"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, May 18, 2012

HOW YOU CAN HELP - Get Your Letters Out to These Folks


Hi everyone.  As promised, here's the big list to write to.  It's a long list, but it truly will make a difference if you can take the time to at least prepare a form letter and send it out to each email address.  Phone calls are also good.

Here are the important guidelines to follow.

1. Write your own letter.  Don't copy and paste mine below--it's just an example.  Even just a few sentences is enough.

2.  Copy and paste the video from this link into each letter.  Be kind enough to warn them that it is graphic footage.  If you'd rather send the Nightline story since it's not as graphic (but still hard to watch), choose this link.

3. Name calling, nasty remarks, and angry words (except expressions such as "I could not believe what I saw in this video") do not help.  A person is immediately turned off by being "yelled" at online or in a letter.  Use rational words and think through what you're writing before sending it.

4. If you're going to write a form letter, be sure to individualize it when you put it in email form by putting such things as Dear their name at the beginning, and pointing out you understand their position in the community (such as a Senator or House Rep).  Also make sure your subject line is clear as to what you're contacting them for, such as National Celebration Corporate Sponsorship or Enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

5. It's okay to point out that the industry is continuing to support this abuse by posting statistics, such as how many HPA violators hold high positions in clubs and associations and are allowed to show their horses even after multiple violations.  But be sure that you back up your facts.  Feel free to contact me or ask on our Facebook page if you need help with that.

6. We have also learned from government officials that they don't like electronic petitions without real handwritten signatures, nor do they want to read the exact same letter from a bunch of people.  Each letter needs to be individual.

It's also important to thank those who have already taken the steps to end soring.  I've included those folks in the list as well.

Here is my example letter to Ford to ask them to pull their sponsorship.  Again, DO NOT copy and paste this letter. Please take the time to write your own.


I understand that Ford gives a sponsorship to the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) National Celebration each year. You might already be aware of the undercover video at the link at the end of this message, which was taken last year. It shows the extreme abuse that goes on behind the scenes at many if not most TWH barns in Tennessee. This is all to create the high stepping gait in the show ring called the Big Lick. It is animal abuse for fun and profit.

Soring, as explained in the video, is outlawed by the Horse Protection Act, yet it is still commonplace in the industry. The industry hides this fact and lies about how they are trying to end it. The HPA has been in effect since 1970, yet because the industry is allowed to "police" themselves, soring still continues and is rampant. 

As an owner and advocate for the sound TWH, I ask that you reconsider your sponsorship with the National Celebration. There is sufficient evidence that points to the fact that sored horses are still being shown there, and this cruelty needs to end. Pulling your support of this show would help tremendously with both your reputation and to help fight against the only form of abuse against horses that has a federal law against it.

I am also a Ford driver--we have a 1997 F-250 that is in great shape and has lasted us a long time. We love Fords and want to always stick with them for our truck needs. I also commend you for choosing not to take the bailout from the government. Choosing to go away from these heinous acts of abuse by pulling your support would do even more for your good reputation and help us make the public more aware about this abuse.

If you need more information, feel free to contact me and visit our blog at http://forthetnwalkinghorse.blogspot.com and our website at www.forthetwh.com  Thank you very much for your time.  Video link: http://youtu.be/gxVlxT_x-f0


Now for the list.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me or post them on the Facebook page.

USDA Contacts

Judge in McConnell Case - PLEASE be polite in your response!  Final sentencing is in September.

Harry S. Mattice, Jr., United States District Judge
900 Georgia Avenue, Room 104
Chattanooga TN 37402
Phone: 423-752-5184

Current Sponsors of the Celebration

J. Jordan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JJordanBoutiqueFashion
email: jjordanboutique@gmail.com
website: http://www.JJordanBoutique.com

Mark Pirtle Ford
Click for contact page
website: http://pirtleandhowertonford.dealerconnection.com/

Tennessee Farmers Co-Op
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TennesseeFarmersCooperative
Website: http://www.ourcoop.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TNFarmers
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/TnFarmersCooperative

Yearwood Equipment Co.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/YearwoodEquipmentCompany

phone: 931-433-3558
email: sales@yearwoodequipment.com
website: http://www.yearwoodequipment.com/

