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Dixie National QH Show


By Tommy Brannon

Two weeks of horse shows, livestock shows, and events cumulatively known as the Dixie National take place each February at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center in Jackson, Mississippi. This year’s events actually started in January with the Dixie National Palomino show, January 25-26 and the Dixie National Paint Horse Show, January 31-February 2 .  The Equestrians with Disabilities Show, which had more 50 AQHA entries and 100 open entries, was held February 4.  This was preceded and followed by a huge livestock show and 4-H club competition. The Dixie National Rodeo ran February 8-11 and included a concert by different artist following each rodeo. The AQHA show, which is one of the largest in the United States, ran February 12-16, and that was followed by two days of NCHA cutting horse competition, February 17-18. Add to all of the horse shows and rodeo, a farrier’s competition, a parade, a beauty pageant, a wagon train, a dance, a stock dog demonstration, an antique tractor exhibition, a fashion show and Cowboy Church. Whew!        .
The trade mart showcased over 100 vendors. One could purchase just about anything for horse, rider and farm. Items ranged from tack, trucks, trailers, hot walkers and barns, to show clothes, boots, and furniture. With this many vendors in one place, one could compare different brands and types of horse and stock trailers, tractors, trucks, saddles and tack by just walking a few feet between displays. The glitz and glitter of show clothing on display was nearly blinding! (comments from a guy who doesn’t bling)

Not only could one purchase everything for the horse, one could also purchase a horse. Western Kentucky Horse sales of Bowling Green, Kentucky conducted a horse auction on Saturday February 15 on the show grounds, where some really fine animals changed ownership. 

The AQHA show had two arenas running simultaneously with four judges in each arena. That made it possible for four sets of AQHA points per competitor. There was plenty of added money, such as the $10,500 added for the tie-down ropers and team ropers, $6,500 for the 4-D barrel racers, and $10,000 for the entertaining and popular Freestyle Reining.

A highlight of the show, the Coliseum was filled with approximately 6,000 excited spectators for the Freestyle Reigning competition. The freestyle competition has some required movements: four consecutive spins to the left and the right; three stops; one lead change at the canter to the right, and one lead change at the canter to the left. These movements do not have to be in any particular order in the routine. To these requirements the competitors can add any other moves they wanted to do within their 4-minute time limit. They were allowed to ride with two hands, but some of the riders opted for no hands in a number of movements. This was a real crowd pleaser! The horses and riders were dressed in costumes to accompany the theme of their music, and some had un-mounted actors to add to the performance. The costuming of both horse and rider was often quite elaborate. The crowd cheered with excitement at all of the spins and slides. 

Calling the Dixie National an extravaganza is certainly not an understatement. The Dixie National Quarter Horse Show is truly the premier event of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association. For more information on the show, visit:

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