"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

THOUGHTS - Responses to the White Paper

So of course, there are responses to the White Paper. The HSUS applauded the TWH Task Force for their efforts--the article is located on The Horse.com (Click here). This response is especially poignent because Keith Dane, the president of the HSUS, was at the 2007 Celebration and he saw no changes in efforts to stop soring in the full year it had been since the 2006 Celebration shut down.

Of course, we also got some negative responses, which really is not unexpected. The entire article is on The Horse.com (Click here). I have some comments on their comments, which I want to share here.

In regards to having veterinarians as the new inspectors instead of DQPs:
"'That's an impossibility,' said Earl Rogers, president of the Kentucky Walking Horse Association. 'Out here in the country, (Rogers lives in Bath County in northeastern Kentucky) we can't even get a large animal vet to treat our animals, let alone have one at every show.'" OF COURSE you can't have a vet at every show because you're not serious about stopping soring. If you were serious, you'd foot the costs for flying one in. Last time I heard there were airplanes that go to Kentucky. (The KWHA is known for having violations, BTW.)

"'National Walking Horse Association Executive Director Don Vizi worries that implementing the AAEP plan will burden association and horse industry organizations financially. 'We do 60 shows a year, not counting our national show,' Vizi said. 'I don't think they've even thought about cost yet.'" Okay, first off, I am a HUGE supporter of NWHA and I actually like their show venue better than FOSH. Don, I definitely don't disagree with you as far as cost is concerned. I don't think the AAEP thought about costs--they were asked to look at solutions to the problem. With NWHA being serious about sound horses, though, I am sure we would find a way to put this in place. People already fly out DQPs and judges to shows, and those people are paid for their efforts (sound horse show or not)--why can't they do this for veterinarians?

Honestly, we have GOT to find a solution to this, and in my opinion, a drastic change is what is needed. I completely agree with Ms. Leitch: "Task Force Chairman Midge Leitch, VMD, Dipl. ACVS, of Cochranville, Pa., admits the recommendations represent a financial commitment. But the investment is necessary to abolish a long-standing 'culture of abuse' reflected in 103 HPA competitor violations at TWH shows in 2007, and the failure to crown a 2006 World [Grand]Champion due to the high volume of disqualifications at the TWH National Celebration that year. 'Exhibitors, owners and trainers are going to have to pay a lot of money to clean this up,' she said."

Folks, the deal is this: soring continues, period. It is more rampant than the industry makes it out to be, period. Solid evidence tells us this; end of story. Therefore, you jerkoffs who continue to sore horses need to be shut down because you aren't going to change, and we know it. Why would you stop a system that continues to make you money?

This means that serious and strong implementations need to be put in place. The AAEP has it exactly right: get rid of DQPs, get rid of HIOs, and start hiring vets to do this job. We also need to put in more serious consequences for soring, such as banning someone FOR LIFE from owning, training, and showing when they are found pressure shoeing (the best part of the HPA Operating Plan, but it was taken out--UGH!). STOP PUSSY-FOOTING AROUND, USDA! GROW SOME BALLS AND GET THIS DONE! We don't have to change the HPA to make these changes.

So, financially, that means that us exhibitors and owners that are sound need to pony up and play the game for awhile. We need to accept that money will be tight in the show world for a while, but it will get better over time. People complain about show prices in the gaited horse world, but have you ever seen show prices in high-end shows in the QH world or the Arabian horse world? They are nearly triple what we pay now at our high-end shows. So perhaps only the rich sound horse owners are going to be able to show for a while. FINE. If it ends this problem, then we should all see that it's worth it.

I was at a sound horse show several years ago where an exhibitor who was also part of the show management team got a ticket for not bringing her horse back to the DQP after winning 1st place in a class. She made a mistake, but the DQP wasn't yielding. I AGREED WITH THIS DECISION. OMG, you crazy woman, Andrea! Why would you do that? Because if we don't play the game, then we are just as bad as the bad guys. We MUST follow the rules to a "T" to show that we are serious about ending this problem. Luckily there are no hard feelings and the DQP and the exhibitor made up. Which is another good point: yes, everyone was mad, but they talked it over and made up anyway because they saw the importance of the situation.

My advice is to support the AAEP in pushing for implementation of the White Paper. We have to make a stand and let the bad guys know that enough is enough!

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