Allison Thorson Wins Seven World Titles at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 9:45pm
Will Beeson
Allison Thorson Wins Big at the 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®

During the annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®, which takes place every year towards the end of the summer, Allison Thorson won seven world titles during the 11 days of competition held at the historic Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, TN.

Allison took the time to speak with us to recap each victory from this year's competition.

8-23-17 Wednesday Morning Session

Owner Amateur English Country Pleasure

SUIZA helped Allison kick off her tremendous run with her first world title of this year's Celebration®. Allison also stated how special this class was because the title brought SUIZA's total to 23 world titles, which is a record for most championships for a Tennessee Walking Horse.

8-24-17 Thursday Morning Session

Owner Amateur English/Western Trail Pleasure (Canter)

Winning the blue ribbon with AUSTRALIAN GOLD, Allison explainsed why this win was extra special. After winning the same class in 2014, Australian Gold was bitten on the tongue by a snake. The venom came out of AUSTRALIAN GOLD's left eye, causing it to lose it's vision. However, Allison was able to come back and win the world title in 2015, as well as, during this year's competition.

"I was competing with a 'one-eyed horse,' which makes the victories in 2015 and 2017 that much sweeter. Knowing that my horse can still compete and win world titles with one eye shows that you should never give up on your horse. You may have to regain the trust you once shared, but anything is possible," Thorson said.

After finishing last in the class in 2016, Allison refocused, learned from her mistakes and came into this year's class prepared and determined to recapture the world title with AUSTRALIAN GOLD. Mission accomplished.

8-25-17 Friday Morning Session

Owner Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Lite Shod Horses

All season, Allison knew she had a special horse in JOSES GRAND MUCHACHA.

"We've really been clicking this season. I knew we had a very talented horse. Last year we finished second, but I knew this year would be different."

It all came together on Friday morning during the ride as JOSES GRAND MUCHACHA took first place. This wouldn't be the only blue ribbon for JOSES GRAND MUCHACHA during the fortnight.

8-26-17 Saturday Morning Session

Auxiliary Equitation Medal Class

Thorson was able to watch on the sidelines for this class as one of her students, Jayden Jackson won the Youth Equitation on one of her horses, GENIUS MASTER PLAN. Jackson was riding one of Allison's first horses, who is now a 22 year old horse. Allison was impressed with her horse's tenacity by still being able to compete at such a high level.

On the weekends, Thorson enjoys giving lessons to kids. She believes in educating the next generation from her experience and knowledge. Now 22, she has been doing this since the age of six and knows how important it is to get the youth involved with horses as it is a great extracurricular activity.

"These kids show up in the summer and winter ready to work hard. I cannot compete 30 weeks out of the year like I used to, so I want to take my off weeks and really teach these kids what it takes to win world titles and give back to the Tennesse Walking Horse breed that has been so good to me."

8-28-17 Monday Morning Session

Equitation Adult (Canter)

Allison capped off a four-peat with THE NINTH WONDER. Allison described that winning the class four years in a row is not an easy feat. 

"You definitely feel like you have a target on your back," Thorson said. "You have this added pressure that you don't even ask for."

She was able to take her experience from winning the same class in the youth division and not let the pressure get to her these last four years in the adult class.

8-28-17 Monday Morning Session

Owner Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Lite Shod Horses

Allison had little time to celebrate her win with THE NINTH WONDER. She had to quickly turnaround and get ready to ride with her big black mare, MY BLACK CADILLAC. Allison detailed what it is like coming off the emotional high from winning only to regroup and go back out.

"I'm a really competitive person, so you have to be able to control your emotions. You have to set yourself back at zero and get ready to compete in the next class. For the short term, your previous win doesn't matter anymore. You have to be ready to compete and keep your emotions in check."

After finishing second the past eight years, Allison regrouped and took home another world title with MY BLACK CADILLAC.

9-1-17 Saturday Session

World Grand Championship

On the last night of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®, Allison and JOSES GRAND MUCHACHA were back for one last ride. After becoming a world champion last Friday, JOSES GRAND MUCHACHA was draped in red roses, reminiscent to the Kentucky Derby winner, after winning the grand championship on Saturday. Allison discussed what it is like to be riding during the final night of the competition.

"You go into the stadium during the last night. It gives you the chills. The Celebration® has been going on since the early 1900s in the same location. There's immense history, which is special no matter what age you are. Each individual breed has their big championship and for the Tennessee Walking Horse, this is ours. The aftermath of the Hurricane Harvey storm hit Tennesse on Thursday and Friday. We were competing in our classes in the pouring rain. Unless it is lighting, the show will go on. Saturday was big because the weather was finally nice so everyone came out and showed their support. The atmosphere kind of felt like a football stadium."

In that "football stadium," Allison had her family and friends in the stands to cheer her on.


Allison's family is heavily involved in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series through ThorSport Racing, their family's professional stock car racing team.

"My family is like my traveling pit crew (pun intended). They have always been so supportive of me and my endeavors, that it makes nights like the grand championships special to share the victory with the people who have helped get me to this point," said Thorson.

Overall, Allison had a tremendous past 11 days. She now has a total of 81 world titles, and counting. She said that all the endless hours of practice make moments where you win a world title so worth it. She is proud of the way she competed by showing a diverse selection of Tennesse Walking Horses in not just English, but also Western and Performance classes. Practice always pays off, and it showed for Allison during these past 11 days.

Allison described how special it is to compete each year at Celebration® and that she still gets butterflies before each ride. She ended our conversation fittingly with a quote from Jack Nicklaus. "If you aren't nervous, then you probably don't care." It's evident of Allison's passion and dedication to the Tennessee Walking Horse breed, as she continues to add more world titles to her already impressive bounty.


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