"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

Friday, December 10, 2010

ARTICLES and NEWS - SHOW Refuses To Implement USDA Penalties and SHOW Show Managers Meeting

I knew I had this information somewhere, but I couldn't find it until now. Sorry for not posting this sooner.

The first article talks about SHOW's refusal to implement the USDA's new penalty structure. The following article concerns the SHOW management meeting and what they're doing to make changes to their shows. I'm not sure, but I think both the articles are from The Walking Horse Report. I could be wrong though--if you know if my source is incorrect please let me know. My comments are after each article.


SHOW Submits Rulebook To USDA
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Pursuant to a request from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services’ (APHIS) Deputy Administrator Dr. Chester A. Gipson, SHOW has submitted its rulebook for approval by the USDA. Dr. Gipson made the request to all HIOs in letters dated August 12, 2010 and October 15, 2010 to submit their rule books and that approval or denial would be given by January 1, 2011. Dr. Gipson required that all rulebooks contain the mandatory penalties set forth by the USDA.

Earlier today, November 30, 2010, SHOW submitted its rulebook along with the DQP inspection process, hearing process and penalty matrix. SHOW did not adopt the USDA mandatory penalties but made known in its letter accompanying the rulebook that it felt its entire process, including its current penalties, are appropriate and “effectuates the purposes of the HPA.”
SHOW stated that it believed there were numerous legal and practical problems with the USDA requiring private organizations or associations to adopt “mandatory penalties” and hearing processes. SHOW also pointed out that under the HPA or Regulations the Secretary does not have the right or ability to delegate enforcement of the HPA penalties to an HIO or its DQPs. And in fact it specifically states in the law in Section 6 that “No penalty shall be assessed unless such person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing before the Secretary with respect to such violation.”

SHOW also referenced all of the changes it has incorporated in its 18 months of existence and believes those changes meet or exceed all of the identified issues in the recent Office of Inspector General Audit. Finally SHOW respectfully requested the USDA reconsider its “mandatory penalties” or face decertification and litigate strategy and allow SHOW with its fully compliant, entire process, to continue its strategy to “find and eliminate the sore horse” and to continue to “effectuate the purposes of the HPA” with its current process, including its HIO penalties, which have proven to be more than appropriate.


FTTWH in: The letter from Dr. Mullins is extremely long and drawn out. I will go over it point by point in a future post. However, after reading it a few times, I guess this is how I see it. If SHOW were so determined to eliminate the sore horse, they are perfectly capable of doing it. They can choose to get rid of pads, chains, bands, stacks, and heavy shoes However, their rulebook has ADDED heavy Tungsten shoes to their allowed items in the show ring, AND they've added bands and chains to Trail Pleasure horses.* These are proven tools that help with the process of soring, so why not eliminate them? FOSH and NWHA have, and they have 100% sound shows on a regular basis.

*I still don't understand the need to add bands and chains to a TP horse. Tell me, gentle reader, whenever you ride a horse on the trail, do you use chains to make it step higher or bands to keep the shoe on? I thought the TP division was to judge TRAIL horses, not just another division of the show horse.

And again, if SHOW were so determined to end soring, they WOULD implement the USDA's new penalty structure without calling their lawyers and rushing back to the HPA and picking it apart to find flaws in what the USDA has determined. They would agree and move on. They would want to work with the USDA rather than continue to deny and fight against them.


SHOW Horse Show Managers Meeting
Friday, December 03, 2010

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The SHOW horse show managers meeting was held this morning in the Williamson room at the Cool Springs Marriott with SHOW Secretary Rachel Reed in charge. Dee Cantrell, Dr. Steve Mullins and Jeffrey Howard also made presentations throughout discussions. Representatives from notable shows such as the Gallatin Lions Club, West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, International Grand Championships, Petersburg Lions Club, Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity and several others were in attendance. The majority of show managers face the same issues in today's economic times: class schedule issues, date concerns and lack of participation. All have the same goal; save the horse shows, charities and organizations that benefit from the work they do.

Reed welcomed everyone and passed the torch to Cantrell. Cantrell presented the idea of paying back a percentage of winnings to ribbon getters rather than a set amount. "This is just another option for us to grasp at more funding. During the 2010 show season, 10 shows in Alabama and 5 shows in Georgia were cancelled," stated Cantrell. The way the process would be handled is to simply attach vouchers rather than checks to the ribbons. The voucher could be cashed in at the entry office for cash or one lump sum check at the end of the show. Cantrell assisted several shows in Georgia and Alabama with this process and were successful each time in increasing profit. Also, for Riders' Cup classes add an additional $10 to the entry, but pay out the same percentage as other classes.

Pat Stout of the Upper Cumberland Region said, "This process really does work. We started this at our PWHAT shows two years ago." The general consensus of the room seemed to be positive of the "new way" and were intrigued to run their numbers from horse shows past.

Reed then took over the duties of the meeting by stating that DQP fees and the SHOW affiliation process would stay the same as last year. Also staying the same as during 2010, the USDA will require that shows with typical 150 plus entries will be required to have two DQPs.

