"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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ARTICLE - WHTA Invites Other HIOs to Its Jan 2011 Board Meeting

This is from The Walking Horse Report (my comments below). Unfortunately I don't have a date for it...if anyone does then just let me know. Thanks!

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) hosted several of the industry’s associations at its January 2011 board meeting held January 24, 2011 in Shelbyville, Tenn. President Bill Cantrell initiated the meeting to allow the associations to address the WHTA Board of Directors and update them on their progress and goals. Cantrell hopes to have future meetings with additional industry groups included.

“The WHTA felt that it was time that we open our doors and initiate the first step in allowing all organizations to come together and educate us as to their current condition as well as their future plans. I hope the meeting is a first step in allowing better communication and can ultimately lead to more unity across our great industry,” said Cantrell.

Invited to attend the meeting were the Walking Horse Trainers Auxiliary, Celebration, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association, Walking Horse Owners’ Association, PRIDE HIO, Kentucky Walking Horse Association, SHOW HIO, Heart of America HIO and the Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association.

“We can’t predict the future of our great breed and we can’t unite everyone alone, however the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association knows that to reach our full potential we all will need to come together and unite toward a common goal. Each organization has different goals and missions, but the Tennessee Walking Horse is what connects us all and its protection and promotion are at the heart of us all,” concluded Cantrell.


This really cracks me up. They talk about "opening the doors" with other organizations, yet not one of the three sound HIOs were invited. And they can't use the excuse that they don't inspect padded horses, because the HPC does. What they SHOULD be doing at this meeting is asking the other HIOs how they have ended soring.

I don't belive you, Mr. Cantrell, that the "protection" of the TWH is at the heart of this. The protection of the INDUSTRY is what you care about. If you truly cared to protect the TWH then soring would no longer be happening. "Unity across our great industry?" If you aren't including the sound HIOs then there is no desire for unity. But then again, I think we're talking about two different industries here: the sore industry versus the sound industry. "Unite toward a common goal." Exactly what common goal is that? I'd love to know, as I'm sure the readers would as well.

I also see that the HIOs that were invited are all the ones who refused to implement the new penalties into their rulebooks. No surprise there, right?

These sorry excuses for trying to make changes are getting tiresome. What I see are attempts to work on keeping the industry as is and doing their best to continue to break the law and foil the USDA. Come on, USDA--stop this madness! Get in there and end this!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NEWS - SHOW Receives Warning Letter from USDA

SHOW has received a warning from the USDA in the form of a letter. They are being required to include the new mandatory regulations in their rulebook or face decertification. They must comply with 30 days of the date of the letter. Below is the article text from SHOW's website under the News section. It is also available on Walking Horse Report. I've looked for the USDA letter on the APHIS HPA website, but they don't seem to have posted it yet. My comments after the article.


SHOW Receives USDA Letter

News Release dated Jan 21, 2011

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The SHOW HIO has received a letter from Dr. Chester Gipson, Deputy Administrator with USDA-APHIS outlining a request for SHOW to adopt the mandatory penalties within 30 days or face decertification of its DQP program. The letter specifically states, "if after 30 days the required changes are not made, SHOW's DQP program certification will be revoked."

SHOW has turned the letter from Gipson over to its attorneys and a response will be forthcoming in the near future. In the meantime, SHOW will continue affiliating horse shows, sales and events and will continue with the upcoming judges' school and farrier's clinic.

We realize that there continues to be confusion and concern about any possible decertification and the resulting impact to the show season. Under the Horse Protection Regulations it specifically states "Any horse industry organization or association whose DQP program certification has been revoked may appeal such revocation to the Administrator in writing within 30 days after the date of such revocation and, if requested, shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing."

As with any US agency and legal process, once the lawyers get involved, the due process system and associated appeals may take some time before any final determination. Until that time the horse industry should proceed as normal and continue to affiliate shows, bring up compliant horses, and have fun exhibiting this great animal. We will of course keep you apprised as this process unfolds.


