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UT Football Homecoming Spotted Saddle Horse


2014/11/04


Homecoming at any high school or college football game is always an important event, and at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the homecoming tradition includes horses. Before each Homecoming game, a Tennessee Walking Horse circles the field, bearing the UT orange and white flag. This year’s homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 11, 2014 featured Brooke Daly of Chapel Hill, Tennessee riding Abe’s Barbed Wire N Roses, aka Rose, a Spotted Saddle Horse. Her mother and trainer Charla Brannon said “We’re just so glad to be here. The opportunity is something that we never expected. When we got the phone call, we couldn’t believe it was true!”

Rose is the 2012 National Spotted Saddle Horse World Grand Champion. “She won the roses that year,” Brannon said. Last year (2013) she was the High Point horse in the Walking division of the Tennessee State 4-H horse show. “The good thing about the walking horse is their gait; they are extremely smooth; Brooke will barely move in the saddle. And their disposition is amazing; they’re just big loving babies,” explained Brannon.

Brooke, 18, has been showing horses since age 3, and she plans a career in equine veterinary medicine. Brooke and her family show and raise Tennessee Walking horses and Spotted Saddle horses and barrel race Quarter Horses. About seven years ago, Brooke got interested in the Percherons owned by Lamar and Crystal Mitchell of Southern View Farms in Shelbyville.

She started showing the Mitchell’s Percherons in halter, showmanship, and youth cart classes, then added the youth team class and draft under saddle to the list. Brooke joined the Georgia Draft Horse Association youth group, and in April 2013 was named GDHA Member of the Month. Soon afterward, she was crowned the 2013 National Percheron Queen.

UT Tradition Changes. Distancing itself from any possible connection to sored horses, in 2012 the University of Tennessee Knoxville moved away from the long-standing tradition of parading a “big lick” Tennessee Walking horse in favor of a flat shod Tennessee Walking horse. “To reflect the Morrill Act’s mission, the university has updated its traditional Tennessee Walking Horse exhibition at this year’s Homecoming,” said a 2012 UT Press Release. “Prior to kickoff, a flat-shod walking horse, will circle the field…” The tradition had previously held that position for the current Walking Horse National Celebration Grand Champion.

The 2014 Walking Horse Celebration Grand Champion is I Am José, ridden by Casey Wright. The stallion won the event for the second year in a row. In 2013, I Am José was the first 4-year-old to win the stake since 1966. Debbie and Billy Max Woods are the horse’s owners. Unfortunately, Casey Wright has a record of nine past HPA violations for ‘foreign substance,” “scar rule,” and “unilateral sore,” on other horses, according to FOSH and USDA databases. 

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