"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

Monday, March 28, 2011

NEWS - WHOA Appoints New Board Members, Introduction of the UHDP to Encourage Breaking the Law, and TWHBEA OEI VP Letter

First, I have an important opinion piece included in this post below related to this subject. I want to point it out now to make sure that everyone takes the time to read it. I believe it really explains exactly what we all need to be aware of with how this industry is continuing to corrupt itself from the inside out.

Second, I decided to talk about both of these events in the same post because they're somewhat related. WHOA has appointed new board members. Below is the article about it from the Walking Horse Report.


WHOA Appoints Board Members

Thursday, March 24, 2011

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Walking Horse Owners' Association Board of Directors met on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum. The WHOA Nominating Committee recommended six candidates to fill seats on the WHOA Board Of Directors. The following new members were appointed unanimously:

Dr. Jana Anderson, Shelbyville, TN
Tam Brogdon, Panama City, FL
Stephen Brown, Vancouver, WA
Dee Dee Sale, Lewisburg, TN
Beth Sims, Shelbyville, TN,
David Williams, Shelbyville, TN

Martha Child, Nashville, TN was also appointed Secretary at this meeting.

For more information on WHOA go to www.walkinghorseowners.com


I am glad to say that NONE of the above appointed individuals have violations listed on the HPA database website.

Next is the announcement of the horse show development group known as the Unified Horse Show Development Program (UHDP). Below is the article from the Walking Horse Report. I included any violations listed on the HPA database in brackets.


Unified Horse Show Development Program Launched
Thursday, March 24, 2011

A group of concerned owners has formed the Unified Horse Show Development Program (UHDP) which will seek to assist new horse show development as well as help existing shows that need financial aid. The group will also seek to revitalize previous Walking Horse venues and help with walking horse events across the nation.

The UHDP will focus its aid to horse shows outside of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky and horse events and shows will have to apply to the UHDP for financial aid. A group of owners have initiated a challenge fund whereby they will match up to $25,000 of monies raised by UHDP. All monies will be donated to FAST, a 501 (c)3 organization, making the contributions tax deductible.

Deborah Williams [possibly 2 violations as Mark and Debbie, 2002 through 2003], Dee Cantrell [2006], Kathy Zeis [2005], Marty Irby [2002], Margo Urad [2003], Tracy Boyd and Mike Inman [2001 & 2002] are the members of the UHDP. The UHDP will not be associated with any specific HIO and will encourage horse show development with any HIO that has not accepted the mandatory penalties from the USDA.

The program will also include a mentoring program, chaired by Vickie Penick [3 different variations of Vickie Penick listed; for "Vickie Penick" 2007]. The program will offer mentoring services to groups that need help with organizing their shows and putting together events.

The challenge fund will begin immediately and run through June 15, 2011. At that time the matching funds up to $25,000 will be donated to the fund and the horse show development aid will begin. A list of criteria will be available soon for horse show management to download and apply to the UHDP.

Applications for aid will be reviewed by a committee consisting of Diana McMurtry [1 year suspension 1991-1992], Inman, Williams and Cantrell and funds will be allocated by this group based upon horse shows and events abilities to meet the criteria and geographic location.

The following members of the mentoring program are available to assist anyone needing help with their horse show. If you would like to become a mentor, please email info@FASTWalkingShowHorse.org or contact Vickie Penick directly.


Tracy Boyd-Tennessee - tboyd319@yahoo.com
Stephen Brown-Oregon - brostephen@gmail.com
Dee Cantrell-Alabama - birddogs@bellsouth.net
Jo Anne Dempsey-Mississippi - jadempsey@ms.metrocast.net [2006 through 2007]
Sandy Harris-Tennessee - sandyharris55@gmail.com
Beverly Kirk-Georgia - bxamerica@aol.com [2003 with Jack Kirk]
Diana McMurtry-Florida - dmcmurt349@aol.com
Joyce Moyer-Ohio - joycemoyer@thewayz.com
Vickie Penick-South Carolina (Chairperson) - vspenick@lowcountry.com
Margo Urad-Texas - murad@kandins.com
Bruce Vaughn-Ohio - blvaughn@zoominternet.net
Kathy Zeis-Georgia - redladytwh@mindspring.com
Karen Inman - kandminman@gmail.com

More information on how to receive the applications and the list of criteria will be available soon.


See anything familiar? Bruce Vaughn, Kathy Zeis, and Deborah Williams are all board members who walked out on WHOA when WHOA accepted the mandatory penalties from the USDA! So they are going to help start a new group in the playground so they can keep things status quo for the industry.

Let's also note this direct quote:

"The UHDP will not be associated with any specific HIO and will encourage horse show development with any HIO that has not accepted the mandatory penalties from the USDA."

Yes, let's PLEASE get a group together who will encourage breaking the law! Let's encourage those groups who continue to want to violate the HPA to keep those sore horses in the ring, by God--let's keep the tradition of the sore horse alive!

It's amazing to me, this blatant disregard for the law AND they are publicly announcing it! It's like calling up your local newspaper and saying that you are going to start a KKK chapter in your local city so you can keep the spirit of slavery and racism alive. I am absolutely aghast at the flat out balls this group has. USDA, WHERE ARE YOU? Oh wait, you're back in Washington, NOT doing your job to end soring. I forgot about that.

I haven't talked about FAST in any of my posts. FAST is the Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse, Inc. They were started in 2009, and basically they are merely a 501(c)(3) that people can donate to so they can funnel money directly to SHOW to put on more sore horse shows. Click here for the FAST 2009 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. Now you too can help support the sore horse industry, and it'll be tax deductible!

