Nearly 85 years ago, the Mississippi Charity Horse Show began.
Started in 1930, the leading names behind the first show were Breck Cabell, Col. B.F. McCleland, W.H. Pullen, Sidney Robinson, Mayor Walter Scott, Robert Stockett and Ben Wakefield. During its first year, the show was held on the Stockett family’s property and was called the Jackson Horse Show. Initially, this was a multi-breed show with Hunters/Jumpers, American Saddle Bred and Walking Horses. The show was moved to the Fairgrounds in 1931. In 1933, the Jr. Auxiliary sponsored the show on the Fairgrounds in front of the big grand stand. The Girl Scouts took over sponsorship of the show in 1934 and continued to sponsor the show through 1936. It became a three-day show in the year 1936. In 1937, the Jr. Auxiliary again sponsored the horse show.
The Mississippi Charity Horse Show became a premier society event for the city of Jackson. Women and men would dress in their finest to attend the performances. Downtown stores, like Kenningtons, McRaes, and the Emporium, would decorate their Capital Street windows especially for the horse show. In 1938, the Mississippi State Horse Show Association was formed and has sponsored the charity show from that year forward.
World War II interrupted the show in 1942 for one year. People really wanted to see these fine horses perform again, so in 1943, the show continued. The year 1944 marked the first year in which the show was held at night due to electric lights being added to the big grand stand. During the years 1951 to 1956, the Jr. League of Jackson co-sponsored the event with the Mississippi State Horse Show Association. During the scheduled show dates in 1957, it rained for three days causing the outdoor show to be postponed for several days. Following the 1957 show, the big grand stand was blown down by a storm. As a result, the show was cancelled from 1958 to 1962 until the new location, the Coliseum, was completed. From 1963 through 2009, it continued in its present location. In June of 2009, the decision was made by the Mississippi Charity Horse Show Association to relocate the 2010 show to a new facility designed for equine events. Since 2010, the show has been held at the state-of-the-art Kirk Fordice Equine Center located next to the Coliseum on the Fairgrounds.
The Mississippi Charity Horse Show is recognized as premier Walking Horse Show drawing talented horses, riders and trainers from throughout the country. Proceeds from this show have always benefited a charity.
Lois Hardy prepared this history using information obtained from the Stockett family.
This information was last updated by MSCHS.