"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, September 9, 2009

Black Week News Compiled

All righty, I have all the info so I can post for everyone now.

First, Watch It Now won the WGC for 2009. He is owned by Waterfall Farms. Now, I had heard a lot about how WF was soring their horses from first-hand sources. However, as far as I can tell, due to the scandal concerning Monty Roberts, I have a strong suspicion they no longer sore their horses. So there is a possibility that Watch It Now was NOT sore. Let's hope this was the case.

Now to draw your attention here: TWHNC News and Articles. Mostly this information is about the winners at Black Week, but note the photos: lots of the seats in the stands are empty. HOORAY! I heard there's about half the attendance that there normally is at this show, and let's hope that trainers and BL supporters are getting the message.

The final results as to how many horses were disqualified will probably be available later. For now, here's information I got about the events of Black Week.


Missing links: only 12 of 33 stallions show in Saturday class
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
By Mary Reeves

As exciting as Saturday night's Celebration was for many -- it was a disappointment as well. Out of the 33 stallions scheduled to show in the split Aged Stallions 15.2 and over classes, only 12 made it to the ring. Those conspicuously missing were crowd favorites Weekend Warrior, Ironworks Tin Man, It's Billy the Kid and many others.

It's common for some of the horses who register for a class to not appear, said Mike Hilley, trainer for Rising Star Ranch.

"Could be their horse isn't performing as well as they think it should that morning," he said. "It could be sick."

And sometimes, the stallion is entered and shown, not with the sole purpose of winning the big prize, but to also showcase his abilities. In an interview last year with A Strong Dollar owner Curtice McCloy, she said she liked putting him in the World Grand Championship as a way of promoting his standing at stud. At other times, a trainer may have more than one entry, then choose the one with the best prospects to show.

Nine turned away

According to Penny Isaacs, penalities coordinator for SHOW, 21 of the 33 horses signed up for the classes were presented, meaning nine were turned away. The total number of tickets issued so far isn't known yet.

"We won't know the total until the Celebration ends," said David Sacks, spokesperson for the USDA. "We don't provide running totals while the event is still ongoing."

Hilley was working Ted Williams, a Rising Star stud and an entrant in the Aged Stallions Class, but he had no intention of pulling him from the competition.

He also had no choice.

"We were turned away," said Hilley. "They said it was the scar rule."

According to the Horse Protection Act, the scar rule states:

"(a) The anterior and anterior--lateral surfaces of the fore pasterns (extensor surface) must be free of bilateral granulomas, other bilateral pathological evidence of inflammation, and, other bilateral evidence of abuse indicative of soring including, but not limited to, excessive loss of hair.

(b) The posterior surfaces of the pasterns (flexor surface), including the sulcus or "pocket" may show bilateral areas of uniformly thickened epithelial tissue if such areas are free of proliferating granuloma tissue, irritation, moisture, edema, or other evidence of inflammation. "

In other words, scarring on the foot above the hoof indicates the horse has been sored.

Scar rule

The scar rule has come under fire from walking horse trainers who claim it is too subjective.

"We showed Ted three times this summer, he passed inspection all three times," said Hilley. "The USDA was at one of those shows and he passed there, too."

Hilley said before bringing the stallion to the Celebration, they had a veterinarian look over him and approve his condition, then at the vets at the show do it.

"The DQPs passed him, then the government went over him again and again and said it was a scar rule," he said.

Several other contenders who failed the Saturday night inspection have passed inspection at other shows, including USDA inspected shows, but the trainers were not willing to go on record.

"They go after you," said one.

Dr. Doyle Meadows, CEO of the organization and head of SHOW, said the inspections have been strict.

"Our people have written a lot of tickets," he said. " We're trying to enforce the laws and the rules. We knew how this was going to be, but we're really working hard to have a partnership and alliance with the government so we can work together.

"We've got to do that," Meadows continued. "We can't go on being so antagonistic. We all want to put a good, sound horse in the ring."


