Farm near Nashville, Tennessee that provides equine therapy for children with cancer and uses Arabians and Welch ponies. (See article Mid-South Horse Review March 2015)  

Show Manager Tom Chasteen said that this was the first year The Alabama All Arabian Show had been held outside of Alabama, and that the Alabama Arabian Horse Association show committee, led by President Charles Moseley, had been planning this show for two years. Tom added that everyone was impressed by the facilities, which has a climate controlled arena, with stabling and warm up all under one roof. “I have not come across an exhibiter who was not pleased. The staff at the Tunica Arena have done a lot to make everything work for the horse show,” Chasteen said.

Sport Horse In Hand classes were featured on Wednesday and Friday. There were Halter/Breeding classes in the main arena, starting on Wednesday, Thursday mornings, followed by Showmanship, with Friday featuring the Straight Egyptian entries. The performance classes included Country Pleasure Driving, Western and Hunter Pleasure, Saddle Seat, and Arabian Sport Horse and Hunter Pleasure and more. Thursday and Saturday nights were Championship nights for several divisions. Saturday morning began with the Halter/Breeding classes again, culminating in several Championship classes. Performance classes continued Saturday afternoon, with the week’s Champions crowned on Saturday night. Sunday was devoted to Dressage, Trail Classes and Ranch Riding.

Of course there was plenty of hospitality throughout the week, with a Welcome Pizza and Draft Beer party, an Ice Cream and Sarsaparilla Social, BBQ night, Wine & Cheese Social, and a Margarita Party. There was a silent auction and the arena mezzanine was filled with a wide array of vendors. There was even a Best Elvis & Dance Hall Gal Costume Class! Included in the show was a Silent Auction that offered not only items needed for every horse owner, but also breeding contracts for some of the most sought-after Arabian stallions.

A show this big, serving four regions with eight judges, attracted some of the top Arabian horse owners, trainers, and riders from across the country. We talked with a few of the trainers.

Professional riders and sisters Leslie Sommer of Castle Rock, Colorado and Carrie Frits of Kansas City, Kansas were kept busy throughout the show – riding and driving 24 different horses from six trainers. They own a riding and training company called Shamrock Farm, LLC, and have been riding Arabians for 30 years, starting at ages 11 and 15. They explained that they travel to some of the bigger farms, but for the most part, the trainers have the horses trained and ready for them to show. Leslie shows in Western, English and Hunter classes. Carrie shows in Western, English, and Driving classes.

Tara Carpio, whose farm is in Odenville, Alabama, has been a professional trainer for 11 years. She competes in Region 12, which includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Mississippi. She currently has 29 horses in training at her facility, including eight stallions at stud. She usually has 5 to 10 students in training at any one time, some are new to riding and some are experienced. She has both youth and amateur riders. Tara specializes in halter and performance, with an emphasis on pleasure classes.

Christine Johnston is both a horse and dog trainer at Iron Horse Therapy in Alpharetta, Georgia. She has 34 horses on her property and directs a therapeutic riding program for physically and emotionally special needs children. Not only is this program beneficial to the children, but this is also an opportunity for volunteers to train, bond, and connect with the children. She said that she likes to use Arabians because they are so smart and need a job to be happy. Christine brought four horses to Tunica. She said, “We’re on vacation. This is a great show grounds. The staff and the club have been very friendly and accommodating.” She and her students competed in Region 12 and 15. Emelia, a beautiful Arabian mare that she brought, was been a Gold Medal winner at the Special Olympics state games.

Find more information about the show at: For professional horse show photos, please visit and find Jeff Janson on facebook. The Mid-South Horse Review is very grateful to Jeff Janson for use of some of his photos in our print edition.

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