Annual Fox Trotter Fall Show and Celebration Runs Sept. 2—8 Final Night Includes Fox Trotting Highway Dedication and Crowning of World Grand Champion

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Admired by a presidential candidate, trail riders, and people looking for the smoothest ride on four hooves, the Missouri Fox Trotter will be exhibited in more than 150 classes throughout the first week in September at the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association World Headquarters in Ava, Missouri.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is like a quarter horse, but with a better gait. Mitt Romney

Missouri’s official state horse, the Missouri Fox Trotter received national attention when presidential candidate Mitt Romney revealed he owns and enjoys riding one, which he described to Fox News Host Sean Hannity as “like a quarter horse, but with a much better gait.” Now everyone can enjoy hundreds of beautiful Missouri Fox Trotters, along with thousands of their fans as they arrive in Ava, Mo. Sunday, September 2nd through Saturday, September 8th for the 54th Annual Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA) Show and Celebration.

Exhibitors and their registered Missouri Fox Trotters will compete for cash, prizes and the coveted title of 2012 MFTHBA World Grand Champion. Horses will be exhibited during two shows each day from Sunday through Friday. On Saturday, September 8th, at 5 p.m., elected and state officials will honor the breed and its legacy during a dedication ceremony for the Missouri Fox Trotting Highway, in the Dale Esther Arena. Following the dedication, at 6 p.m., recently deceased members will be honored in a unique ceremony, as a black caparisoned horse, representing the fallen, will be led around the arena. Members and horses inducted into the Hall of Fame will then be announced, and the final competition of the evening begins, capped off with the crowning of the 2012 World Grand Champion.

“There is a reason we call this our annual Celebration,” says Joyce Graening, MFTHBA President. “Friends and admirers gather for several days in spirited appreciation and competition with our graceful, athletic, and versatile Missouri Fox Trotting Horses. We commemorate our breed’s rich history here in the Missouri Ozarks, and honor its emergence as both a pleasure and working horse of choice around the world.” Graening notes that there is something for everyone on the MFTHBA show grounds.

There is a full week of competition that includes classes in model (haltered horses are led into the arena and judged against the breed standard), gaited performance (horses are marked based on their fox trotting gaits and performance), and versatility (cow cutting, trail challenges, reining) competitions. One highlight is the Author’s Meet, Greet and Signing Event at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 8th. MFTHBA members who have authored books or other materials will be available to meet guests, as well as those who may have written about the Missouri Fox Trotter in the past 12 months.

On Sunday, September 2nd, at 10 a.m., the 28th Annual Gospel Sing, sponsored by Don and Connie Crawford will inspire attendees. Also on Sunday, distinguished horsewoman Linda Shaddy will conduct a clinic on “modeling basics,” (how to exhibit a horse to show its conformance to breed standard.) The music continues on Monday, September 3rd, with a bluegrass musical performance at 4 p.m. Throughout the show, vendors will offer everything from food to fashion located throughout the 130 acre grounds. Guests may also enjoy visiting the Hall of Fame and Museum located in the headquarters building, or selecting official Missouri Fox Trotter items at the Fox Trotter Store in the Roy Williams Pavilion

“The World MFTHBA Headquarters transforms into a small city,” says Graening. “We have 334 full service RV sites, dry camping areas, three bathroom and shower facilities, 850 covered stalls, five arenas, and numerous riding areas. It is a horse lover’s dream.”

This year, the MFTHBA honors FFA members, with free admission for students all day Tuesday, September 4th. Active and retired military will be honored on Armed Services Day, Wednesday, September 5th, enjoying free admission by showing a valid military I.D. Regular admission daily tickets are $5, Monday through Thursday, and $6 on Friday and Saturday. Weekly passes are $30.

Any horse owner will enjoy trail rides departing from the show grounds on Monday through Friday mornings with several of the Association’s most admired “trail bosses.” You do not have to be an exhibitor. All horses entering the show grounds will need proof of their horse’s negative Coggins test and a certificate of veterinary inspection. Call +1-417-683-2468 or visit for information.                                                                                                    

The MFTHBA youth will hold an auction Thursday, Sept. 6th, after the show. Proceeds will fund special projects for young members such as the MFTHBA Youth Achievement Program and Youth Seminar.

The breed received national recognition for the past two years on the American Competitive Trail Horse Association’s America’s Favorite Trail Horse TV series, which selected several Missouri Fox Trotters in its top 100 finalists.    Those enchanted with the breed at Ava will even be able to buy one at the show’s “Ride and Sell” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 8th. Following the sale, at 2 p.m., award winning gaited horse trainer Geno Middleton will be conducting a clinic addressing the starting of your Missouri Fox Trotter, working with its natural gaits and headset. Manna Pro is underwriting the clinic.

Generous sponsors include the following individuals and organizations:
Gold: Montana Silversmiths; Harry Patterson, Boss Man Saddlery and Patterson Auto Center. Silver: Brandreth Farms-John and Samantha Brandreth. Special Patron: Manna Pro. Contributors: Chell’s Floral Attic; Larsen Farm & Lawn; Vigo McNeil. Class Sponsors: Douglas County Fox Trotting Horse Breeders Association; Lee Hackler; Jeff Shields and Maxcy Dimmick; Brian and Debbie Levillie-Foxey Rhythm Ranch; Pam Griswold; Lone Star Fox Trotters; Kansas City Regional Fox Trotting Horse Association; Wilson Farms-Bob and Colleen Wilson; Betty Lynn; Fox Trotting Trail Riders of Tennessee; Lane Patterson; Lynn and Tammy Dousay; California Fox Trotter Association; Joyce Graening; Erin Stevens and Charles Jordan; Ruth Ellen Massey; Randy Williams and Therese Murray; Geno Middleton, Michael and Stephanie O’Neal; Steve R Wood-Trigger Creek Ranch, and Maximum Performance Horse Minerals; Larry Robbins; Jeff and Yvonne Dehner; and Alford Stables.

The MFTHBA show grounds are located in Ava, Mo., on Hwy. 5, one mile north of the junction of Hwy. 5 and Hwy. 14. A list of all Celebration events is attached to this news release. A Celebration blog can be found at, and people can follow on Facebook(Missouri Fox Trotting Breed Horse Association) and Twitter: @MOfoxtrot.

About the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed and Association (MFTHBA)
Developed from horses in the Missouri Ozarks about 150 years ago, the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is characterized by a gentle demeanor and its signature gait, the fluid, diagonal 4-beat fox trot. Bloodlines can be traced from the horses of early settlers coming to the Ozarks from neighboring states of Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas.
These horses were depended upon for surefootedness in this mountainous region. Their ability to do whatever was needed around the homestead ranging from plowing, hauling logs and working cattle, while at the same time doubling as a stylish buggy horse or riding horse for the family, made them not only a favorite, but a necessity. The Missouri Fox Trotter’s good disposition and willing attitude are among their many desirable characteristics, making them one of the most versatile and loved of horse breeds within the equine registries.
Since 1948, the MFTHBA has worked to promote the Fox Trotter gaited horse and support a registry for horses that meet the breed standards of gait and conformation. There have been more than 96,000 registered Fox Trotters since that time.
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Horse lovers wanting to learn more about gaited horses, in particular the Missouri Fox Trotter, can subscribe to new email publications from the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA). Visit to sign up.

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