As you can see, SHOW, of course, instead of doing the right thing, has turned this letter in to their attorneys. I'm sure we can assume they are looking for any loopholes and SHOW wants to prolong any decisions by the USDA. SHOW's attorneys sure are making money off of them--I hope they bankrupt SHOW because of it!

I don't know if any of the other HIOs who have refused to include the penalties in their rulebooks have received letters that are similar. But at least the big guns have.

As far as I understand, SHOW can appeal the decision. But I think that if the certification is revoked, then they can't run any shows, have a rulebook, judges, DQPs, or anything like that. If the appeal is approved, then they would be back in business again.

I also have some major inside news. I knew about this before the end of December, but I didn't want to say anything until I knew if it was true or not. After the USDA sent out the new rulebook requirements, SHOW officials tried to go to Washington to meet with the USDA in a "private" meeting to discuss the situation and most likely negotiate their way out of it. I was told that the USDA told them to go back home--we are not negotiating. This is a big deal, folks--in the past, the USDA has folded, the most prominent example being allowing the industry to self-regulate. Plus it would never have been fair to the other 11 HIOs (sore supporters or not) that SHOW got a secret meeting and they weren't invited.

Overall, I do appreciate that USDA is giving them another warning and refused the meeting--at least SHOW can't say they weren't fairly told of the necessary actions and consequences. Let's hope the USDA is serious and SHOW actually is shut down. Write your letters and let the USDA know we support SHOW's certification being revoked if they won't comply!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NEWS - Sound Horses Prevail With the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

Back in 2009, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ruled that it will no longer allow breeders' incentive funds to go to horses shown under sore HIOs. The only approved HIOs that a person can show with to receive incentive funds are NWHA, FOSH and the HPC. Click here for my previous post concerning the ruling.

For those of us who don't know what the incentive fund is, it's tax money that is given by the State of Kentucky to breeders to encourage them to keep the horse economy going. The money is allocated by the HRC. Breeding farms can receive a certain amount of dollars per horse each time they show them. This fund is available for all breeds, not just racehorses or TWHs.

I've received information that under the new ruling, approximately 5000 gaited horses were shown sound and their owners will be rewarded by receiving fund money. I don't have the exact figures, but approximately 1000 horses were shown with NWHA, 1500 were with the HPC, and 1700 were with FOSH (although these were mostly the mountain gaited breeds). Each horse passed inspections.

Then there's this little fact: only 47 of these horses were padded horses. (The HPC is the only HIO of the three that inspects padded horses.) This really makes me realize that the padded horse community truly wants to keep their sore horses in the ring. Perhaps money isn't enough incentive to keep them from soring their horses, so we have to ask ourselves: what is? I don't know the answer to that.

Congratulations to all of the sound horse trainers, owners and exhibitors who will receive incentive money. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed! And thank you again to the HRC for supporting the sound horse!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RESEARCH - Anything Equine Blog by Rose Miller

I wanted to let everyone know about this great blog by my friend Rose Miller. Rose is a highly experienced TWH trainer and exhibitor. She has written two books, The Horse that Wouldn't Trot and Mules, Mules and More Mules, stories about her experiences with TWHs and with gaited mules.

Rose has this great blog she's been working on that has wonderful information from her experience as a sound TWH trainer called Anything Equine. I highly recommend reading this blog to learn more about TWHs and asking questions about the sound TWH, both as a pleasure horse and as a Performance horse. Also check out Rose's website to learn more about her and her books, www.rosemiller.net.

I hope everyone enjoys Rose's blog and books!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NEWS - USDA Suspends Russ Thompson and Jason Scott Hughes

Remember in 2006 how the Celebration show management canceled the WGC class? After the class, Russ Thompson of Russ Thompson Stables in California had everyone rush over to the Champions Arena and put on his own impromptu show with his horse and another horse. These actions of course caused problems, and Thompson and cohorts were ticketed for these actions.