Celebration Feeds
website: http://celebrationfeeds.com/
Rockvale, TN: Joe Green, Phone 615-274-2661, JGreen@celebrationfeeds.com
Cookville, TN: David Stephenson, Phone 931-528-6565, dstephenson@celebrationfeeds.com
Shelbyville, TN: Marcen Jeffiers, Phone 931-685-5087, mjeffier@celebrationfeeds.com
Carthage, TN: Stacy Halliburton, Phone 615-735-9185
Columbia, TN: Craig Teal, Phone 931-388-1200
Franklin, TN: Ames Krebs, Phone 615-790-7860

Shelbyville Farm Center
Phone: 931-685-5087

I received the following info from Ford.  The links below have been changed accordingly.

"Please be advised that we are not a sponsor of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  The Mid-South Ford Dealers is the local association of Ford Dealers and they are independent from the company.  The sponsorship falls under their jurisdiction and was made independently from us."

Corporate Office - https://secure.corporate.ford.com/footer/contact-ford/contact-us-email?contactMainTopic=PublicAffairs

Mid-South Ford Dealers - Click here for the list of Dealers near Shelbyville, TN.  Choose the "View Website" link and then choose any links they might have that says "Contact Us."  You can check the bottom of the page for email addresses as well.

Cracker Barrel - CRACKER BARREL PULLED OUT OF THE CELEBRATION IN 2002. They are no longer sponsors.

Potential Sponsors of the Celebration
Keystone Light - I received the following very nice email from MillerCoors concerning this issue.  So no need to write to them--they do not support the Celebration.


I wanted to reach out about the recent allegations surrounding the treatment of Tennessee Walking Horses and provide the below statement from MillerCoors.

MillerCoors and its Keystone Light brand is not an official sponsor of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. We are shocked and horrified by recent allegations of the cruel treatment of Tennessee Walking Horses and do not support the inappropriate and unethical handling of animals.

Thank you for updating the information on your site.

Andy Bowman

Send your emails to the all the major board members: president, vice president, committee leaders, etc.  Or choose all of the email addresses...the more the merrier!

When writing to the HIOs, request that they ban McConnell the same way they banned Barney Davis.  The HIOs immediately banned Barney Davis BEFORE he went to trial, but they have not banned McConnell.  It's clear who's the money maker of the two for them.

Also, ask them to start putting together stronger penalties.  Perhaps a 3 strikes and you're out policy--three HPA violations (not rulebook violations) and you're banned for life.  Ask them to stop trying to placate the public and pretend these are isolated incidents and actually start working to end soring.  We all know soring is the main way of "training" these horses--it's high time it ended.

KYWHA - http://kywha.org/contact-us/
PRIDE - http://pridehio.com/wordpress/contact-us/  You can copy and paste all the email addresses into a single email.
SHOW - http://www.showhio.com/contactus.htm
SSHBEA - http://www.sshbea.org/contactus.html
WHOA - http://www.walkinghorseowners.com/about-whoa/  Scroll down to see the email addresses.

***NEW!  Ask them to stop attacking Keith Dane for exposing one of their own when they claim they are for the welfare of the horse; they should be shaking his hand, not kicking his ass.  Ask them to stop supporting the HPA violators and giving them high positions in their association.  Ask for changes in the by laws that anyone who has violated the HPA more than twice is not eligible to be on the board or an officer for life.  Ask that their Horse Protection Committee, which has HPA violators serving on it, to get active within the breed and actually protect the horse.
Executive Director - Ron Thomas, rthomas@twhbea.com, 931-359-0580
Executive Assistant - Diane White, dwhite@twhbea.com, 931-359-0581
President - Marty Irby, martyirby@msn.com, 615-796-5334, 931-233-0112
Senior Vice President - Margo Urad, murad@kandsins.com, 214-763-7379
Trainers Vice President - Wayne Dean, fredad@wildblue.net, 931-359-4808, 931-359-7326
Equine Welfare Vice President - Dr. Linda W. Montgomery, 615-210-4038
Find your local board representative on this page: http://www.twhbea.com/association/bod.php

The Celebration
http://twhnc.com/  email: twhnc@twhnc.com
The Celebration has banned McConnell from the show grounds for life!


