"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, June 25, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - SHOW Condemns Cotten and Things Just Keep Piling Up...

I have more and more articles and "stuff" out there to keep the news alive...

First, SHOW reveals their true nature once again and condemns Joe Cotten for posting the photos on Facebook (click here for the first post about this).  From the Walking Horse Report...


Trainer Joe Cotten has been suspended for 7 ½ years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO), subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee. The suspension is effective immediately, will last until December 21, 2019 and was announced by SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins.

“This is one of the longest suspension ever issued to a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, even longer than what is required by the federal government,” said Mullins. “We take these violations seriously, and we are relieved to put this very troubling incident behind us.”

The penalty stems from Cotten’s action at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. on June 15. Cotten is charged with violating Section VI B 3 (a) (b) (c) (k) of the SHOW rulebook. Cotten knowingly filed false entry information while on suspension from one HIO and on probation with another.

In 2010, Cotten was issued a 6 month suspension, 2 year probation and a $2,500 fine for threatening a judge. The probation was from July 26, 2010 until July 26, 2012, and thus the incident at the Liberty Lions Club Show was a violation of that probation. At the request of his doctor, SHOW waived a portion of the 2010 penalty contingent upon Cotten attending anger management classes and seeking medical help.

Cotten also violated a suspension from the PRIDE HIO for a post-show scar rule violation. His PRIDE suspension ran June 11 through June 24.

At this year’s Liberty Lions Club Show, Cotten hired Marvin North, a full time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take his horses through inspection and put them in the ring. Cotten used North’s trainer’s license number and told North that he would pay any fines the horses received. This is the same violation which caused the indictment of Jackie McConnell and three of his employees.

Cotten entered five horses and falsified all of the entries, which is a violation of the Horse Protection Act. In addition, he was verbally abusive to SHOW officials and sent a vulgar text message to Dr. Mullins later in the show.

Days later, Cotten posted on Facebook graphic pictures of Jose’s Wine and Roses, a horse under his care, in which the horse’s front feet were badly injured. The Facebook posting has drawn widespread attention on the Internet and unfortunately casts a bad light on the walking horse industry.

The owner, Deborah Murphy, has corresponded with Dr. Mullins and denies that the horse was in the condition displayed on Cotten’s Face Book page when her husband picked the mare up from Landrum Stables and arrived at Cotten’s establishment. It appears that horse may actually have been shaved or clipped. Mr. Murphy picked up the horse immediately and took her to Dr. Brian Wright for treatment. Jose’s Wine and Roses has not been shown in 2012 and was shown only once at the 2011 National Futurity.

SHOW also suspended Marvin North for one year, fined him $1,000 and placed him on 4 year probation subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee.


SHAVED OR CLIPPED????  THAT'S your excuse?  Maybe shaved and clipped to show off the scarring! Even a person not involved in horses can see that those scars were not made in the past two weeks!

And I see how they pointed out that Cotten's violation is the same as McConnell's, but they certainly haven't suspended McConnell yet!  Do you realize how stupid you look, SHOW?  How clear it is that you want to keep protecting the GOBs and punish anyone who points out the problems?  I see you haven't addressed the fact that the Murphy's had the horse at Landrum's place...  Good Lord, these people are something else.

I'm glad this crap is going public, though.  It continues to point out how this industry is clearly NOT for the horse and wants to protect certain people.

I ran across this cartoon online...I think it sums up the TWH industry perfectly, especially SHOW.

When it comes to good news, the complaint against Keith Dane has been dropped and the hearing with TWHBEA won't be occurring after all.  Roy Exum tells us more...Click here for the article.


For weeks an eagerly-awaited showdown has loomed in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry after a lifetime member of the group’s Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association issued a challenge to fellow board member Keith Dane, who also heads the equine protection division for the Humane Society of the United States.

But, with little if any warning, a closed hearing to oust Dane from the group, which was scheduled for Friday in Lewisburg, was abruptly cancelled and a letter allegedly written by Kathy Zeis – who was identified as the person who lodged the formal complaint, leaves little doubt the longtime Walking Horse advocate was “thrown under the bus” by the SHOW group’s executive committee.

Dane, of course, fell under heavy scrutiny in May when he released an undercover video obtained by the Humane Society to the ABC news show, “Nightline.” The shocking video shows graphic footage of Collierville trainer Jackie McConnell beating a horse with an electric cattle prod and showed another horse “crying like a baby” due to the pain that was inflicted on other animals in McConnell’s barns.

But Zeis alleges her complaint against Dane was filed before the video ever appeared. “I lodged a complaint against Keith Dane on March 12, 2012. That complaint was returned to me and a protocol was sent to me to follow in order to file a complaint. As I understand several other people also filed a complaint but did not follow up with the complex protocol.

“My complaint was resubmitted and received by TWHBEA mid-April. The substance of my complaint was that in his public comments (Dane) has said as a representative of HSUS that all walking horses entering the ring are sored and doing an unnatural gait. He has also said that performance horses in particular are doing an unnatural gait that is achieved by soring. He believes that the USDA isn’t doing their job in keeping such horses out of the show ring.”

Obviously this isn’t the truth because many show animals are “clean” – as Dane has told news reporters numerous times – and he and Zeis share the belief that sound horses are still magnificent competitors. “If he had continued to advocate and work for sound horses I would have had absolutely no problem,” she wrote in her widely distributed letter.“

But (Dane) has come out as a director of TWHBEA and an officiate of HSUS,” Zeis wrote, “to say that all horses that enter the show ring are exhibiting an unnatural gait produced by soring and, with all the other opinions that he has put out, in my opinion he has done incalculable harm to the Tennessee Walking Show Horse and to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association.”

