SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Whoa, Nelly! Animal Planet opens the barn doors to release three brand-new programs that bring horses into the spotlight. From the hoof-stomping tracks of some of today’s hottest musical artists to the center-ring drama of America’s top teenage riders to the adrenaline-filled sport of show jumping,  Animal Planet’s equestrian roundup gallops into living rooms beginning January 2006.

This January, unplug and saddle up with TRAIL MIX (premieres Sunday, January 29, 8-10 PM ET/PT). Hosted by Broadway sensation Linda Eder, the two- hour special visits with music’s hottest stars — Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, country sweetheart LeAnn Rimes, Aerosmith rocker Joe Perry, to name a few — to get an inside look at the inspirational bond they share with their horses.

In February, HORSE POWER: ROAD TO THE MACLAY (six-part series premieres Wednesday, February 1, 8-9 PM ET/PT) rounds up the country’s top junior riders for an inside look at the high-stakes, high-drama competition of the horse show circuit. Go behind the scenes as teenage riders struggle to keep pace in a grueling, pressurized season, along with school and social life, while competing for an elusive bid to the Maclay Medal Finals. Can they handle the pressure and sacrifices it will take to qualify?

And then in March, experience the thrill and danger of Olympic-level show jumping when ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP (premieres Monday, March 6, 8-9 PM ET/PT) showcases some of the world’s top riders in competition.
Animal Planet and horses.

Three new shows. Giddyup!

TRAIL MIX
World Premiere:
Sunday, January 29, 8-10 PM (ET/PT)
From record labels to horse stables, TRAIL MIX highlights the special bond that some of today’s top musicians have with horses. Host Linda Eder, a passionate equestrian and singer herself, goes on location with each artist and presents fascinating stories about the emotional connection between the musicians and their horses. From rock stars to pop singers to opera virtuosos, celebrated artists like country sensation LeAnn Rimes, Grammy- winning singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and renowned tenor Ronan Tynan talk about their passion, explain how horses rejuvenate their art and share their most compelling stories about the horses they have known, to reveal surprising details about their own personal lives. Each interview culminates in a one-of-a-kind music video featuring a montage of exclusive footage and outtakes of the singers and their horses.

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Just Added – Sheryl Crow!
SILVER SPRING, Md. (Animal Planet/ www.discovery.com) – Rock siren Sheryl Crow joins the star-studded lineup for Animal Planet’s TRAIL MIX, a two-hour special premiering Sunday, January 29, 2006, from 8-10 PM (ET/PT). Shot in high definition, TRAIL MIX highlights the special bond between some of the music industry’s hottest acts and their horses. Hosted by recording artist and Broadway sensation Linda Eder, the program will feature an eclectic mix of artists from rock stars to pop singers to opera virtuosos, all of whom share a love of horses.

Nine-time Grammy award winner singer/songwriter Crow will give audiences a peek into the special relationship she has with her four horses. On location in Austin, Texas, Crow reveals a rarely seen side as she shares her passion, explains how horses inspire her art and shares her most compelling stories about the horses she loves.

"It’s like being a musical performer, in that you go out on stage, you play music and you hope that what you’re gonna get back is reciprocal. And it’s the same with a horse. You know, they want that relationship with you just like you want that relationship with them, that union, that bond," said Crow while filming the special.

Crow joins a kaleidoscope of today’s hottest musicians: former Matchbox Twenty front man and solo artist Rob Thomas; two-time Grammy winner and crossover country music sensation LeAnn Rimes; solo recording artist and legendary lead guitarist of the rock super band Aerosmith, Joe Perry; Grammy- winning singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter; and world-renowned Irish tenor Ronan Tyan.

HORSE POWER: ROAD TO THE MACLAY
World Premiere: Six-part series premieres Wednesday, February 1, 8-9 PM
(ET/PT)
Welcome to the inside world of junior riders, where America’s top teenage riders, their trainers, their horses and their families engage in the daily drama of the high-powered horse show circuit. These teens are the best of the best — the Michelle Kwans of the riding world — and they’re out to prove who’s number one. As the horses and riders compete for the Maclay Medal Finals, one of the biggest junior equestrian competitions of the year, we explore what it takes to make it both in high school and in the ring, the pressure and sacrifices of the riders’ families, the athleticism and bravery of the horses, the dedication and ambition of the coaches, and above all, the emotional bond between horse and rider. From farm girls to Park Avenue princesses, untrained ponies to $500,000 champion horses, follow the drama as they compete with each other and themselves for the ultimate junior title.

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ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP
World Premiere:
Monday, March 6, 8-9 PM (ET/PT)
Discover the thrill and danger of Olympic level show jumping up close and personal at the ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP, a premiere event in equestrian competitions. Animal Planet takes you behind the scenes to experience riding like you’ve never seen it before, from inside the competition ring. Find out what the horse see as it flies over a series of jumps more than five-feet high. Explore what it takes to be the best in the world in the only sport where human and animal are equal partners. Get an inside look into the relationships the riders have with their horses and what it takes to be a winner. Watch 30 of the best horses and riders from around the world spend four days competing for one of equestrian riding’s top prizes — the ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP.

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Animal Planet, available in 87 million homes nationwide, is the only television network dedicated exclusively to the connection between humans and animals. The network’s original programming brings together people of all ages by tapping into a fundamental fascination with animals and providing an entertaining mix of programming including original movies, adventure series, sports, and dramas. Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Discovery en Espanol and FitTV. The unit also distributes BBC AMERICA.

More info at Animal Planet