SHELBYVILLE - In a precedent setting move, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration took decisive action today, both denouncing and condemning the actions of trainer Jackie McConnell, who was both videotaped abusing a horse and admitted to a Horse Protection Act violation in federal court today.
The TWHNC Board of Directors voted to suspend McConnell for life and also took the following action:

(1) suspended McConnell for life from entering the TWHNC grounds for any and events, regardless of the event's affiliation or ownership.

(2) voted to permanently remove Mr. McConnell's name from the list of Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Hall of Fame inductees. Any picture, plaque, image or other mention of his name from Hall of Fame data will be permanently removed from this day forward and his name will be forever erased from Hall of Fame rolls.

(3) voted to permanently remove any and all pictures and signage on the Celebration grounds carrying either the name of Jackie McConnell or the likeness.

(4) banned from entry onto the TWHNC grounds any horse under the custodianship or presumed to be under the custodianship of Mr. McConnell.

"This action is the strongest we can take and it clearly reflects our disgust with the actions of Mr. McConnell,"said Dr. Doyle Meadows, TWHNC CEO. "His actions are not reflective of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, and we in no way want him associated with our show."

***NEW!  The Tennessee Delegation

Ask them to sign onto the legislation with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), to increase the HPA budget to $5 million so as to end soring forever.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander: 202-224-4944; www.alexander.senate.gov/public/
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker: 202-224-3344; www.corker.senate.gov/public/
District 1 U.S. Rep. Phil Roe: 202-225-6356; http://roe.house.gov/
District 2 U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.: 202-225-5435; http://duncan.house.gov/
District 3 U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann: 202-225-3271; http://fleischmann.house.gov/
District 4 U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais: 202-225-6831; http://desjarlais.house.gov/
District 5 U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper: 202-225-4311; www.cooper.house.gov/
District 6 U.S. Rep. Diane Black: 202-225-4231; http://black.house.gov/
District 7 U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn: 202-225-2811; http://blackburn.house.gov/
District 8 U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher: 202-225-4714; http://fincher.house.gov/
District 9 U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen: 202-225-3265; http://cohen.house.gov/

Your Congressmen
It's best to write to the Congressmen in your state first.  On the Senator and House Reps links listed below, a short and easy search will take you to your Congressmen's pages, where you can use the contact forms to contact them.  On some Congressmen's pages, they will only allow you to contact them if you live in their zip code.  But zip codes can easily be found online at MelissaData for Tennessee and Kentucky.

Senators - choose the Find Your Senators option in the top right corner: http://www.senate.gov/
House Representatives - choose the Find Your Representatives option in the top right corner:  http://www.house.gov/
HSUS's Page for Congress Contact Information concerning the TWH: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5399&s_src=twhlanding

Thank Yous
Pepsi - For pulling their sponsorship from the Celebration: http://cr.pepsi.com/usen/pepsiusen.cfm?date=20120518
***NEW! Roy Exum - For helping keep the news in the spotlight: royexum@aol.com


Judy Rue said...

Just heard on News 2, TWH association has revoked James McConnell's license. He won't need it at the cross bar hotel anyway. My opinion on the suggestion of "3 strikes you're out." Oh, hell no. Once is too much. Remember the pain and suffering of the horses. Afterall, it is against the law and no one should be allowed to break the law 3 times before they're punished.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME. Thanks for letting us know, Judy. Was it TWHBEA that did this?

Well, there are SOME (very rare) times that people make the "mistake" of showing a horse with soring scars without knowing what they truly are. That is possible, but it's rare. So thta's why I suggested three strikes. But believe me, I'd rather it be one HPA violation--not necessarily an internal rule violation or anything like that, but an actual HPA violation--and you're out.

Anonymous said...

Since most big lick people are wealthy and after fame, I hope the government goes after their biggest and most expensive jewel--the Celebration, like they did a few years ago. Take all the prestige out of showing and make it a heck of a lot more legally risky to spend all that money each August! Just make it impossible for the BL people to operate? What would happen if, say, they were to do it for five straight years?

I would love to see cut and set tails, pads for anything but medicinal purposes, obvious whip and spur marks, bits over a certain size/shank length, and chains banned from ALL American show rings.

