"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, September 26, 2011

NEWS - USDA DQP Show Report Statistics Are Online

This is so cool!  I love it when stuff like this happens!

A few days ago I found the USDA 2011 DQP Show Report.  Click here to see the link.  However, I thought it was incomplete.  The list was divided into the show date(s), the title of the show, the HIO, DQP Inspected, and DQP Violations.  However, I thought there also needed to be clarification between how many horses were inspected and how many inspections were conducted.  These numbers only represented how many inspections were conducted.  I came to this determination because my local yearly show affiliated with NWHA is on this list, and the number under DQP Inspected is higher than the number of horses that I knew at the time were actually at the show.  So obviously, the same horses were in multiple classes.  (But I am very proud to say that NO horses were found sore at my local show!  See, SHOW, PRIDE, KWHA, et. al.?  YOU CAN ELIMINATE SORING!)

So I sent an email to the USDA asking if we can get some more information to clear this up.  And they provided it!  I was really happy that they did this for us.  Thanks, USDA!

So, now the list shows a clear distinction between number of inspections versus number of horses actually at the show.  Now some of the information they didn't have yet, but they told me that they'll be getting it soon.  So I'm going to hold off on my calculations that I want to do on it until all the information is there.  However, I want to write about what is truly happening here.

Now, when I hear things like the industry is 95%, 97%, 98% compliant, I'm always wondering where this number comes from.  (And why it's so varied--can't they decide on an official number?)  A while back I did some calculations on just the Celebration, and unfortunately I can't find my blog post on it right now.  But overall, I learned that those percentages were coming from just the Celebration.  I also learned that the percentages were based on the number of times inspections were done, NOT the number of horses that were at the show.

Why does this matter?  Because it's easy for the industry to skew the numbers in their favor.  See, I think it would be more accurate to take a look at the number of horses rather than the number of inspections.  Obviously at a show, one horse might be shown in multiple classes.  Let's break it down so this makes things clear.

Lets say we have a show, and during the show five horses are going to be in a few different classes.  The horses are Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Ben Kenobi, and Chewbacca.  Here are the classes they showed in.  (And yes, I'm making all of this up on the fly.  The type of classes are just random choices.)

Luke Skywalker - English Pleasure 2 Gait Amateur, English Pleasure 2 Gait Open, English Pleasure 3 Gait Open
Han Solo - Western Pleasure 2 Gait Amateur, Western Pleasure 3 Gait Amateur, Western Pleasure TWHBEA Members Only, Western Pleasure
Leia Organa - Lite Shod 2 Gait, Lite Shod 3 Gait, Model
Ben Kenobi - English Pleasure 2 Gait Amateur, English Pleasure 3 Gait Amateur
Chewbacca - Model, English Pleasure Novice Riders, English Pleasure Novice Horse, English Pleasure TWHBEA Members Only

Since each horse must be inspected before each class, here's what our numbers look like.

DQP Inspected - 16
Horses Entered - 5

That's a big difference in numbers.  Wouldn't it stand to reason that if we were to find a percentage of HPA violations from these two different lists, than if we just went by the DQP Inspected number we'd have a much LOWER percentage of horses found in violation?

So let's take a look at the USDA list.  On page four at the bottom is the KWRHTA Derby Classic.  The information looks like this.

Start Date - 5/7/11
End Date - 5/7/11 (one day show)
Name and Location of Show - KWRHTA Derby Classic, Harrodsburg, KY
DQP Inspected - 96
Horses Entered - 69
Shoeing, Pads, Action - 8 (this usually means illegal equipment)
Unilateral Sore - 24
Foreign Substance - 4

Now, let's do the math.  First, 36 horses were found in violation.  This means the following.

DQP Inspected percentage of violations
36/96 = 37.5% violation

Horse Entered percentage of violations
36/69 = 52.1% violations

See what a big difference it makes?  And really, the thing is that we really are more accurate if we go with the amount of horses.  The first calculation makes it look like the show was 62.5% compliant.  But that just means that some of the same horses went in several different classes during the day.  If we actually look at the real number of horses, the show was only 47.9% in compliant.

Folks, that's over 50% of the horses at the KWHRTA Derby Classic show that were found in violation.  And the industry thinks there is no problem.

So I'm going to do some big calculations with this list once it's more thoroughly updated and we'll see some real statistics about what's going on in this industry.  Thanks again to the USDA for their help.  We're going to be able to continue to be able to expose the truth with this kind of data!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RESEARCH - A Lesson in Listening

I've spent a lot of time studying the gaits the Tennessee Walking Horse can perform.  The TWH is defined by his unique gait: a perfectly square, four beat movement where each foot hits the ground at a different moment with the same timing between each foot fall.  The head and neck will nod up and down from the withers so as to balance the hind end of the horse--it is physically impossible for a TWH to gait correctly without this head nod or "head shake."  This is known as the flat walk, and at faster speeds without sacrificing the form of the horse, it's known as the running walk.