Reed went over small changes made to the SHOW horse card. People applying for a card at the horse show will now not be able to mark " bill me" on the form rather than paying at the show. Also, if you fill out a form at the show you must add the date and name of the show. Forms to apply for a SHOW Horse Card are available on SHOW's website at www.showhio.com. Reed also reiterated to the show managers that it is a USDA requirement to have complete addresses for owners, trainers and riders listed on entry forms.

The topic then changed to USDA in terms of funding and how they affect horse shows. Tommy Hall stated, "The USDA has been allotted $400,000. It is my understanding those funds will be used toward unaffiliated horse shows." "The DQPs protect show management", commented Reed.

The discussion then arose to create a show managers counsel compiled of all show managers and organizations to meet on a regular basis to discuss the pros and cons of the shows and the necessary changes that could help other shows. This could also prove to be beneficial to managers that are not involved with the industry througout the year.

Jeffrey Howard then gave an update on the Riders' Cup program. In 2010, there were 92 shows offering Riders' Cup classes with 85 trainers participating aboard 3,657 entries. "Tomorrow night there will be approximately $55,000 handed out," stated Howard. This is still less than the first five years of the program. Howard reminded managers show affiliations do not affect whether or not a show can offer Riders' Cup classes. Howard also noted, "Trainers will support Riders' Cup classes. Joe Cotten is a good example. He put a lot of miles out there this fall and ended up fifth in points."

The meeting was then adjourned.


FTTWH: Paybacks are a great incentive for people to show. I see them out here all the time and they work really well. Pretty smart for them to implement it to get their numbers up. Even just getting back your entry fee is enough incentive for people to show in this economy nowadays.

As to the comment about the USDA and DQPs: as far as I understand, the DQPs are NOT there to protect show management--they're there to protect the horse and uphold the HPA. If a DQP is protecting the show management then we can certainly assume he/she is allowing sore horses through so the show can go on. I'm sure no DQP who would be protecting show management would want to make the show look bad by ticketing a horse. WOW.

More news will be posted as it develops. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ARTICLE - TWH Organization Resists USDA Mandate

This article was posted on The Horse.com, which if you haven't perused, has great information on health issues, current events, and lots of general information that anyone can find useful. I'm glad they've picked up this story so it will get out to more readers.

The following is the text from the article. Click here for the article online. My thoughts below.


Tennessee Walking Horse Organization Resists USDA Mandate

by: Pat Raia
December 02 2010, Article # 17327

PRIDE, a Kentucky-based Tennessee Walking Horse Industry Organization (HIO), has declined to include new USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Horse Protection Act (HPA) enforcement regulations in its 2011 horse show rule book on the grounds that the mandate infringes on private entities' legal rights.

The HPA forbids soring, the deliberate injury to a horse's legs to achieve an exaggerated "big lick" gait. APHIS is tasked with enforcing the law. The act also authorizes the agency to certify licensed HIOs that meet HPA enforcement criteria.

The 2011 protocol sets minimum uniform penalties for scar rule, soring, use of foreign substances on horses, and failure to pass equipment and shoeing inspections. Earlier this year, APHIS informed HIO managers in writing that they must include a mandatory minimum penalty protocol in their 2011 horse show rule books, and they must submit their 2011 rule books for the agency's review by Dec. 1.

Last month, PRIDE informed the agency in writing that it is refusing to comply with the penalty protocol mandate.

"It's not that we're being defiant or that we don't want what's best for the horses," said Sam Hamilton, the director of PRIDE, "It's that an HIO is private entity, and I don't believe the USDA has the legal authority to mandate penalties to a private entity."

APHIS spokesman David Sacks confirmed that the agency received PRIDE's letter and that the agency would penalize HIOs that fail to adopt the mandatory protocol.

"HIO rule books are being reviewed currently," Sacks said. "It was explained to the HIOs that if the penalties do not meet USDA standards, they will be in violation of the HPA and its regulations, and they will face decertification."

The agency will follow up with each HIO by Jan. 1, 2011, Sacks said.


Okay, seriously Sam? I mean do you REALLY believe that "the USDA doesn't have legal authority to mandate penalties"? They govern the HPA--it's their JOB to enforce the HPA by any means necessary. You are really a moron if you think that. And frankly, they NEED to be doing their job now because you HIOs can't seem to do it.

So I guess we'll find out what happens on or before January 1. Until then...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NEWS - TWHBEA and WHTA Appoint HPA Violators to Their Boards...AGAIN

Will wonders never cease?

I've included the date of the person's violation(s) per the HPA online database. If it doesn't have a specification, then it's usually just a two week suspension. You can go on the database to learn more if you need to.

Here are my favorite bits of this merry Who's Who of Those Who Sore Horses.

First: every single person elected in WHTA has at least one violation, and most of them have multiple violations.

Second: Check out Dick Peebles, one of the board members of WHTA. He's got a CURRENT SUSPENSION FOR FIVE YEARS WITH WHTA! Amazing!

