Each year, the MWHA recognizes a horse as an exemplary representative of the breed. MWHA members are encouraged to nominate horses they feel have shown in the show ring, in versatility activities, on the trail, as sires or dams, or promoting the Tennessee Walking Horse in other ways.  

The 2017 nomination deadline has passed. Watch for the winner after the annual meeting and awards celebration!

2016 Horse of the Year - Against Evil Forces

Submitted by Martie Jacobson

I am nominating for the 2016 MWHA Horse of the Year Award the registered Walking horse mare, Against Evil Forces, a.k.a., “Friday.”

Friday is ten years old and over the years has proved to be a very special horse, my horse of a lifetime horse. She is an incredible camping/trail horse and has taken care of my grandchildren and me on trails all over the country including the Black Hills of South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and, of course, Minnesota. Not only has she traversed hills and mountains without taking a misstep, she’s also the perfect horse for hunting off horseback, following the bird dogs as we hunt for Texas quail or Sharptails in Montana.

 As good as she is as a trail and hunting mount it is in the show ring where Friday can truly show off the talent passed down from the generations before her. Her show career has been nothing short of amazing as she has won more championships and grand championships than I can count throughout the country in English and Western disciplines and dominating in Model. She has competed in costume, trail obstacle, driving, egg and spoon, water glass and won several championships with youth riders.

 In 2013 Friday was pretty much undefeated in Amateur, Owned and Trained and Open classes and went on to win the title of “Best Horse in Show” at the prestigious Brew City Classic Charity Horse Show, defeating every horse from every division at that show. She then went on to win two National Grand Championships and one National Reserve Grand Championship at the National Walking Horse Association’s National Championship Show in Shelbyville, Tennessee. She was named Horse of the Year by both the Tri-State Horsemen’s Association and the MWHA that year.

 Sadly, Friday became critically ill in the spring of 2015. She was so critical that it was almost certain she would not survive, or if she did, she would have irreparable nerve damage from the Neuroborreliosis attacking her brain and central nervous system, diagnosed after many tests and spinal taps. Months and months of treatments, intensive rehabilitation, and many long hauls back and forth to a holistic vet 250 miles away paid off. As a testament to how much this mare is loved and respected, she had hundreds of folks praying for her and asking for updates for all those many months. Even though she is still under treatment and not back to being 100% (she never will be), she was well enough to take to the Black Hills for a week of camping and navigating the steep trails. She did very well.

 Because she’d done so well in South Dakota I decided to enter her into the 2016 Minnesota Celebration. Not only did she win all of her classes but one, she was declared the “Best Gaited Horse in Show.” I was thrilled! Not for me, but for her! A few weeks later we travelled to Milwaukee to the Brew City Classic Charity Horse Show where she did very well, winner her classes, placing second in a trail obstacle class and earning a 5th place in the “Grand Champion Horse of Show” class. It was bittersweet to earn a 5th in that class after winning it a short 3 years ago, but I was thrilled just to be able to show my sweet mare. She was only entered in two shows during 2016, but she far exceeded my expectations in each of them.

 Friday gives me more than 100% in the show ring, traveling around the ring snorting like a fire breathing dragon, loving the competition. But I can take that same, competitive mare and put the youngest of my grandchildren on her at our farm, or out on the trail, and she becomes as docile as an old plow horse, walking on egg shells with her precious young rider. She has been the terrifying horse of the Headless Horseman during many Halloween charity events, scaring the bejeebers out of unsuspecting folks, young and old. She drives in harness so as to be able to give non riders the chance to experience horses without having to actually ride.

 Against Evil Forces is an example of what the true and naturally gaited Tennessee Walking horse should be. Against Evil Forces has proved that she has the heart of a true champion.