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Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show

The World's Championship Horse Show, held at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville, Kentucky, in Freedom Hall, is a large horse show that includes the American saddlebred, Hackney pony, and Standardbred. It is usually held annually in late August, coinciding with the dates of the Kentucky State Fair and in the middle of the show season for the three breeds. Any horse or rider who wins there earns the title of world's champion (abbreviation: WC), and a second place finish is identified with a reserve world's championship (abbreviation: RWC) title. In addition to the WC and RWC titles, a horse can also earn the world's grand championship (WGC) or world's championship of champions (WCC) title. The winner of a championship class which requires a qualifier is given one of these titles.



In each division, there are always several classes specifically for amateurs, ladies, amateur ladies, and junior exhibitors. There are also specific classes for younger horses, namely two- three- and four-year-olds, and for Saddlebred ponies and/or horses. They compete to win many ribbons and trophys throughout the season.

The Saddlebred divisions of the show's classes contain about six to thirty classes each, and the number may depend on the number of entries that will be showing, for larger classes are usually split into two separate sections. Saddlebreds compete in the divisions found in most of their shows, including the three performance divisions, five gaited, three gaited, and fine harness, as well as park and pleasure divisions. Saddle seat equitation classes are also offered for junior riders.

The hackney ponies compete in four divisions, road, hackney (cobtail), harness, and pleasure driving ponies. Standardbreds hold only one division, for road horses.


The World's Championship has been held every year since it was founded in 1902, except for in 1904, when no fair was held, and in 1945, when the fair was cancelled due to World War II.[1] It is one of the three horse shows that compose the Saddlebred "Triple Crown," in addition to the Lexington Junior League in Lexington, Kentucky, and the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. The schedule always ends on a Saturday night with the five gaited world's grand championship.

In 1953, Wing Commander became the first Saddlebred to ever win six world's grand championship titles, all in the five gaited division. After him, a mare named My-My matched his feat from 1963 to 1968, but she died before she could win a seventh title. More recently, a fine harness horse named Callaway's Copyright won his sixth world's grand championship in 2006 and retired shortly thereafter. In 1988, Michele MacFarlane became the first woman and first amateur to win the five gaited world's grand championship on Sky Watch. Since then, she has had two more wins of the same title, on two different horses in 1996 and 2007. The latter year definitely made Saddlebred history, for another amateur woman, Mary Gaylord McClean, won the reserve title to MacFarlane. Some other horses that have made history with their performances are An Heir About Her, who became the first three-year-old Saddlebred to win a world's grand championship in 2002, and A Sweet Treat, who won world's grand championships in both the three gaited and fine harness divisions, which is particularly unusual and proves a horse's versatility.

For the first time ever, in 2006, the Kentucky State Fair offered a western pleasure division for Saddlebreds. It still does not offer hunt seat, park pleasure, or a junior exhibitor park, pleasure equitation, or adult equitation division, all of which are being desired for inclusion in the show by some exhibitors.

List of recent world's grand champions

The following is a list of the world's grand champions at the Kentucky State Fair of the last five years:[2]

Year 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Five Gaited Courageous Lord CH Breaking News CH (SA) CCV Casey's Final Countdown He's The Man Five O'Clock CH Boucheron CH Callaway's Forecaster
Three Gaited CH Our Charming Lady CH Our Charming Lady Grande Gil Manila Thrilla Manila Thrilla CH An Heir About Her CH An Heir About Her
Fine Harness Castledream Mother Mary CH Along Came A Spider CH Callaway's Copyright CH Callaway's Copyright CH Callaway's Copyright CH Callaway's Copyright
Road Horse Big Red Big Red Big Red Big Red Big Red Power Ranger Invincible Summer
Road Pony Beaulah Jean Beaulah Jean Free Willy Free Willy Calvin Hobbs Desert Prince Desert Prince
Hackney Pony Heartland High Tech On The Mark Lord Ovation Nabucco Nabucco On The Mark Heartland Equality
Harness Pony Dun Haven Phenomenal Heartland Expectation Heartland Expectation Sweetheart of Success Par Excellence Shake Don't Stir Heartland King Of Kings

See also

  • Horse Show,
  • Kentucky State Fair


  1. American Saddlebred Magazine, Volume 25, No. 1, January-February 2007
  2. www.saddlehorsereport.com Saddlehorsereport.com


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