The TWHBEA has an excellent explanation of the gait on their website, and since they are the breed registry, I believe it is the rule we should all follow.

The Flat Walk is a brisk, long-reaching walk that can cover from four to eight miles an hour. This is a four cornered gait with each of the horse's feet hitting the ground separately at regular intervals. The horse will glide over the track left by the front foot with his hind foot: right rear over right front, left rear over left front. The action of the back foot slipping over the front track is known as overstride. Overstride is unique to the walking horse breed. The hock should show only forward motion; vertical hock action is highly undesirable. A Tennessee Walking Horse will nod its head in rhythm with the cadence of its feet. This nodding head motion, along with overstride, are two features that are unique to the Tennessee Walking Horse. This distinctive head motion along with overstride are both things the judge should take into consideration when judging a Tennessee Walking Horse.

The Running Walk is the gait for which the walking horse is most noted. This extra-smooth, gliding gait is basically the same as the flat walk with a noticeable difference in the rate of speed between the two gaits. Proper form should never be sacrificed for excessive speed in a good running walk. The breed can travel 10 to 20 miles per hour at this gait. As the speed is increased, the horse over-steps the front track with the back by a distance of six to eighteen inches. The more "stride" the horse has, the better "walker" it is considered to be. It is this motion that gives the rider a feeling of gliding through the air as if propelled by some powerful but smooth-running machine. The running walk is a smooth, easy gait for both horse and rider. A true Tennessee Walking Horse will continue to nod while performing the running walk.

To watch this movement in action, check out Papa's Royal Delight, a barefoot and all natural stallion trained using only dressage methods, conditioning, and hard work.

The TWH gait is specifically defined as "each of the horse's feet hitting the ground separately at regular intervals."  But what I'm seeing in the show ring are horses that are either performing the pace or the stepping pace with what I see as a false head nod.  Now of course, as is nature's design, not every horse is going to perform perfectly at every single step.  However, the TWH can be conditioned to perform as perfectly as possible for his particular conformation and body type.  So it makes no sense to me that horses are being showcased in the show ring that are not performing the correct gait, especially the Big Lick horses.

I'd like to show everyone what I mean by this, and I think the easiest way I can do it is by a method I use myself that helps me more than any other when I'm working with a TWH on his gait: MY EARS.  When a horse is well conditioned to perform a flat walk or a running walk, then we can literally hear each individual hoof beat hitting the ground at a separate time.  Having a father who is into steam trains, I realized that the flat walk has the same rhythm that a steam train has.  So dipping into my childhood, I found that if I chant the old saying from the Little Engine That Could, "I think I can, I think I can" then I can see if the foot falls are matching up with my voice.  If they aren't, I do whatever exercises are needed to bring the horse around to where his feet are hitting the ground at separate intervals.

So here are some videos where I want to show you what I have seen the BL horse becoming.  You can listen and watch these videos to help you learn the foot falls.  Then you can watch horses in videos in the ring to see how the horse is moving and point out when it is and isn't in gait.

NOTE: THESE VIDEOS ARE BEING PUT HERE AS EXAMPLES OF GAIT SOUNDS ONLY.  THEY ARE NOT TO BE CRITICIZED IN ANY WAY, EITHER ON THE RIDER, TRAINER, OWNER, TACK, OR THE HORSE ITSELF.  I picked them because you can clearly hear the footfalls, as that's the focus of this post.  I respectfully request that the readers this blog not to contact the people who have posted these videos.

First, here's a great example of a flat walk.  Listen to the footfalls as best you can and try to ignore the wind.  You will hear each foot hit the ground individually.  Sometimes you might hear them falter a bit, but that's okay--that's normal with any horse.

He also has a wonderful head nod--straight up and down without the head swinging from side to side.  This is  key to a true flat walk--a horse that swings it's head side to side is physically not performing in the true flat walk.  A horse MUST nod his head up and down to truly be able to balance his hind end correctly.

Now let's listen to another gait, the tolt, as performed by an Icelandic Horse.  This is a fast gait akin to the rack, which many gaited horses and American Saddlebreds can perform.  The rack is not desirable in the TWH show ring, but there are Racking Horse shows that showcase the rack.  I'm adding it here so you can hear the separation of hoofbeats at a faster speed.  I have ridden Icies before, and they will perform a true flat walk--it is within their conformation to do it. I've been able to get several to perform it.  One was a horse who the owner told the trainer he wasn't gaited at all, and now the trainer and I have him gaiting everywhere!

If you ever get the chance to ride an Icy, I recommend it.  They have big personalities in small bodies, and are very strong and sure footed.  It's fun to ride that little gait all over the place!

Here is an example of a TWH performing a pace.  The pace is a completely two beat gait where the two feet on one side hit the ground then the two feet on the other.  It's basically a lateral trot.  Listen carefully for the two beats, like a march.  Not how the rider is bouncing and being slung from side to side.  This rider recognizes that her horse is pacing and wants to change it.