Third: And if that won't convince you that WHTA encourages soring horses, we can also see that Winky Groover was pushed out of the WHTA board. I bet you dollars to donuts it's because of his speech at the SHC. To me, this means WHTA is not serious about change if they are voting out the guy who is ready to make a change.

Fourth: In TWHBEA, Linda Montgomery was appointed Equine Welfare VP, and of course, she has a violation. An eight month violation, no less.

Fifth: The elected International VP in TWHBEA, Stephen Brown, also has violations. You know, the Europeans are on to the TWH industry, you idiots. If you had picked someone who doesn't have any violations you might have a better chance overseas.

Both articles are from The Walking Horse Report.


Cantrell Elected President of WHTA
Friday, December 03, 2010

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Walking Horse Trainers' Association held its general membership meeting today in Franklin, Tenn. at the Marriott Cool Springs. The major orders of business included a presentation from Frank Eichler, attorney for SHOW HIO, regarding SHOW's responses to the OIG Audit, Mandatory Penalties and HSUS Petition.

As happens each year, the December meeting is when the elections are held for the upcoming year. Bill Cantrell [2007 for Bill & Peggy, 2003] was elected President over incumbent Winky Groover [at least he admitted to his violations] and Wayne Dean [2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001]. The following members were elected to serve three-year terms on the board of directors, Billy Gray [6 mos in 1988, 6 mos in 1993, 5 years starting 1994, 2002, 2005, twice in 2006 + 3 years starting in 2006, 2007], Larry Wheelon [2 years starting 1991, 1 year starting 1999, 3 times in 2001, 9 months in 2002, 9 months in 2003, 3 times in 2005 plus 6 months in 2005], Link Webb [7 months in 2002 - caught by the USDA, twice in 2005] and Brock Tillman [2004, 2005, current suspension 9/2009 - 9/2099]. Wayne Dean will serve out the two years remaining on Cantrell's term on the board.

Chad Williams [2002, 2004, twice in 2006], 1st Vice-President, and David Landrum [2 years in 1997, 1998, 2002, current suspension 6/2010 - 1/2099], 2nd Vice-President ran unopposed and were thus elected to serve just as they did in these roles in 2010.

Other members on the slate of directors included Jeff Green [8 months in 1998, 2002, 2003, twice in 2007, 2010], Dick Peebles [8 months in 1991, 2007, current suspension with WHTA 8/2007 - 8/2012], Frankie Roark [1 month in 2008], Brandon Stout [2004, 2005, 2 months in 2006, 2007, 2010], Laurie Toone [under family name Toone ticketed twice in 1998 for a one year suspension each], Vickie Self [8 months in 2004], Dude Crowder [3 years in 1991, twice in 2003, 8 months in 2006], Brad Beard [2007, 2009], Brad Davis [twice in 2005, 2008] and Joe Fleming [5 years in 1992, 2006].

A complete story on the meeting will be posted and in the print edition of the Walking Horse Report.


TWHBEA Elects 2011 Executive Committee; Irby Elected President

Saturday, December 04, 2010

By Jeffrey Howard

LEWISBURG, Tenn. - The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) held its annual International Board of Directors meeting on December 4, 2010. Each year during the December meeting TWHBEA elects its upcoming year's executive committee.

The nominating committee, chaired by Brenda Carlon presented the following slate to the international board:

President: Kasey Kesselring [under family name Kesselring ticketed twice in 1998 for a one year suspension each]

Senior Vice President: Margo Urad [2007 with Stan Urad]

Administrative/Fiscal/Audit: Rob Cornelius [under family name Cornelius ticketed twice in 1998 for a one year suspension each]

Breeders Vice President: Kathy Zeis [2005]

Enforcement Vice President: Marty Irby [8 months in 2001]

Equine Welfare Vice President: Dr. Jim Baum [2005]

Horse Show Vice President: Tracy Boyd

Marketing Vice President: Joyce Moyer

Owners/Exhibitors/International VP: Stephen Brown [2005, 2008]

Performance Show Horse Vice President: Tom Kakassy [twice in 2009]

Pleasure Horse Vice President: Rick Wies

Training Division Vice President: Wayne Dean [2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007]

Member at Large/By Laws Vice President: Lloyd Hall Black, Jr.

Member at Large/Youth: Deborah Locke

Secretary: Sharon Brandon

Marty Irby declined the nomination for Vice President Enforcement thus leaving the spot open until nominations from the floor were received. Mike Hicks was nominated for the position and ran unopposed.

Nominations from the floor came in three positions, President, Equine Welfare and At-Large Youth. Irby was nominated for President, Dr. Linda Montgomery [8 months in 2001] for Equine Welfare and Leslie Topham and Lisa Bowman Anderson for Youth.

Each candidate in the contested races was afforded three minutes to address the directors. All other positions were accepted by acclamation. In a tight race Irby beat Kesselring 34 to 30. Dr. Linda Montgomery beat Dr. Jim Baum 53 to 11 and Bowman Anderson beat Topham 36 to 26 with Locke receiving 2 votes.

The 2011 Executive Committee immediately took office and will conduct the 2011 TWHBEA business.

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