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In 1972, with the crowning of Go Boy's Roadrunner, and every year
thereafter, the cry, "RACK ON!", has echoed through the State of
Alabama at the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America's
(RHBAA) Annual world Grand Champion Celebration. The millennium
year was no exception.
The final minutes were as thrilling as in any years' past. Steaming,
heaving horses and their riders lined up waiting to hear the judging
results as everyone in the arena held their breath. Then, finally,
after what seemed an eternity, the announcer's voice proclaimed
loud and clear, "The Racking Horse World Grand Champion for the
year 2000 is, Pursuing Perfection, ridden by Mr. Larry Latham and
owned by Leslie & Sandra Muguerza and Bill & Darlene Harris. If
anything was said after that it was completely drowned out by the
cheers of the emotional crowd.
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From Concept to "Breed"
In the late 1960's, Joe D. Bright led a group of Alabama horsemen
through the legalities with the USDA to recognize the Racking Horse
as a distinct breed. Drawing
heavily from the existing pleasure Walking Horse ranks, in 1971
the Racking Horse Breed was officially designated and the RHBAA
was established as the registry. As in these days there was not
much being done to represent the pleasure Walking Horse, the potential
to promote a horse shown without action devices, a set tail, nor
the canter was tremendous, and the new registry grew quickly. The
intent was to "establish a registry to protect and perpetuate the
breed"- to create an organization that would serve amateurs, breeders
and exhibitors alike, as well as promote the horses. Did the charter
members dream it would grow to include over 80,000 horses from the
U.S. and several foreign countries? Did they foresee the Association's
growth to approximately 3,300 members?
On October 10, 1975, the Racking Horse was officially adopted
as the state horse of Alabama.
What's in a Name?
The "rack" as defined for the Racking Horse was
the common name for
the gait also referred to as the "single-foot". It is a square, evenly
timed gait - an extension of the walk with more speed - and very smooth
to ride. It may or may not be performed with high animation, a bobbing
"shaky tail", and varying degrees of collection, in the ring or on
the trail. It is as natural to the breed as walking, though it may
be accentuated through training, pads, or riding styles.
Good looks, stamina and a calm, sweet, willing disposition have
been bred into the Racking Horse since the beginning, yet the physical
image is one of powerful grace. With a long neck, deep flanks, smooth
legs and good bone, he is a horse built to go all day in comfort
to the rider. Racking Horses come in all common horse colors, except
Appaloosa patterns, and average about 15.2 hands at 1,000 pounds,
a substantial pleasure riding mount.
The Rack Stuff!
Since winning the Racking Horse World Grand Champion Celebration's 'Trainer of the Year' award last year, Barbara Agnish, and her fiancee, Rick Parish, of Pine Ridge Farm, Dallas, GA, have worked hard, trained hard, and shown all over the Southeast. Their efforts were leading up to the millennium year 2000 Racking Horse Celebration in Priceville, AL.
Barbara is a petite blonde who could have been a model or perhaps a TV personality. However, showing Walking and Racking (as well as Quarter Horses) since she was five years old led her to choose training Racking Horses as her career in 1993. Now, at 33, she's very good at what she does, and she and Rick have a barn full of successful Racking Horses and satisfied clients to show for their hard work.
The long awaited final Saturday night of the Championship
Celebration arrives. Guaranteed Perfect, ("Fletch"
as he's known to his friends and admirers) with Rick riding,
puts on quite a performance as the class travels the ring
each way and then lines up for the "usual" presentation. Grooms
are called in (Barbara runs into the ring), saddles removed,
flecks of foam are wiped as the judges walk around each horse
to evaluate from curly pointed ears to long flowing tails.
"Saddles on and riders up, please."
Tonight it's Barbara who must leave the ring and wait along with the crowd as the horses move off one more time before lining up for the announcement of the winner.
When it was over, Barbara, Rick and Guaranteed Perfect garnered
the Reserve WGC, a fantastic honor, but there is always next
year and most likely they'll be back to try again for that
elusive WGC. Congratulations to Barbara, Rick and all the
competitors on a grand showing.
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Though the RHBAA was the founding organization that first recognized
and documented the Racking Horse, there are several associations
that currently register Racking Horses.
Racking Horse Breeders Association of America
Horses can be registered with the RHBAA through two routes. The
first is by pedigree in which any foal born in 1994 or after must
be blood typed for parentage verification. Sire
and dam will have also been blood typed either with the RHBAA or
another association in which case an affidavit for verification
is required. The second registration option is by performance. Since
1997 the registration by commission of any qualified horse of any
age is allowed. As in the early days of the registry, a horse must
perform his natural gaits for personal inspection by a qualified
commissioner before registration is granted.
Walking/Racking Horse Registry (WRHR)
The WRHR began in October of 1999. It is an information registry
predominately for Racking Horses because so many Racking Horses
have no pedigree showing on their registrations because they are
commissioned (registered on the basis of gait). Registration requires
There are several advantages of registering WRHR. Pedigree is included
on the registration. A custom-made book is created for each horse
that includes photos and articles on significant horses in the registered
horse's background. Horses that running walk or rack are eligible
to compete in FOSH sanctioned shows for points.
Lovers of fine horses will find the Racking Horse to be a willing
and gentle companion providing hours and years of enjoyment on the
trail, the hunt, in the ring, on the farm, in harness or under saddle.
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For more information contact:
Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America
67 Horse Center Road
Decatur, AL 35603
Phone: (256) 353-7225
Walking /Racking Horse Registry
P.O. Box 291
New Haven, Kentucky 40051
United Racking Horse Owners and Exhibitors Association L.L.C.
P.O. Box 96
White Pine, TN 37890
Phone: (423) 674-7117
Horses registered with, SSHBEA, TWHBEA, OR RHBAA can be automatically
registered with U.R.H.O.E.A.