Here is an excellent example of a TWH performing the stepping pace.  Again the rider recognizes the horse is not performing well and wants to change it.  Listen to the footfalls: there is hesitation between them.  Also notice how the rider is being slightly bounced from side to side.

You will see this particular gait a lot on videos.  It is smooth for the rider depending on the footfalls, but it's bad for the horse.  They can perform it either being "strung out," where their nose sticks out far and the head bobs from side to side with no head nod, or they can be overflexed in the bridle with a hollow back where their body is not allowed to stretch out, so the horse starts short striding, or in layman's terms, mincing his steps.  Both motions are harmful to the horse's back and joints over time.

Now here's a listen to the footfalls of some BL horses.  This one is the best example because we can clearly hear the footfalls.  AGAIN, we are listening to footfalls ONLY.

And a couple more.

From what I hear, these are broken gaits.  there is not four beat gait here at all.  In fact, if you pause here and there during the videos, you will see that the horse isn't even in the correct gait and he will have two feet on one side in the air during forward motion.

I really don't understand how this is considered natural or the correct gait when it goes against the breed definition of the gait.  The feet are not "hitting the ground separately at regular intervals."  The sound is clearly broken up.

Now true, these horses are in training.  But I find if I watch horses in the show ring, they also are not performing the gait correct to the breed standard.  Pause the video during the classes and take a look at the footfalls.  The horses are clearly not in a four beat gait.  Plus the riders are being slung about, which is indicative of the pace and the stepping pace.

I worry that the flat walk is slowly being bred out of our breed because of the desire for the BL.  These are the horses that are showcased the most and that make the most money for this industry, so they are breeding for the BL.  Never mind what happens to those that don't "make it" as a BL horse.  When those horses are tossed aside as leftovers, those who buy them are having increasingly difficult times getting the true flat walk out of them.  Even though only 10 percent of the TWH show industry are BL horses, those are the horses the industry is overbreeding for, with thousands of foals every year with only a few able to "make it."

So I recommend to anyone that if you are considering breeding for a foal, find a stallion and a mare that are truly performing a true four beat gait.  See them go without pads and chains on and see what natural gait it truly has--the flat walk or a stepping pace.  This will preserve the initial breed standard for the breed, but it will also make your job as a rider to find that four beat gait much easier.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ARTICLES and HOW YOU CAN HELP - Tennessee Co-Op Supports Known HPA Violator

From an August post on the blog Boycott the Co-Op! comes more news of an HPA violator being supported by a big business in Tennessee.  Click here for the blog post.

"The Co-Op, a feed and farm store system serving Tennessee, is actively promoting and encouraging a repeated offender of the Horse Protection Act.

"Brad Davis has two violations, in 2008 and in 2005, for unilateral soring and equipment violation and a scar rule violation."

And the best part?

"When contacted for their position, Alison Morgan of the Tennessee Co-Op stated that 'While you may not agree with the training methods illustrated by Brad Davis - and I realize that many people do not agree with them - they are common and accepted practices for those who show walking horses.'

"So, common means ok, even if it's illegal and cruel?"

Couldn't have said it better myself.  Thank you, Ms. Morgan, for confirming that the cruel training methods are, as you said, "common and accepted practices."

In one of the captions to a photo in the article, it says: "Tennessee Farmers Cooperative equine specialist Kim Smith visits with Brad and one of his horses. Kim calls Brad a 'shining example of the high caliber of people in the walking horse industry.' "

Yes, he's a shining example, all right.  A shining example that soring still exists and why it needs to stop.

Davis' violations are two in 2005--one for Foreign Substance and the other for Scar Rule Violation and Equipment Violation--and one in 2008 for Unilateral Sore.

Sadly, as far as I understand it, the Co-Op does a lot of community work and helps people in times of need.  But obviously they are not worried about any of them obeying the law.

The blog has a nice letter you can copy and paste and send to the Co-Op, as follows.  Let's let them know how we feel about their support of a known animal abuser.

Here is a sample letter, see below for contact information:

It has come to my attention that the Co-op supports not only the padded performance division of the TWHBEA, but actively encourages and promotes individuals that have received Horse Protection Act violations, such as the individual Brad Davis (who received violations in 2005 and 2008). In addition, you have actively defended these illegal activities by promoting someone who received multiple violations.

For that reason, myself and my family will no longer support the Co-op in any manner. We will actively discourage others from supporting you as well. As you would know if you had done the research, the TWHBEA is being actively boycotted and disowned by the large majority of horse owners, most of whom have migrated to other registry organizations, and as such, the TWHBEA has faced severe monetary and public difficulties over the past several years due to their refusal to clean up their act, and ongoing, persistent violations of the HPA by its topmost officers on down. It was even refused a spot at the World Equestrian Games due to its extremely poor compliance with the Horse Protection Act.

Please do not spend the time to send me a form letter as you have others. Just be aware that support of this illegal activity and those who perpetrate it will affect your business. And, a web campaign is being developed as we speak to showcase not only your response to the concerned citizens, but your highlighting, promoting, and defending a known repeat violator of the law.



