Where can you experience the adrenaline rush of a running barrel horse, the pageantry and beauty of a racking or gaited horse, the discipline and control of a Western pleasure horse, and statuesque perfection of a halter horse? In answer, all are represented and involved in the hottest of competition at the 2011 Alabama Open Horseman’s Association (AOHA) State Championship Horse Show. The State Championship Show takes place over Labor Day weekend, as it has for 24 years, on the grounds of Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery.
The show opens on Friday evening, September 2, at 5 p.m. with the finest collection of halter horses this side of heaven and continues on Saturday and Sunday with events ranging from Western pleasure, racking and gaited horse events, children’s costume leadline to barrel racing. All types of horse disciplines are represented in the show in events which include many Western and English pleasure classes, 10 different gaited or racking classes, 11 halter horse classes, and numerous and all manner of timed or running events. Designated by the Alabama Legislature as the only official horse show for Alabama, the show celebrates its 24th anniversary in 2011.
Last year’s entries exceeded 2,000 as 730 horses were shown in various classes of the best of competition while an estimated crowd of 15,000 spectators and exhibitors roamed the show grounds during the three-day period. The show has become the largest horse show in Alabama and the second largest in the entire Southeastern United States. Entrants come from local horse show associations and clubs from all points of Alabama with competitors and spectator representation extending to areas of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and the Florida panhandle. It is truly a Southeastern regional experience. The exhibitors have shown their horses all spring and summer for the right to represent their home clubs and associations in the championship show. Only the best 15 of each event from the local associations may register to compete at the show and thereby comes our declaration of "this is where only the best of the best compete." Many breeds of horses will be in competition from Quarter Horses to Arabians to ponies as both adults and children vie for coveted awards like trophy saddles, belt buckles and plaques. Even those who do not gather in the awards have the satisfaction and honor of knowing they competed and represented themselves and their "home" clubs in the big show. Spectators are always amazed and entertained by the natural excitement or drama of the events. One of the most popular spectator classes is the "children’s costume leadline." There the ponies or horses and the children and parents are decked out with up to thousands of dollars worth of decorations, designs and costumes to impress and influence the judge’s decision.
Tickets will be available at the gate at an unbelievably low price and parking is ample and free.
Vendors from near and far will be on the grounds with clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, food, horse trailers, riding equipment and general equine supplies. Our vendors tell us it is always a very profitable three days and well worth the trip. New vendors are always welcome and may inquire as to space available and cost by calling (205) 221-2802.
For more information about AOHA and the show, visit our website at showaoha.org.
For the horse enthusiast or those just looking for fun and excitement, there is something for everyone at the 2011 Alabama Open Horseman’s Association State Championship Horse Show. Garrett Coliseum is on Coliseum Boulevard, just off the Northern By-Pass and Federal Drive. For further information, call (256) 234-2925 or (205) 221-2802.