Saturday, October 18, 2008

World Championship Morgan Horse Show a Great Success
Release: October 16 2008

By Christina Koliander

Each October since 1973, Morgan horses, owners, trainers and exhibitors descend upon Oklahoma City for the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show. This year's competition brought nearly 1,200 horses from 46 U.S. States, Austria, Canada and Great Britain to vie for titles in a variety of disciplines, including English pleasure, hunter pleasure, carriage driving, dressage and reining.

The week-long show, held October 4-11 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, included virtually non-stop competition divided in three arenas. More than 100 world titles were at stake in nearly 20 divisions. Awards were presented in classes designated for youth, junior exhibitor, amateur, ladies and gentlemen riders and drivers, junior horses, and classes for the open ranks.

It takes a team of hundreds of dedicated people to present a top-notch show such as this, from the volunteer show committee, chaired this year by George Arnold of San Luis Obispo, CA, to the show management, led by Fred Nava of Kingston, MA. Also included are office personnel, sponsors, vendors, judges, announcers, ringmasters, barn managers and other staff around the grounds, who each ensure that each exhibitor and spectator had the best experience possible. A three-judge system is used for the majority of classes and 22 judges officiated this year's show.

"Both the exhibitors and spectators enjoyed the beauty and versatility of the Morgan horses during the eight days of competition that resulted in the selection of 110 new world champions," said Arnold.

Also taking place throughout the week is the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Youth Judging Contest and the national Youth of the Year Finals. Fourteen young women from across the country qualified at local and regional youth of the year contests to compete at the Youth of the Year Finals in Oklahoma for a month-long trip of the winner's choice, generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Winning the honor this year was Hillary Wiles-Lafayette of Litchfield, CT. More than 150 youth participated in the week's youth judging contest.

"The National Youth of the Year Finals and National Youth Horse Judging Contest are truly a product of the Morgan community," said Amanda Ryan, of AMHA's Membership Services and Youth Programs. "They are staffed by volunteers and made possible through many donations and the support of qualifying contests throughout the year. When you look back over the year and see how many people have put their hands in to support these events, you begin to realize the impact and the importance they hold. It's heartwarming and a wonderful picture of how the Morgan community gathers to support its future."

Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 125 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. It also provides an important link to foreign Morgan horse registries and clubs. The headquarters, located in Shelburne, VT, also is home to the National Museum of the Morgan Horse and are maintained through the generosity of the American Morgan Horse Institute.

You can learn more about AMHA at For complete results from the 2008 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show, visit