Local youth continues family's winning ways
Shelbyville, TN-Local young horsewoman Georgia Hazelwood netted her first blue ribbon win at the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association World Show, held last weekend on the historic grounds of The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville.
Hazelwood was accompanied by her equine partner, Joe Madden, a three month old stallion sired by the World Grand Champion producing sire, Coach Johnny Majors, and out of Edge's Grace Kelly, a mare raised and owned by her parents.
Hazelwood began her show ring career at the age of six, competing in the lead line division.
Beginning with the 2015 show season, Georgia decided to follow in the footsteps of her parents, both World Champion exhibitors and began showing in the halter division.
That same year, she purchased her first foal, a filly named Little Mud Pie, which happened to be the offspring of the lead line pony with which Georgia had begun her riding career. Georgia and Little Mud Pie showed successfully throughout Middle Tennessee and traveled to Alabama and North Carolina, where they were required to show among adults and professional trainers.
According to Georgia's father it was all part of a plan to build Georgia's confidence and skills. "There aren't a great many opportunities for kids to show in this division. They get a chance at The International and then at The Celebration," Chris Hazelwood said. "It's tough on a kid to show against adults. They just aren't physically able to do as much with a colt as an adult is. But Georgia's got a great attitude and we were confident that she would do just fine so we agreed to let her show in the open division during the fall show season. The confidence I see her walk in the ring with now is the proof that it paid off. She makes me so proud!"
Georgia placed in every competition she entered last season, was invited to exhibit Little Mud Pie at the Tennessee State Fair, and was named Reserve High Point Champion by the Walking Horse Owners Association.
2016 hasn't been without its difficulties. "Joe's a high spirited colt," Georgia's mom, Amy Rich said. "Her first couple of shows, Georgia had a difficult time keeping him parked out during the line-up. She's put in countless hours at the barn, developing a relationship with the colt, basically becoming a team." "You could really see it at the last show. Babies have to be relaxed in order to perform at their best and that comes from being comfortable with the handler. The time she's putting in working at the barn is really paying off."
Plans call for Georgia to exhibit her foal at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, which occurs the two weeks leading up to Labor Day. "After that, who knows," Hazelwood's dad said. "It's in her blood. She's got the bug so I'm sure we'll be on the road this fall. As long as she's having fun, that's what it's all about."
Georgia is a third-grader at Marvin Wright Elementary in Spring Hill and is the granddaughter of Seth and Vanessa Warf and Betty Hazelwood, all of Marshall County.
In addition to exhibiting Tennessee Walking Horses, she is a member of the Marvin Wright cross country team and the Brentwood United Methodist youth choir.