You can reach Ms Morgan directly at:
Alison Morgan
Communications Dept. Manager and Editor
Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Communications Department
180 Old Nashville Highway, P.O. Box 3003
LaVergne, TN 37086
Phone: 615-793-8418
Fax: 615-287-8859
E-Mail: amorgan@ourcoop.com
Web site: http://www.ourcoop.com/

Facebook Page Changed to Facebook Group

Due to some changes made to Facebook, I've had to change the FTTWH Facebook Page to a Facebook Group.  Facebook seems to have changed all pages so you can comment on them whether or not you like them.  So, after extensive research, the Facebook Group option was a much better choice for FTTWH.

To join the group, go to this link: For the Tennessee Walking Horse Group.  Click the Ask to Join Group button in the upper right corner.  Everyone will be allowed to join, and please take the time to read the rules for the page and about posting photographs in the Docs section.

Thanks again for your continued support, and see you on the new FTTWH Facebook Group!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RESEARCH - New Suspension List From the USDA Is Online

The USDA has updated their online Active Suspension List.  It is current and lists the persons on suspension as of September 15, 2011.  Click here for the list.

What amazes me are where the suspensions are coming from. There are NONE from NWHA, FOSH and the IWHA.  How great is that?  The majority of the suspensions are with SHOW, of course.  Still got those people soring those horses in their group, and I see quite clearly that there are very, very few BNTs (Big Name Trainers) on there.

I think it's also important to note that several suspensions are from the MFTHBA.  This means that yes, soring IS happening to Missouri Fox Trotters as well.  Sadly, the TWHs are not the only breed suffering from this problem.  And you would think that the MFT community would look at the TWHs and see the trouble they're in and shut down soring fast.  Well, at least, I would think that.

Overall, I'm glad to see the suspension list is available for the public.  This really helps in selecting horses to buy and what trainers to be wary of.  I think it also shows us that SHOW is continuing to allow soring in.  Why haven't their numbers of suspensions dwindled?  And why were so many horses (over 120 violations--I don't know the exact number yet) found sore at the Celebration?  I imagine those are questions we just won't ever get logical answers for.

NEWS - HPA Gets More Funding!

GREAT NEWS!  The HPA is going to have more funds to continue their hard work to end soring!  The Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved over double the funding for the HPA the fiscal year of 10-1-2011 through 9-30-2012!

This is an amazing achievement in our quest to save the horse.  The bill still has to go through the full Senate and go through a conference committee made up of both House and Senate members to clear up any differences they find, but overall it is most likely going to pass!

Click here for the article on the American Horse Council website.  I have cut and paste the article below.

What does this mean?  The APHIS is getting more funds to do their work to study equine diseases, agricultural research, work on the transporting horses to slaughter problem, and enforce the HPA on a higher level.  The HPA will receive $891,000 when before it only recieved $400,000.  This means more funds for the USDA to hold inspections at shows and to be able to hold court cases to convict the criminals.

BE SURE to email your Senators and tell them how much you appreciate their help in the health and welfare of the horse.  Ask them if they haven't approved of the bill yet to do so in their vote.  To do so, go to www.senate.gov and choose your state in the Find the Senators section up in the right hand corner.  You can also write to senators in other states if you wish.  This is going to help the equine industry tremendously and take us a giant step further in reaching our goal of saving the Tennessee Walking Horse from further abuse!


Senate Committee on Appropriations Approves FY 2012 USDA Funding Bill
Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 17:22

The American Horse Council reports that the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved its version of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2012.  This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 2012 fiscal year (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012) and contains several provisions of interest to the horse industry.

The Senate bill authorized different levels of funding for various USDA programs than the House bill (H.R. 2112) passed on June 1, 2011.  The AHC reported on the House Appropriations Committee approval of the USDA funding bill for 2012 fiscal year.

USDA Funding

The Senate bill sets overall funding for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inpsection Service (APHIS) at $820.1 million.  APHIS is the agency responsible for responding to disease outbreaks.  This is approximately $36 million more than the House-approved funding level of $783.4 million. 

The Senate bill is $43 million less than FY2011 levels and $12 million less than the President’s FY2012 budget request.  By comparison, the House bill was $80 million less than FY2011 levels and $49 million below the President’s request for FY2012.  However, the Senate bill maintained funding for equine, cervid, and small ruminant health at $22 million in accordance with the President’s request and the House bill.

The Senate bill funds the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at $1.01 billion.  ARS is USDA’s chief scientific research agency and has played a critical role in mitigating the health and economic impacts equine infectious diseases, such as Equine Piroplasmosis, have had on the horse industry.  The Senate bill is approximately $100 million more than the House bill authorized.

The Senate bill is $40 million less than FY2011 levels and the President’s FY2012 budget request; however, the House bill was $146 million less than FY2011 levels and $150 million below the President’s FY2012 request.