I am writing to the people above in support of the beautiful TWH horse, which I work with as a hippotherapy volunteer. Best horse on the planet. Thanks for your blog. Barbara Clark.

nancy said...

Hi, my name is Nancy and I live in the Netherlands. I wanted to know if it is possible for people from Holland to write letters as well. It makes me sick to see this horse abuse and I really would like to help for this to stop as soon as possible.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Absolutely you can write, Nancy. In fact, TWHBEA has an international section, so let them know that you won't tolerate their presence overseas if this continues. THANK YOU for asking, and thanks for your support!

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Hi Barbara, thanks so much for your support. We are lucky--so far Pepsi has taken away their Celebration sponsorship, and Ford might as well. We just have to make sure Keystone Light doesn't get in there. I hope the USDA really steps up their inspection for the Celebration this year so we see more horses caught. Thanks for your comment!

Beestrong said...

Wayne Dean's email
comes back as inoperable

Carol993 said...

Hi from the UK. We were horrified to see the undercover film footage filmed at MCconnells stables, it was truly upsetting to watch and no words can express how devestated we are for those poor horses and for the others we do not yet know about. My question is this....why are there no email or mailing addresses for the judges who place such importance on producing this grotesque and unatural gait? Without their input and obvious encouragement for the practice to continue, surely the practice would become fruitless? I notice that the website for the Tennessee Walking Horse Association has a picture of a poor horse displaying this awful 'high licking' gait as its banner!! I know nothing about this breed of horse or the terribly cruel practices which go on to 'train' them but there is never an excuse to maim and terrify defenceless animals for any reason but especially not in the persuit of fame, money or entertainment. Any judge placing a horse in a winning position, so obviously affected by the training methods now exposed to the world should stand in the dock alongside MCconnell and the rest of these criminals, for they are all as guilty ad each other.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Carol993, I added the judge's name and contact information to this post. We've also added some more corporate sponsors. So feel free to write and do what you can. You can also write to TWHBEA since they do have an International committee--let them know about how you feel about their continued support of animal abuse.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

I apologize, Carol993--I thought you meant the judge in charge of McConnell's case!

You can always write to TWHBEA to let them know that thy need to stop supporting these judging practices. Each HIO that runs their own rulebook and provides judges needs to be contacted as well. Their contact information is included on this post. Thank you so much for your concern and support from across the pond!

newengland said...

Thank you for all your great work on behalf of the abused Tennessee Walking Horses. Is there any way for you to provide contact information on the owners of these horses? Possibly if the owners were pressured, they would stop hiring trainers like McConnell? Just a thought

Carol993 said...

You are so welcome. Thankyou for adding that. I will definately write. We dont have tennesee walking horses in the uk...if we do, they must be few and far between as i have never seen one! The show associations etc are different to over here so I wouldnt know where or who to write to without your input. I will circulate it around our pond!!!

newengland said...

Can we talk more about the owners of the show horses? Why hasn't anyone been talking about the Johnson's?

newengland said...

Please contact the owners of these horse. Why hasn't anyone said anything about the Johnsons?

Unknown said...

Since ABC Nightline aired (May 16, 2012) the HSUS Video of the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horses on McConnell’s farm, I have not been able to get the intensely disturbing images out of my mind. As a result, I have conducted my own research, and it is obvious to me that although the practice of soring and other forms of abuse such as stewarding is illegal, it has gone on for years and continues to go on. The Horse Protection Act is clearly not enough to stop this cowardly and barbaric treatment. It simply must be shut down, starting perhaps with discouraging prize money for the Big Lick and eliminating chains altogether.As for McConnell, someone should sore and steward him!

Unknown said...

Since ABC Nightline aired (May 16, 2012) the HSUS Video of the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horses on McConnell’s farm, I have not been able to get the intensely disturbing images out of my mind. As a result, I have conducted my own research, and it is obvious to me that although the practice of soring and other forms of abuse such as stewarding is illegal, it has gone on for years and continues to go on. The Horse Protection Act is clearly not enough to stop this cowardly and barbaric treatment. It simply must be shut down, starting perhaps with discouraging prize money for the Big Lick and eliminating chains. Period.

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