BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Bluegrass Bandit, a world champion Tennessee Walking Horse trained and ridden by Western Kentucky University freshman Jared Carrier, is joining a stable that includes horses like Secretariat, Seabiscuit and Black Beauty.
Carrier's 5-year-old grey mare has been selected to become the first-ever Tennessee Walking Horse mare to be released by Breyer Animal Creations, makers of the world's finest model horses.
"It's pretty exciting," Carrier said of this latest honor for Bluegrass Bandit.
Since 2005, Bluegrass Bandit has won seven world championships in English and Western trail pleasure events.
"We have wanted to introduce a new Tennessee Walking Horse for some time now," said Stephanie Macejko, Breyer Vice President of Marketing and Product Development. "When we learned more about Bluegrass Bandit's credentials, we knew that she was the perfect horse to honor as the portrait model for this new sculpture."
Bluegrass Bandit's championships include the World Champion in Youth English Trail Pleasure and in Amateur Owned and Trained (AOT) Western Trail Pleasure at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 2005. She was World Grand Champion in Western Pleasure and was voted the Trail Pleasure Horse of the Year by Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse magazine.
In 2006, she was the World Champion in AOT Western Trail Pleasure, AOT English Trail Pleasure and Western Trail Pleasure (Canter), as well as the Reserve World Grand Champion in Western Trail Pleasure.
The sculpture of Bluegrass Bandit, a collaboration between Breyer master sculptor Kathleen Moody and Sommer Prosser, shows the champion mare at a flat walk. The model will debut in the January 2008 Breyer catalog and should be in stores in January.
Next July, Jared and his parents, Chip and Bonny, and Bluegrass Bandit will attend Breyer Fest at the Kentucky Horse Park. As part of the event, Jared will ride Bandit in exhibitions and will sign autographs.
"Bandit is a special horse and companion and we are honored that she was chosen to be a Breyer model," he said.
Bluegrass Bandit is one of several championship Tennessee Walking Horses trained by Jared at the family's Gobblers Knob Farm near Franklin.
Jared began showing horses in 4-H and decided "this was something I want to do the rest of my life."
The family breeds, raises and trains flat shod Tennessee Walking Horses on its 220-acre farm and travels to numerous horse shows each year.
Jared, who plans to major in business at WKU, is taking classes this semester on Tuesdays and Thursdays so he can work with his horses the rest of the week.
"This is the gift that God has given me and I enjoy doing it," Jared said.
For more about Gobblers Knob Farm, visit < href="http://www.gobblersknobfarm.com/">www.gobblersknobfarm.com.
For more about Breyer Animal Creations, the world's best-selling brand of equine-themed toys and collectibles, visit www.breyerhorses.com.