The Senate also provided $7 million for the new animal disease traceability system, which USDA published a proposed rule on in August 2011.  You can view the AHC’s information on the new animal disease traceability program.

Horse Protection Act

The Senate bill approved funding for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act at $891,000 which is the same amount as the President’s FY2012 budget request and $400,000 more than the House bill authorized.

Equine Transport

The Senate bill also included committee report language expressing concern with the lack of progress on USDA’s 2007 proposed rule changes under the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Act.  The Senate Committee directed USDA to finalize the rule before October 1, 2011.  USDA published the final rule yesterday, September 7, 2011.


This bill must now be approved by the full Senate, and go through a conference committee with representatives from both the Senate and the House to resolve any differences between the two bills.

If you have any questions regarding this bill please call the AHC.

Monday, September 5, 2011

RESEARCH - The WGC Results for Black Week Are In

I decided to go through the WGC classes and see where this year's standing of violators is.  WGC classes started on Friday, September 2nd, 2011.  Let's take a look and see who was rewarded, even after they've proven to have been a violator.  I'm only looking at the top two horses in the class, since they are designated the champion and the reserve champion.  I used the HPA database, the current USDA APHIS suspension list posted on the USDA website, and the current Federal Disqualification and Civil Penalty List posted on the USDA website.

I want to point out that Gary Edwards, the trainer/rider of WGC Game World, has the following suspensions.

Unilateral Sore, 10/6/08 - 11/4/08, NHSC
Not Specified, 8/15/97 - 8/14/07, USDA, 10-year suspension
Not Specified, 9/1/97 - 8/31/99, USDA, 2-year suspension
Not Specified, 5/11/92 - 5/10/94, USDA, 2- year suspension

This is absolutely shocking that the industry has allowed this man back in after so many violations with the USDA and for such long stints.  And the industry wonders why they have problems...

1.  RED SUNDAYS BEST, Laurie Toone O/E; Shelbyville, TN  [The name Toone has two violations in 1998.]
2.  LIL WAYNE, B J Richards for Jeff Gillespie; Tazewell, VA  [Jeff Gillespie had an 8-month suspension, 2001-2002, Bilateral sore]

1.  ROLL THE GOLD, Allison Thorson for ThorSport, Inc.; Sandusky, OH
2.  PRIME POISON, Lilly Waites for Andrew Waites Family  [Prime Poison was found to have violation against the scar rule per Andrew Waites in 2008.  Wonder how those scars seemed to magically disappear?  Andrew Waites also was suspended in 2005.]

1.  B B KINGS JAZZ, Jeannae Patterson O/E; Gulf Hammock, FL  [Patterson had a 1-month suspension for unilateral sore in 2008, conveniently served right after the Celebration.  She also had a scar rule with foreign substance violation in 2005.]
2.  EXPEDITED, Miles Irby for Irby Farms & Stables; Shelbyville, TN  [The last name Irby has multiple violations on the HPA database.]

1.  PLAY SOMETHING COUNTRY, Jeff V Smith O/E; Greer, SC  [Jeff Smith is listed as having bilateral sore with foreign substance in 1998.]
2.  ABOVE THE LINE, Brad Spivey for Patricia Spivey; Jefferson City, TN  [Brad Spivey had an 8-month suspension for bilateral sore in 2004-2005.]

1.  A WICKED BOND, Miles Irby for Greg/Krysta Allen; Salem, OR and Shelbyville [The last name Irby has multiple violations on the HPA database.]
2.  GI GIS MAJESTIC, Jordan Howell for Janet Howell; Murfreesboro, TN  [Jordan Howell was suspended in 2001; Janet Howell in 2001 for unilateral sore.]

1.  THE CONCEALED WEAPON, Patti Pollack for Pollacks Silver Spur Ranch; Saratoga, CA & Shelbyville, TN  [Patti Pollack had two suspensions in 2007 for the scar rule; the Pollack ranch had a suspension in 2008 for scar rule.]
2.  ALL AMERICAN RITZ, Howard Hamilton for Cynthia Wright; Jackson, TN  [Hamilton has 8 violations total in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, and his most recent being a 2-week suspension in 2011.]

1.  BOURE, Tam Brogdon O/E; Panama City Beach, FL

1.  A VICTORIA SECRET, Maisie McSwain O/E; Duluth, GA
2.  CADILLACS BUM, Lilly Waites for Andrew Waites Family; Hattiesburg, MS  [Andrew Waites was suspended twice: 2005 and 2008.]

1.  LINED WALKIN, Justin Harris for Andrew Waites Family; Hattiesburg, MS  [Justin Harris was our bad image horse trainer/rider I posted about last month.  He has 5 HPA violations: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2010, and fresh off a 1-year suspension in May 2011.  Andrew Waites was suspended twice: 2005 and 2008.]
2.  MORE OF THE MAJOR, John Allan Callaway for Jim/Judy Leek; Cedar Creek, TX  [Callaway has four suspensions: 6 months in 1988-1989, 1 year in 1993-1994, and two in 2004.]