The Coach, owned by the Barnes-Holland- Kilgore partnership and shown by John Allan Callaway, won the Section A of the Aged Stallions class, with Watch it Now and Jimmy McConnell taking reserve. Third place went to Cadillac's Bum, ridden by Edgar Abernathy. The remaining horses were Armed and Dangerous Premier, ridden by Brock Tillman, fourth; Flash of Silver, with Stephen Daniel, fifth; Pusher's Astro with Joe Cotten, sixth; and High Dollar Silver with Billy Joe Hayes, seventh.

In the Section B Class, not only were 13 horses missing from the line-up, but for the first few minutes of the workout, so was the crowd's enthusiasm. Usually, as the horses circle the ring, waves of cheers follow them, especially crowd favorites. As the crowd realized that some of those favorites weren't going to show, it fell quiet.

But as the five horses began to walk on, the cheering resumed. Bill Bobo and Rowdy Rev took the win for the second year running, and David Landrum on The Golden Sovereign were reserve champs. Third place went to Puttin' Cash on the Line with Ray Gilmer up; fourth went to Missed the Boat with Jason Day; and seventh went to I'm Reagan with Barney Davis.

The horses who showed in the Aged Stallions class last Saturday night will meet again this Saturday night for the World Grand Championship.


Walking horse owner is suspended during Shelbyville's Celebration
N.C. exhibitor denies any illegal contact with steward
By Larry Taft • THE TENNESSEAN • September 2, 2009

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry's regulatory board has suspended a North Carolina owner-exhibitor at this year's Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration over claims of making illegal contact with an industry steward.

Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows, who has oversight of the federally sanctioned industry agency that enforces regulations on the humane treatment of horses and all other show-related matters, issued a written statement late Tuesday citing a possible violation by Clay Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C.

Details were not given in the statement, which said Mills is suspended immediately and indefinitely. Industry regulations prohibit influencing or attempting to influence stewards, who are charged with determining the soundness of a horse before it enters a show.

Meadows' two-paragraph statement said the agency would seek a five-year suspension and a $25,000 fine against Mills.

Contacted Tuesday night, Mills vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

"I am the accused and the accusations are false," Mills, 36, said. "I have not attempted to bribe or influence (an industry steward).

"I have been given no due process, and my attorneys say that my civil rights have been violated in every way by them making this type of suspension without due process in the middle of a show.

"I have agreed to testify in a court of law that the accusations are false."

The 71st annual Celebration is in the midst of an 11-day run in Shelbyville, Tenn. It is the breed's premier show, with world champions being crowned in all age groups. The World Grand Championship — the crown jewel — is to be awarded on Saturday night.

Meadows' statement said that the findings from a preliminary investigation found that the allegation "was found to have merit" and because of the "gravity of the circumstances," it was appropriate to suspend Mills.

An appeals process is in place; however, no appeal can be heard before the end of the show.

The Tennessean recently did an in-depth report on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and found that more than three times as many violations of the laws governing humane treatment of horses were cited between April and August of 2009 than in 2008.

The industry regulatory board that is now in place took over inspections of the horses in April. Meadows, trainers, owners and show officials say that the new regulatory organization is conducting the inspection process in accordance with federal guidelines, resulting in the increased citations.


Trojan Mouse said...

Good! I hope they keep busting these assholes! Thank you for posting the updates!

Khazar-khum said...

What really is disturbing is how many flat shod horses were turned down.

One horse in LS Western WC. One horse. There were many more in earlier classes. Only one made it through. Not good.

As for attendance...the first week it's usually just some of the out-of-towners in the stands. By the middle of week 2, it starts to fill, and by Thursday night the joint is jumping. This year was no different. And it sounds like the weather, for once, wasn't ghastly.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point, Khazar-khum, that the flat shod horses are just as sore. In fact, we could say they are more sore because instead of just getting a little juice before they go in the ring, they are pressure shod or road foundered to where they are in constant pain. Not like standing on high-heeled shoes 24/7 isn't painful, but you get what I mean.

I heard that about a quarter of the arena was empty during the WGC class, when usually it's mostly full. Well, let's just hope this year has been a milestone for the TWHs and the message that we won't tolerate sore horses is getting through!

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