The USDA has determined that both Thompson and Jason Scott Hughes are to be suspended for four months each and are not allowed to show any of their horses, either themselves or through another party, during this time.

Click here for the HPA Docket No. 08-0026 explaining the findings and conclusion by the USDA.

While suspension is great, honestly, this is not enough. It is yet another example of how we need to get better penalties for these problems. While this particular action wasn't as severe as soring a horse, Thompson has still contributed to the mockery that is the Walking Horse industry. When classes are canceled in other venues because of horse problems or various other issues that are outside of lack of entries, people don't just go running off and hold an impromptu class. I equate the actions to an audience riot at a soccer game in another country. The Walking Horse industry continues to dumb our breed down in the eyes of the rest of the equine world. I'm glad these men were punished for their actions, but I imagine I can't hope that they will change their ways.

Monday, January 10, 2011

NEWS - SHOW Suspends Peebles' Judge License

THANK YOU SHOW. I am so glad to hear this, and that it was the panel's unanimous decision.

From their website (click here for the webpage):

SHOW Suspends Peebles Judges´ License
News Release dated Jan 06, 2011

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The SHOW HIO has suspended the judging license of Dick Peebles pending the final outcome of the criminal proceeding against Peebles. At conclusion of that proceeding a final decision with regard to the status of his license will be made by the SHOW Judging Panel.

SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins issued the suspension on January 6, 2011 at the unanimous request of the SHOW judging panel.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NEWS - WHTA Director Arrested on Sex Charges

As if violating the HPA isn't bad enough...

J.W. "Dick" Peebles was arrested on Monday and charged with sexual abuse of minors. Click here for the full article. I copied and pasted the article in full below.

Peebles was elected to be on the slate of directors for WHTA in 2010, and he is currently on suspension until 2012 for a violation with WHTA. I talked about this in this post. Peebles was also elected Trainer of the Year at the Celebration in 2006 and is in the Celebration Hall of Fame.

Of course, in our court system, people are innocent until proven guilty. But the kind of sexual acts he's being accused of are sick, and I doubt very seriously that he'll be proven innocent. So, I'm going to voice my opinion here about what I believe has happened.

I think this is an absolute classic example of how animal abuse leads to people abuse. People who have no respect for one type of life usually don't have respect for other types. A man who kicks his dog is just as likely to kick his kid. We can look at various serial murderers and see that they "started" on animals (Jeffrey Dahmer being the most prominent). And while Peebles isn't a murderer, he most likely abused animals since he violated the HPA, so the abuse got extended to teenagers. This is yet another reason why violations to the HPA need to be taken seriously.

WHTA, TWHBEA, and others who support Peebles: I hope you take a long, hard look at what he's done here and how this will affect your industry. Start rethinking who you choose for your representatives, and start keeping abusers out of your positions of power.


Trainer faces sex charges

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

By BRIAN MOSELY ~ bmosely@t-g.com

Shelbyville Times-Gazette

A member of the Celebration Hall of Fame was arrested and accused of sexual offenses involving teenage girls.

J.W. "Dick" Peebles, 61, of Holt Avenue, Shelbyville, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of sexual battery, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means and solicitation of a minor.

He was released on a blanket bond of $5,000 and is due in Bedford County General Sessions Court on Jan. 26.

Very few details about the case could be disclosed to the T-G, Capt. Becky Hord of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department said, to protect the three female victims.

A complaint had been filed by one of the parents, Hord said, and the charges involved separate incidents that allegedly occurred at Peebles' farm. Peebles is a horse trainer.

Hord stated that one of the alleged incidents happened during the spring of 2010, in which the victim was "offended by it and refused to go back."

However, other incidents allegedly occurred in December, with Hord stating that one of the victims informed a parent, who then alerted authorities.

It was later learned that "the same kind of behavior was happening with all three girls, just at different times," Hord said.

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