1.  COMMAND ON PAROLE, Sheryl Crawford for Crawford/Metcalf ; Bainbridge, GA  [The last name Metcalf has several violations under a variety of first names.]
2.  GIN RIO, Becky Coleman for Madeleine Coleman; Greenwood, MS

1.  IM COPPERFIELD, Knox Blackburn for Mike Walden Family; Chattanooga, TN  [Blackburn has 8 violations: 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2010.  Mike Walden has 1 violation in 2004.]
2.  MR HEISMAN, Brandye Mills for Randall/Sadie Baskin; Franklin, TN  [Mills has 9 violations, with 4 in 2010 alone, also including 8 months in 1999-2000, two in 2002, one in 2005, and one with no date specified  by SHOW; The name Baskin has one violation in 1998.]

1. ACE, ridden by Colton Trimble as led by Amy Trimble
2. RATTLE & SNAP, ridden by Ashtyn Claire Brown; Columbia, TN

1.  THE DIXIE LINEMAN, Gail Walling for Walling and Judy McDonald; Wartrace and Tullahoma, TN [McDonald was on suspension in 2003 for unilateral sore.]
2.  THE ROYAL DOLLAR, Lee McGartland; Ft. Worth, TX

1. CHILLIN THE MOST, Link Webb for Steve Mozeley; Charlotte, NC  [Webb has 8 violations total, fresh off  2-week suspension in March 2011, also suspended in 2003, 2005, and 2010.  Mozeley has 1 violation in 2001.]
2. A LINE DANCER, Bill Callaway for S&J Enterprises; Huntsville, AL

1. INTIMIDATOR’S COVER GIRL, Amanda Wright for Andrew Waites and George Wright families  [Andrew Waites was suspended twice: 2005 and 2008.]
2. OH PANCHO OH CISCO, Roger Richards, Jr.

1. MY FIRST DOLLAR, George Ann Pratt; Shawnee Mission, KS
2. SOPHISTICATED, Renee Carlton; Corinth, MS

1. I’M PUSHIN’ THE LINE, Janice Fostek; Roanoak, VA  [Janis & Joe Fostek has a scar rule violation in 2007 while Janice & Joe Fostek have a scar rule violation in 2004.]
2. GIN TODDY, Sue Irby; Shelbyville, TN  [Irby has an equipment violation in 2006.]

1. SUIZA, Allison Thorson
2. A WICKED BOND, Rachael Allen for Krysta Allen & Ty Irby of Pleasonton, CA and Shelbyville, TN [Ty Irby has 6 violations: 6 months 1998-1989, 8 months 1999-2000, 8 months 2001-2002, 2 weeks in 2002 and 2 weeks twice in 2005.]

1. I AM JOSE, Casey Wright for Billy and Debbie Woods; Lexington, TN  [Wright has 5 violations in 2010, 2 in 2007 and 1 in 2005; the Woods last name has several violations under various first names.]
2. I’M COACH CAL, John Allan Callaway, Pratts Family; KS  [Callaway has four suspensions: 6 months in 1988-1989, 1 year in 1993-1994, and two in 2004.]

1. LIL’ WAYNE, Carlan Cotton  [The Cotton name is well known for their multiple violations.]
2. HONOR MY CASH, Rebecca Emerick; Hillsborough, CA

1. HE’S VIDA BLUE, Kay Green; Meridian, Mississippi  [James & Kay Green have 1 violation in 2001.]
2. A  BRUCE PEARL, Lee McGartland

1. B B KING’S JAZZ, Brock Tillman [2 violations in 2004 and 2005, 4 violations in 2010, and currently under suspension with SHOW until a date is determined - suspension started 8/15/09, ends 8/15/99. It is possible a date has been determined but it has not been updated in the HPA database.]
2. CELINE NEON, Howard Hamiltion for McAdory’s; Louisville, MS  [Hamilton has 8 violations total in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, and his most recent being a 2-week suspension in 2011.]

1. NYPD, Kenny Compton for Jack Compton; North Tazewell, VA  [Kenny Compton has 6 violations, 2 weeks in 2005, 6 months in 2006-2007, 2 weeks in 2007, 2 weeks in 2010, and fresh off a 4 month suspension in April 2011.  Jack Compton has one violation in 2007.]
2. STROLLIN’ THRU THE RITZ, Brian Reece for Reece Family; Pikeville, TN

1. GAME WORLD, Gary Edwards for Chester & Lynda Stokes; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL  [Gary Edwards has 4 violations, one being a 10 YEAR SUSPENSION BY THE USDA from 1997-2007, also two 2-year suspensions from 1992-1994 and 1997-1999 from the USDA, and 2 weeks in 2008 from NHSC.  Chester Stokes has 1 violation in 2008.]
2. FOLSOM PRISON BLUES, Rodney Dick  [Dick has violated the HPA 4 times for unilateral sore and scar rule in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and on Folsom Prison Blues himself in August 2010.]