After Zeis’ complaint, things soon began to get muddy. With the McConnell tape going viral and thousands of violations of the federal Horse Protection Act quickly coming to light, Zeis wrote, “I am saddened that the TWHBEA Executive Committee doesn’t have the same devotion to the breed that many of its owners do and promote and defend all disciplines of the breed that are trained soundly regardless of the division or discipline. Just as I have defended the pleasure horse when that wasn’t popular at TWHBEA I now defend the performance horse when he is trained correctly.”

Three veterinarians’ group have harpooned the walking horse industry this week, Jackie McConell is getting ready for state charges and federal actions will begin next month in Tennessee. Public perception is at an all-time low and veteran trainers are rightfully worried that signs of violations and abuse still persist.

So why did she withdraw her complaint just two weeks ago? She felt betrayed. “I am withdrawing my complaint due to the fact that even though all the protocols in the past have deemed that a complaint be kept confidential, this one was put out to the national press and public by TWHBEA’s President Marty Irby.”

Zeis said that since she was bound on confidentiality, “I have received threatening and abusive e-mails from the public without any knowledge of what my complaint was about or what I was trying to accomplish.”

There is some belief Zeis was being used as a pawn – since public sentiment was solidly behind Dane and an ever-growing disdain for abusing Walking Horses has reached both the state and federal governments, so Zeis did what any of us would have done – dropped the complaint squarely on the toes of Marty Irby and his now beleaguered Executive Committee.

“I believe in this breed. I believe in the owners. I believe in the trainers who want to use correct training methods,” she wrote. “I believe that there needs to be an objective qualitative way to judge that a horse has been abused - not a subjective test that can cause a person who is not guilty to be punished because his horse is acting like a horse. I also believe in timely intervention when abuse is detected."


Zeis' entire letter has been released online--unfortunately I can't find the link to it right now.

Quite frankly, her whining is ridiculous.  She is a violator herself and helped start up FAST, the group that currently provides funds to keep the sore horse in the ring and blatantly is against the USDA mandated penalties.  When she was on the board with WHOA and WHOA decided to agree to the mandated penalties (but have since withdrawn that agreement), she jumped ship, stating she "disagreed" with their decision.  She has a lot of lip service here, but actions speak louder than words.

Next, Roy Exum continues to delight the sound horse community by keeping up on the sore horse goings on.  I also realized I thought I had posted all of his pieces, but I hadn't, so some of these are from early June and May since I didn't realize I hadn't posted them.  Articles are in reverse chronological order.

Cruelty on Facebook - June 25, 2012

A Walking Horse "No Show" - June 23, 2012

Horse Trainers Now Galloping - June 22, 2012

Veterinarians Decry Horse Abuse - June 15, 2012

The USDA is Trying At Least - June 8, 2012

I'm No Courageous Hero - June 2, 2012

Tennessee's New "Horse" Bill - May 30, 2012

And click here for where I've posted other pieces by Roy.  Plus I have some of his pieces scattered throughout the blog--do a search in the box in the upper right corner of this blog for "Roy Exum" to find them.

There is more good news as well: Monty Roberts has dropped out of the Tennessee Walking Horses of Today Equine Conference (TTEC) this coming weekend, the TWH horse conference put on by FAST.  Here's their revised schedule.  Some crazy yahoo named Tim Scarberry is taking his place who thinks training means riding your horse up to the top of a trailer and standing on his back while cracking a bullwhip and running a chainsaw.  You can read about his quality *snicker* training here.  Whatever.  Sam Powell will also be speaking, and holding a clinic.  Yeah, I said the same thing: Who?  So head on over and pay your $150 to continue to keep the sore horse in the ring!

I'm glad that Monty has dropped out.  I'm proud of all of you who wrote to him and expressed your desire for him to not support this industry.  I have a lot more respect for him now.  He did say on his FB page that maybe we're right: maybe he shouldn't go where he's needed, maybe he shouldn't go to women's crisis centers and prisons to help rehab people.  But I pointed out that these are not people who want to be rehabbed.  Those places you go to are designed to help the people who are there and rehab them.  The BL industry is designed to KEEP the sore horse in the ring, and they only want Monty there to make it look like he endorses what they're doing.  In fact, he stated on his FB page that when he was at Waterfall Farms in 2006, they brought in JFK on stacks for a round pen session without him knowing they were going to do it.  He said he told the owner later that he didn't agree with the stacks and knows they're harmful.  But why didn't he say that in front of the crowd and expressed his opinion in the open?  Poor JFK couldn't even perform join up, and it was clear from the video online that he was having a hard time.  I hope that Monty has taken to heart the true reason the TWH industry wants him there and will consider checking out FOSH, NWHA, or one of the sound TWH groups and giving his help where it's actually needed.

And finally, just to compare...

USDA showed up at two shows this past week: the NWHA Ohio Classic in Wilmington, OH and the SHOW 1st Annual Col. Sam Gibbons Memorial Walking Horse Show in Athens, AL.

The NWHA show was June 22 and 23 with 104 classes.  I don't know if any classes were canceled.  They had about 100 horses with over 400 entries--NO VIOLATIONS. I was told by a lady who was there who volunteered that one of the VMOs came up to her and told her how wonderful NWHA is and how easy they are to work with.

The SHOW show was June 22 with 33 classes.  They had 12 horses with 12 entries over 7 classes. SHOW is blaming the VMO being at their show for the lack of entries.

Hmmm...does anyone see a pattern here?

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