I hate that I am so skeptical. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. But I guess when you've been burned so many times, it's hard to take things seriously.
The reason why I'm skeptical is because in the past, HIOs have handed out tickets and suspensions to people who are paid to take them. It is arranged so their horses can be still be shown under someone else's name, and they can still train at home at their barns. Because the HPA still allows them to be on the show grounds, well, what's the difference if they ride someone's horse a little bit, "just to see how he goes," or give a few pointers while in the warm-up ring? Or sometimes someone would receive a violation, but it was actually a young kid's name, or even the trainer's dog's name. When you try to trace back who owned the horse the violation was found on, the information just magically disappears. This is a well-oiled machine that has figured out the loopholes for years, although a lifetime ban has not been given, well, maybe ever.
I do like whta Tommy Williams says below, however. I like how he says to start questioning the trainers and owners, and to start saying "no more" to them. Whether he is serious or not, and I don't know which, the words do ring true no matter what.
Once I find out the names (if they're released), I will post them here. I'm sure they will be posted on the USDA website and on the HPA Suspension List on FOSH's website.
So I just hope to God this is real and isn't a setup. I hope they aren't just doing this to try to slake the USDA, to try to get them off their backs. I pray every night that the horses really are winning, and that the suffering will end soon.
Tommy Williams - WalkingHorseChat Administrator
Posted - July 08 2009 : 09:05:37 AM
THE REALITY OF SHOW AND ENFORCEMENT
This past week we have seen the two strongest and most severe punishments handed out by any HIO that I can remember in my lifetime. I can’t recall the USDA having ever rendered a decision to give anyone a lifetime band on an HPA violation. The most I can recall is 15 years. For so long many of us have asked and begged on occasion that our business had enough rules and very little enforcement or selective enforcement at best. That day appears to be over. The reality of SHOW and its enforcement is that somewhere along the way one of our friends, or even our trainer could get one of these heavy suspensions. What do we do as fans, owners and trainers to keep our friends from be removed from the TWH scene for life?
When SHOW first started, I wasn’t the only one who was skeptical. There were so many emails rolling around, and I read a few of them on the concepts of what this was all about…who was trying to form it…what the intent of this new HIO seemed to portray. On paper it was what many of us felt was the answer to many of the inspection problems…and HIO with a totally independent board and vets involved in the inspection process. When the pre-inspection deal came along there were 2 sides to that argument. One, it would educate owners…2 it would create a pissing match between trainers and DQPs, and DQPs with the USDA. The latter proved to be true. But along the way we soon discovered that this very “pre-inspection” needed to be THE inspection. Soon 2 of the vets involved were hired to head up the compliance division and were given full rein to hire and fire DQPs, and completely overhaul the inspection process. Dr. Steve Mullins and Dr. John Bennett have done so, backed by Dr. Doyle Meadows, whose enforcement element has rendered these heavy suspensions.
Back when Frank Eichler and a select few of industry folks met to come up with something that would work, Frank issued an email/statement afterward that was posted here on this site that said a lot of things. One thing he said stands out in my mind today more than all that he said. He challenged us all to say something to any person trainer or owner that is doing something wrong or illegal to a horse. Be brave enough to say… ”Please don’t do that.” Folks, the reality of that challenge is here, and we really don’t have to be brave anymore in saying so. We don’t have to dread the repercussions of saying so. If we warn our friends of the repercussions of their actions, we are doing them a great favor, and this morning they realize that we are and we are concerned for the horse and their livelyhood.
Folks it's inevitable. With our rules being enforced, it’s a matter of time before one of our friends, a close friend gets a severe punishment if they haven’t already. When we question the crime weighed with the punishment, we may need to look around at other breeds and see what they do. On these appeals can you imagine being the person who nerve corded a horse and then having to walk in the hearing room with Dr. Jim Heird and SHOW’s Independent Board, with Bennett and Mullins and try to explain what happened. Dr. Heird’s board will be a board of the most qualified vets in America or horse people. Can you imagine what they will say to a person who put a nerve cord on a horse? I don’t even want to be within a block of that hearing.
Folks, SHOW has now made it very very easy for us to look our trainers and friends in the face and say. “ please…no more”. If you are like me you are very fond of every trainer and owner in this horses business. I don’t want to see any person put on any long term suspension, and I know those vets and the HIOs don’t look forward to any of that…but it has to be done. These last suspensions have sent shock waves through our business and this morning each of us can support this level of enforcement by looking our trainer and owner friends in the eye and comfortable say…” please…for us all…no more”.
"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
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