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ARTICLES - More Information on Stallions Denied Entry

I discovered today that this particular article was written before the article I put in the prevoius post that was their interview with the USDA. I'm going to go through this article line by line.

Overall, though, I have a big question for those who are defending these guys: WHY? These guys have violated the HPA, which also means they have violated the SHOW rulebook for the Celebration. Therefore, they've basically been caught cheating. Why are you helping them out by defending them? Why aren't you mad? I know I would be if I were showing in the same classes as these guys. How fair is it to those who are trying to show clean to know that these guys were going to be in the same classes as them with sored horses?

And the Celebration board, who is also the SHOW board, what are you going to do about it? Again, these guys were caught cheating at your show. Are you going to dole out the proper punishment?

Here's the link to the article. Below I have copied and pasted it and included my comments.


Eight stallions denied; inexperienced VMO criticized

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
By SADIE FOWLER ~ sfowler@t-g.com

Discrepancies inside the inspection area at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration last Saturday night resulted in eight horses being turned away from a chance to compete for the walking horse World Grand Championship.

Inspectors representing SHOW (Sound Horses, Honest Judging, Objective Inspections and Winning Fairly), the Celebration-sanctioned horse industry organization that ensures horses are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act, passed all but two horses of the 15 that showed up for the aged stallion competition classes.

But USDA officials denied six more horses from competing, including two which had already passed pre-class inspection by those same USDA veterinary medical officers (VMOs).

VMO criticized

At least one trainer and the veterinarian who oversees the SHOW inspectors say one VMO is too inexperienced to judge the Celebration.

"I think the VMOs were not experienced at all," said Dr. Steve Mullins, adding that he had expressed his concerns about the alleged inexperienced inspector. "The answer I got was, 'He's learning on the job.' Learning on the job? At the world championship horse show?"

Dr. Doyle Meadows, Celebration chief executive officer, also agreed some of the USDA inspectors are not experienced enough.

"All our trainers want is for people who are fair and consistent," Meadows said. "You can't have VMOs check horses two times a year and be consistent."

Really, Mullins and Meadows? Mullins, who said that to you, and how do we know what you've said is true? And who are either of you to decide if a VMO is experienced or not? You guys picked the DQPs for the show, and therefore I believe that is a sure sign that you're going to pick people who will do the work you WANT them to do.

Something we all need to remember: VMOs are licensed veterinarians who work for the USDA. They have multiple jobs, including inspecting slaughterhouses, studying herd and flock health, and other such duties the USDA is tasked with. Being a HPA inspector is only part of their job. So I know I would trust a licensed veterinarian over some backyard breeder with no veterinary experience who takes a quick class to become a DQP.

Inspection process

SHOW inspectors, known as designated qualified persons (DQPs), are charged with inspecting horses for the Celebration and many other shows throughout the year, but the USDA's VMOs are allowed to inspect as well -- and they have the final say in who shows.

"I stand behind my guys," said Mullins, referring to the SHOW inspectors. "They are committed -- committed -- to keeping sore horses out ... The government (USDA inspectors) have bragged on us all year long, and they wanted to make a statement. And they did," said Mullins, wondering why USDA inspectors suddenly differed with SHOW inspectors' calls.

Are they really? Then why are the VMOs finding horses that are sore and the DQPs conveniently are not?

Of the six horses turned down by the USDA VMOs, five of those were inspected both pre- and post-show by multiple American Association of Equine Practitioners veterinarians, all of whom said the horses were in compliance, Mullins said.

And the AAEP vets were PAID weren't they? And you brought them in, didn't you? Plus, they are not trained in the inspection process, so how exactly are they inspecting the horses?

Mullins said industry DQPs inspected 20,000 horses last year and 12,000 horses this year to the approval of the USDA. He said the USDA chose to inspect about 2,000 horses alongside the industry inspectors this year and the two organizations only disagreed on whether or not about three horses were fit to show, Mullins said.

Yes, and industry DQPs are paid to keep quiet. We all know this. The number of violations sky rockets when the USDA shows up.

At press time, the USDA had not yet answered the T-G's request for more information about the experience level of USDA inspectors at Saturday night's show.

McConnell upset

In an article published in Sunday's Tennessean, well-known and respected trainer Jimmy McConnell shared his comments after his two contenders were turned down.

Respected? What respect does this man deserve? He just got off a 2-week suspension in May, and here he is allowed to show again. I have no respect for him or the industry for letting him show again.

Dark & Shady was turned down prior to the B section and his second contender, Up For Parole, was cited for a violation of the scar rule -- a rule that's been said by industry leaders to involve too much subjectivity -- after he showed in the A section.

"They were unreasonable," McConnell told the Tennessean. "The one that checked my horse didn't know what he was doing. His first show was Jackson, Miss., (March 31-April 2, 2011) and here he is checking the world championship show. That doesn't make any sense."

