Appaloosa Horse Club presenting 2002 Jubilee

By Marvin Birchfield

   What once nearly became an extinction in the United States is now making its return in becoming one of the most desired and beloved breed of horses that one may own.
   The Appaloosa has been stealing the hearts of horse owners with its versatility and personality in most recent years.
   The Tennessee Valley Appaloosa Horse Club will be holding the 2002 Volunteer Jubilee on April 27-28 at the Great Smokey Mountain Expo Center in White Pine.
   Everyone is invited and there is no admission fee to come out and witness the festivities.
   The Appaloosa is an unique breed of horse that dates back to more than 20,000 years ago.
   They are visibly recognized by the spots they have, like those similar to a Dalmatian, but it doesn't mean just because a horse has spots it makes it an Appaloosa.
   "They are four distinctive characteristics an Appaloosa has," says Juanita McKinney, vice president of the Tennessee Valley Appaloosa Horse Club. "It has white sclera like the human eye.. It has to have a distinctive stripped-hoof on black foot. It has modeled skin, and also has a distinctive coat pattern."
   There are already over 80 entries registered for this year's event, which is expected to increase by the weekend.
   The show will feature some of the top performers in the nation with a few of the locals that have developed a reputation for being the region's best.
   One of those is Brian Irwin of Fall Branch, who is known for competing in the national and world competitions.
   Irwin is one of the top breeders around, and his performances at shows have proven this to be true.
   In the last three years, Brian has finished in the top five and top ten in the national and world events.
   The one thing that draws him to the Appaloosa is the uniqueness of each individual horse.
   "They are different coat patterns within the horse, but each one has its own variation and coloration, which makes it an individual," says Irwin. "They have the same kind of discipline as a Quarter Horse has."
   Brian has a two-year old mare that is currently ranked sixth in the nation this year, and he has finished as high as fourth in the nation and fifth in the world.
   The biggest thing that Brian is trying to do is make his horses able to ride, and not be just a Halter horse.
   Another star to the sport is Deanna Daugherty, who won the national competition in Youth Halter Mares.
   Deanna is a ninth-grader at South Greene High School, and she looks forward to repeating her national championship claim.
   "Right now I'm leading the nation in points in the Youth Halter Mares," says Daugherty. "I have the most points in Youth Hunter Under Saddle, and in riding and halter I have more points than anybody else in the club."
   Deanna says she is excited and has big expectations for the upcoming event.
   Jayme Peterson is another one of the youths that will be competing in this year's show.
   Jayme joined the Appaloosa club in 1999 and has been competing since 2000.
   She captured first-place honors at High Point earlier this year with her Arabian Gelding, and is currently the Youth Director for the Tennessee Valley Appaloosa Horse Club.
   "I try to promote the Appaloosa Club, and get the youth involved and come out to the shows," says Peterson.
   Jayme also finished third in the national ApHC SA contest with the title, "Why I love my Appaloosa."
   The show will start at 8:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and everyone is welcome in coming out to view the festivities.
   The Tennessee Valley Appaloosa Horse Club asks for information on ideas to anyone who is interested in shows, clinics, trail rides or any other suggestions one may have.
   For more details contact Juanita McKinney at 542-6178 or Melissa Wilhoit at 423-625-2026.