Now here's something REALLY amazing. The TWHBEA Owners/Exhibitors/International VP Stephen Brown, who volunteered to help the UHDP has withdrawn from the UHDP. His reasons are included below as a Letter to the Editor of the Walking Horse Report.


Letter to the Editor:

I have read with interest the online Walking Horse Report press release about the United Horse Show Development Program. The information in this article, especially, "the UHDP ... will encourage horse show development with any HIO that has not accepted the mandatory penalties from the USDA", was NOT presented at our TWHBEA E/C meeting. Neither was the name shared. This was referred to as an attempt to develop horse shows, not an attempt to further divide our ailing industry while using rhetoric like 'unity' and 'unified'. I will NOT serve as a volunteer for such an organization and regret being misled. I will be sure to ask many clarifying questions in the future. I am a supporter/fan/promoter of the fabulous Tennessee Walking Horse in every way and am absolutely in favor of complaint horses being shown in every division (although I can't keep up with the scar rule part of the equation).

The Western International HIO began using the current penalty structure last year when it was first recommended by the USDA and we had a wonderful show season with very few issues.

Let's all work to promote this great breed.


Stephen Brown,


THANK YOU, Mr. Brown, for having the integrity to stand up to these jerks. I'm glad you pointed out they were unscrupulous in their dealings with TWHBEA. That's a big deal in an industry that continues to make ridiculous decisions.

The following is an opinion piece written by a friend of mine. This person sent it to me via email. They were commenting on the above announcement of the UHDP and Mr. Brown's stance against them. This person basically hit the nail on the head for me. They basically wrote everything that I believe that is going on right now and then some. I got permission to share this with you so you can also understand the true issues that are going on in this industry. I made changes only for the sake of clarity and to fix grammar--otherwise this piece is "as is."


[Regarding Stephen Brown,] at least there is one person with some sense of integrity serving TWHBEA. First, they [the industry] really believe that people in this industry are dumb enough not to see right through this - how insulting. Second, the only people who are against the mandated penalties are those who are knowingly violating the HPA. Those who train sound have nothing to fear from the mandated penalties as evidenced by shows across the country who have implemented them or have even more strict penalties in place. Third, why is the THWBEA President, Senior VP, Marketing VP and Breeders VP helping raise money for FAST and then excluding the majority of their members? As FAST 990 indicates, FAST is nothing more than a money funnel for SHOW under the guise of a 501(c)3 . Does Celebration/SHOW/FAST/WHTA, Inc.now control the TWHBEA?

Not only is the inclusion of the President, Senior VP, Marketing VP and Breeders VP of TWHBEA into this little fund raising group a serious conflict of interest on any and all levels, it puts out the message that the Breed Registry and its members support this "group's" desire to encourage horse show development with only those HIOs, Associations, Show Managers, owners and trainers who are AGAINST the mandated penalties. It is unbelievable, beyond the pail. I'm not sure it is legal for a 501(c)3 to exclude an entire segment of the industry of which it's mission statement says it represents. Every member of TWHBEA (individual or association) who supports the mandated penalties, humane treatment of the horse, and the preservation of the breed, SHOULD BE OUTRAGED. FOSH, NWHA and the Presidents of all those association here and abroad should be sending letters to the editor of the WHR, Scoop and letters to the entire EC and the BOD. The Registry is now a full participant in Celebration/SHOW/FAST/WHTA, Inc.'s desire to maintain this status quo scam.

From TWHBEA's website: "The success and popularity of the Tennessee Walking Horse is the result of thoughtful organization and strong leadership by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association, and it is the essential organization for the continued success of the breed."

In light of the press release and ramifications of the TWHBEA Executive Committees involvement, the above statement is contemptible.

History is repeating itself. The well-heeled good ol' boy network and their minions are effectively taking over the industry. [I read what someone said on an online chat board that] "If a HIO accepted the mandatory penalties, they took themselves out of unification in the industry." There you have it. And TWHBEA apparently supports this stance. This industry is neck deep in corruption. The Mexican drug cartels could learn a thing or two from this bunch about political spin and propaganda. If they hired this bunch, they would have the rest of the world convinced they only sold Tylenol and used water guns.

I know FOSH, HSUS and others speak out about the cruelty, why not the corruption? One feeds the other!


I think the last line is the most important: that cruelty fuels corruption, and vice versa. People who are quick to abuse animals are quick to abuse other people, and it doesn't stop there. Now the industry has been allowed by the USDA to continue to abuse the system in place to stop soring, and they are abusing their privilege to be showing horses by blatantly violating the law. This is something we all need to be aware of and that we need to understand as to why the abuse won't stop from within. It has GOT to come from the outside, and the USDA needs to do it.


Esteban Cafe said...

My name is Stephen Brown and I would like to inquire where the information on your blog indicating that i had 2 violations form 2002 came from.
Although reported I live in Oregon, I actually live and have always lived in Washington. I currently live in Vancouver, WA across the river from Portland, Oregon and this is sometimes confusing as I fly out of Portland. Please research this and print a correction/retraction.
I enjoyed your blog and appreciate the support expressed. These are difficult times for our breed and we must do what is right.
Again I do not have violations.

Stephen Brown

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephen--I hope you got my email. I corrected all the information in my blog. I got the articles from The Walking Horse Report, so it seems they have some incorrect information on you on there. I'm glad that you decided not to be involved with the UHDP. That is a huge decision in our industry that so many need to understand is not acceptable. Let's hope to see and end to soring in our lifetime!

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