And who are you to say that he didn't know what he was doing? Are you a licensed VMO or DQP?

Look, McConnell, man up and do the right thing. You sored the horse, you got caught. That's how it goes. Stop blaming everyone else for what is ultimately YOUR responsibility. But really, this is typical criminal behavior.

McConnell, who has earned the World Grand Championship honors three times since 2004, declined to comment further when contacted by the T-G.

Contenders hit

In 1974, the Horse Protection Act was passed to protect horses from being "sored" to achieve a higher, more extreme gait.

Wrong date--it was 1970. And let's note here: they specifically state the act was passed "to protect horses." Not to protect the industry, not to protect anyone but the horses themselves.

In 2006, the industry came under fire by the USDA when only a handful of horses passed inspection before the Celebration's World Grand Championship class. One of the horses which did pass that year, Rowdy Rev, a four-time world champion and a favorite going into this year's show, did not pass inspection Saturday.

"My understanding is that he bumped himself getting off the trailer and they were hoping he'd make it through and show, but he didn't," Mullins said.

And they tried to show him, of course! So it's their fault they got the ticket! If your horse bumps himself in the trailer and you're worried about him passing inspection, don't show him. It's not that hard!

And that is one of the WORST excuses I've ever heard. ANY veterinarian is going to know the difference between a horse bumping himself and soring scars.

Plus, there certainly are A LOT of TWHs that bump themselves in the trailer before a show, or who get hurt in the pasture and have scars. It makes me wonder about the care of these horses in that they get beat up so much. I know plenty of other horses, my own included, who have gone their whole lives without their pasterns getting beat up and scarred.

Bill Bobo, trainer of Rowdy Rev, owned by Bill Harlin of College Grove, expressed his disappointment in not getting to show but said the show must go on.

"I hate it for the horse and the owner," Bobo said. "But he (the owner) knows this is the horse business and it's all part of it ... Once a horse is turned down they can't show back so (this year's show) is over ... (Harlin) wants to continue to show him. There's a show in Sparta next week and he wants to show him there. We'll try him again next year."

Good call, Bobo. I'm glad to hear you are taking the high road and not blaming everyone else.

Saturday night, nine horses competed in the aged stallions splits, classes 80A and 80B. Folsom Prison Blues, ridden by Rodney Dick of Unionville won the A division. Gary Edwards of Dawson, Ga., won the B division with Game World.

Puttin' Cash On The Line with Justin Harris up took reserve in the A division. The Golden Sovereign with Tim Smith finished reserve in the B division but that was taken away when he was cited for a scar rule violation following the class.

Thorough checks

Meadows said walking horses are the only breed he knows that is inspected to the degree of the walking horse.

Not true. Endurance horses go through a far more rigorous check that no Big Lick horse would EVER pass. I've watched it, and the horse is far better protected in the endurance world than in the stacked horse world. A horse will get pulled for the slightest heartbeat above normal, for the slightest sign of lameness, and it is all to protect the horse. And you know what? The riders accept the result and move on. They don't whine and complain and blame everyone else for their horse not being fit enough to continue.

"I'm not a fan of post-show inspections," he said. "If you've ever shown a horse then you understand that there are so many things that can happen (during the show), just like with a human athlete."

Of course you don't like it, because any chemical that has been used to mask the pain has worn off by the time the horse is in the ring, so now he'll show up sore. Or the rubbing of the chain and sweat of the horse can make scars from soring more visible.

In addition to Dark & Shady, Rowdy Rev, and The Golden Sovereign, Moody Star is another well-known contender which will not be eligible for the World Grand Championship Saturday night. He is last year's reserve world champion.

The Celebration activated SHOW two years ago to oversee the inspection process. "We activated SHOW and made a commitment to enforce the Horse Protection Act because it's the law," Meadows said.

"We established a comprehensive and consistent inspection program that would assure us that only compliant horses would be allowed to show. Dr. Steve Mullins and Tony Edwards, DQP coordinator, have done the industry a tremendous service with the organization of SHOW," he said.

No, you didn't, and no they haven't, or you would have ended soring when you first started SHOW. Your board has a violator on it, your judge and DQP lists are mostly made up of violators, and you reward those who continue to sore by allowing them back in the ring (case in point: McConnell).

"These DQPs, who do not have conflicts of interest, check horses every week and I have more confidence in them than anyone else that is hired to enforce the Horse Protection Act.

The DQPs are made up of farriers, owners, and other people who service the industry. They are not completely biased nor are not without COIs.

Meadows said overall, he feels like the inspections this week have gone well. He is hopeful the World Grand Championship class will be strong. Nine preliminary classes qualify for the big stake so more entries could make it to Saturday's championship.


In some good news, the violation count is up to 120 as of this morning! The USDA is getting those sore horses out of the ring! I have also heard that many people are scratching horses, quite possibly because they know they can't get them through the inspections. Be sure to send your emails to the USDA to tell them what a stellar job they're doing in saving the horse!

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