Tribute to a
Legend: Champagne Watchout
Originally Published at
Reprinted with permission.
With deepest and
heartfelt sympathy to Jennie Jackson, Nate, and their family in
the sudden loss of their legendary naturally gaited Tennessee
walking horse stallion: Champagne Watchout, who passed away on
July 17, 2017 at the age of 24.
In the 1980s Jennie
Jackson began applying and perfecting dressage methods of training
to gaited horses. Then in 1998 she introduced dressage as a humane
training alternative for Tennessee walking horses. She began to
apply dressage training methods with her naturally gaited
Tennessee walking horse stallion Champagne Watchout. The two
defied the critics and rose through the levels of dressage [en
Jackson and Champagne Watchout performing the Spanish Walk.
In 2006, Jennie and
Champagne Watchout were the first duo in history to perform
dressage en gaite at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The
duo demonstrated never-seen-before Prix St. George movements en
gaite as piaffe, passage, half pass, Spanish walk, as well as
canter pirouette, and tempe changes.
Jackson and Champagne Watchout performing at the 2010 Alltech FEI
World Equestrian Games.
In 2010, Jennie and
Champagne Watchout were formally invited to exhibit their dressage
en gaite musical freestyle at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian
Games. Champagne Watchout became the official Tennessee walking
horse breed representative.
Jennie Jackson and 16-year old Champagne Watchout performing their
dressage en gaite musical freestyle at the 2010 Alltech World
Equestrian Games at Lexington Kentucky Horse Park in 2010
As a life-long
student of dressage, I have always longed to achieve piaffe,
passage, canter half pass, pirouette, and tempe changes with my
trotting horses and now with my naturally gaited horses. In my
opinion, Jennie Jackson and Champagne Watchout are naturally
gaited dressage legends! They performed these difficult movements
en gaite with ease—something many claimed was impossible for a
In addition to his
striking looks and athletic moves, Champagne Watchout has a
powerful, jaw-dropping, head-shaking, natural flat walk and
running walk that turns heads at the rail class events. Champagne
Watchout earned the right to compete in the 1999 Tennessee Walking
Horse National Celebration World Grand Championship class. He was
the first and ONLY naturally gaited flat shod entry competing
among the traditional Big Lick horses.
Watchout—First flat shod horse to compete at the 1999 TWHBEA World
Grand Championship Tennessee Walking Horse Class
Encounters with the
I was fortunate to
have met Champagne Watchout on two occasions. In 2015 I traveled
to Tennessee to ride at a Jennie Jackson Dressage for the Gaited
Horse Clinic and I got to meet this gentle, golden stallion. Even
with his winter fuzzies, Champagne Watchout was a standout.
riding her gaited dressage stallion Champagne Watchout.
The next year, I
returned to the South to ride with Jennie Jackson as a working
student. While I was there I had the privilege of watching Jennie
ride her barefoot, 22-year-old gaited dressage stallion Champagne
Back then Champagne
Watchout was the ONLY Tennessee walking horse still living among
those he had competed against in the 1999 Tennessee Walking Horse
National Celebration World Grand Championship class.
I was privileged to
watch Jennie ride Champagne Watchout at Amazing Gaits, piaffe and
passage along the ocean coast, and dance to the music during the
Marti Gras parade.
How long do you
think the beads will last on this head shaking stallion? Champagne
Watchout and Jennie Jackson enjoyed throwing beads to the Marti
Gras parade patrons.
was the first horse eager to step into the wavy coastline and gave
the rest of the Amazing Gait's horses confidence. In no time all
of us were flat walking in the ocean.
And through the
Marti Gras parade at 22 years old Champagne Watchout still had all
We will never forget
you, Champagne Watchout. You have inspired multitudes and left an
amazing legacy that will live on.