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Nashoba Carriage Classic


Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

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Nashoba Carriage Association hosted its 21st annual Nashoba Carriage Classic over the Harvest Moon weekend, September 17-19, 2021 at the Germantown Charity Horse Show grounds in Germantown, Tenn. The fall weather brought cooler temperatures, but remnants of Hurricane Nicholas brought some thunder, lightening, and all morning rain to the area on Saturday, resulting in a postponement of the day’s classes until 1:00 p.m. While folks waited out the rain on Saturday, exhibitors enjoyed lunch under the pavilion, catered by Hog Wild.

The show started late Friday afternoon with the Picnic Class at 4 p.m., followed by the Driving Derby at 5 p.m. in the main arena. Nashoba folks are renowned for their hospitality, so Friday night’s show offered Juleps in Germantown with complimentary hors d’oeuvres for folks to enjoy as they watched some “mud-slinging” fast carriage driving in the Driving Derby.

Saturday’s Pleasure classes moved to the turf area, which provided beautiful greenery backgrounds for photographers. The Turnout, Working, and Reinsmanship classes included divisions for Juniors, Single horse, Single Pony, Draft horse, and VSE (very small equine).

All horses and carriages were beautifully turnout with everything spit-shined and leather tack supple and in good condition. Turnout is judged 70% on the condition, proper fit, and appropriateness of harness and vehicle, neatness and appropriateness of attire and overall impression. Working is judged 70% on performance, manners, and way of going. Reinsmanship is judged 75% on the ability and skill of the driver, handling of the reins and whip, control, posture, and overall impression of the driver. The reins are held with an allowing but steady hand, enabling a consistent “feel” of the horse’s mouth. The drivers’ hands are held so steady that rein cues are imperceptible to the spectator.

After these classes, drivers proceeded to the “Fault and Out,” a timed, numbered obstacle course driven at the trot.

The fan favorite was the mid-afternoon Carriage Dog class. Judge Ruthie Graves had a very difficult time deciding which dog was best, as they all performed perfectly. So she asked for audience participation in deciding the placements. Corgi Ernest Tea, riding beside Laura Lawson, has quite a fan base, so he won the blue ribbon. Placed in second was Joanna Wilburn’s “rescue” dog Michael.

On Saturday evening drivers were back in the main arena for the Timed Obstacles course, driven over a prescribed course of 14-18 obstacles. Trick is not to knock the tennis ball off the top of the cone!

Topping off the evening’s classes was the Costume Class. Again, Laura Lawson was creative in dressing up KT Barnabus as a Budweiser Clydesdale with simulated “feathers” on each leg, fake cases of beer in the carriage, and two Dalmatians riding – well one real Dalmatian and another dog in Dalmatian costume – with the Budweiser theme song to complete the ensemble. Catherine O’Neal Adams rode sidesaddle in an elegant flowing dress to win the Sidesaddle Costume class. Catherine was also reserve champion of the Canter Sidesaddle division.

Saturday evening’s banquet, prepared by Wanda Chancellor, Jimmy Chancellor and Andrew Foster, was one that could rival culinary creations by any of the famous chefs around Memphis. Andrew Foster prepared barbeque grilled salmon (on cedar planks) what would melt in your mouth. Jimmy Chancellor brought his signature Italian salad that includes every vegetable imaginable. There was also pork tenderloin, southern cheese grits, creamy lima bean and corn succotash, and Ciabatta rolls. For dessert, choices were pumpkin pie, chess squares, and brownies. It was a dinner that would prompt Grandpa Jones to exclaim “Yum, yum!”

Sunday morning began with the Drive and Ride and Sidesaddle classes. The Drive and Ride is just as it sounds: judged on the horse’s or pony’s rideability and driveability. The culmination of the weekend is the relaxing Magnolia Drive through the lovely wooded trails around Germantown Woods and neighboring estates. And, of course, Nashoba finishes on a hospitality note with the Awards Luncheon.

Speaking of awards, cover girl Kayla Benson was Champion in both walk/trot and canter Sidesaddle divisions, was High Point Sidesaddle Rider and won the Concours d’Elegance for Sidesaddle. She also drove Count’s (Crilban Viscount of Shale) in his first carriage show, and he did well, winning the Working class for ponies.

Laura Lawson was Champion of the Draft Division with KT Barnabus, won the picnic class, won the Carriage Dog Class, driving Costume Class, and the Concours d'Elegance for Carriage Drivers.

Photographer Paul Nolte captured some great photos of horses and drivers at the show. You can see his photos at He generously shared some of his photos with the Mid-South Horse Review.

Find more information about the Nashoba Carriage Classic at: and on facebook at Nashoba Carriage Association.

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