"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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

HOW YOU CAN HELP - Current List of House and Senate Members Who Are Not Co-Sponsors of the PAST Act

I received this really well written list of the current House and Senate members who are not signed on as co-sponsors for the PAST Act.  I've included it as a PDF file so you can download it and use it.  This list is dated as of 12-18-13, so some of these folks might have already signed on at the time of this post.  But at least we can still work with them and ask them to co-sponsor the Act.

Click here for the list.

We are learning that phone calls and faxes are the best way to contact these folks.  So please go to www.senate.gov or www.house.gov and choose the search feature in the upper right corner.  If it won't let you contact someone due to your location, find the city's local library or cemetery and use their address so you can get your letter in to the constituent.

Right now the Senate and House will be closed for the holidays, but writing and calling is still a good way to fill in your time between waiting for the food to be ready to come out of the oven and setting the table!  They will have full fax machines and message boxes when they come in from people supporting the horse and the PAST Act!

Thanks to all, and I hope everyone gets some time with family and friends this holiday season.  Extra love and carrots to all the horses, too!

Monday, December 16, 2013

HOW YOU CAN HELP - An Amazing Letter to Send to Your Senators

This letter by Carl Bledsoe was sent to Congressman Whitfield concerning soring and how it's still rampant.  He points out some amazing truths about why this practice is still going on.  He also talks about how getting rid of the BL horse in his barn has created some amazing new ventures for him.  We need to point this out to our Congresspersons: getting rid of the BL won't devastate the industry; in fact, it will help it!

Carl said to spread this letter far and wide and to send it along with your emails and letters to your Senators to express how important passing the PAST Act is.

It is also VERY important to keep contacting Senators and Reps who are already on the bill.  I found out there are people working from the inside to stop this, so we need to thank those who have already co-sponsored the bill and tell them why we need them to stick with it.

Check out our previous post for some of the Senators that need to be contacted, but remember: we need to work with all of them!


Dear Sir:

My name is Carl Bledsoe. I'm writing this letter to you regarding the soring problem within the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry. I was a second generation Tennessee Walking Horse trainer ("was" being the key word) licensed through the Walking Horse Trainers Association, license #88035. I have not renewed my license in the last year and a half. I live in small town about and 1.5 hours north of Atlanta. I grew up in the industry, being the son of a trainer as well, and I feel that I can share a perspective from the inside.

About five years ago, it became abundantly clear to me that the training methods used on our breed for show purposes was completely wrong. Growing up in the industry, it was common place to use these methods to prepare these horses for competition and/or sale. I've seen and have used every sort of caustic agent that can be used to enhance and to achieve the "big lick" gait. It excited me to see one sit down on his hocks and step up against the chains and "reach" and now I realize that the horse was put in a great deal of pain, physically and emotionally, and it was simply struggling to move. It sickens me now to realize the difference. There is no way physically possible for these horses to perform this desired "big lick" without the following:

*chemicals - Mustard oil, Croton oil, lamp oil, Kerosene, diesel fuel, Amoco white gas, hand cleaner, Dawn dish detergent, Iodine, Ether, baby oil, Scarlet oil, Castor oil, Glycerin, W-D 40 (my personal favorite) or a combination of these chemicals

*pressure shoeing (upon request, I can explain in detail)

The industry will argue the point that they are 98% compliant simply because they are still able to pass inspection due to the fact that the soring is done several days prior to competition while ignoring the fact that the soring still took place. That's why I believe the only way to eliminate the pain inflicted on the horses and end the abuse is to remove the "packages and chains". This group of people is conditioned to believing that there is a difference between a "show ready" horse versus a "sore horse". Also, many owners pretend that they are unaware of the abuse because they are not present when it takes place.

Along with soring horses for competition, I have also been a party to pay offs in the show arena and the inspection arena as well. These accusations will be hard to prove, although they do exist.

I've been at a cross roads with whether or not I should share my story for the last three years. I've been very hesitant because of the long arm of retaliation within the industry. I finally made the decision this spring to remove all performance horses from my barn and no longer train horses with any shoes other than keg shoes. This was a difficult decision because not only was it my only means of income, it was also a huge part of my life as I had always known it. It's amazing at the number of friendships lost when you decide to take a stand for what's right. I choose the horse in this situation. With that being said, I'm happier now than I've ever been. I now work with all breeds and disciplines and I am now able to enjoy my job by helping others learn to communicate with their horses rather than intimidate them.

Should you need to speak with me regarding any of the above state information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to assist you in any way possible with this effort.


Carl Bledsoe

Thursday, December 12, 2013

HOW YOU CAN HELP and NEWS - We're On The Right Track; Priscilla Presley Helps Support the PAST Act

We're moving right along in seeing more and more Congresspersons supporting the PAST Act.  We're now up to 245 via GovTrack.

Click here to the link to the bill on GovTrack.  Click "show" under the co-sponsors section to see the list of supporters.

Thanks to one of our sound horse warrior's dedication, here's a list of Senators that we can contact that will be people who can help us with co-sponsorships.  This list is meant as a guide only--it doesn't mean to not contact other Senators who haven't co-sponsored yet.

Senators with a * scored high on the HSLF (Humane Society Legislation Fund) score card at 50 or more.

If a Senator has a WFC (Welfare Committee) behind their name, it means they belong to the Senate sub-committee, were the Bill is right now.

If a Senator has another name after theirs, it means that other Senator from that state has already co-sponsored the Bill.  Let the Senator you contact know the other Senator from his/her state supports this bill.

California - Barbara Boxer* (D) 202-224-3553, senator@boxer.senate.gov
California -Diane Feinstein* (D) 202-224-3841, senator@feinstein.gov

Hawaii - Mazie Hirono (D)* 202-224-3934 Brian Schatz has signed.

Iowa - Chuck Grassley (R) 202-224-3744 chuck_grassley@grassley.senate.gov  WFC
(email could also be chuck-grassley@grassley.senate.gov or chuck grassley@grassley.senate.gov)
Iowa - Tom Harkin (D) 202-224-3254

Idaho - James Risch (R) 202-224-2752  Mike Crapo has signed.

Indiana - Daniel Coats (R) 202-224-5623
Indiana - Joe Donnally (D) 202-224-4814

Kansas - Jerry Moran (R) 202-224-6521
Kansas - Pat Robert (R) 202-224-4774

Maine - Angus King (I) 202-224-5334  Susan Collins has signed.

Michigan - Debbie Stabenow* (D) 202-224-4822 senator@stebenow.senate.gov Carl Levin has signed.

Montana - Max Baucus (D) 202-224-5721 max@baucus.senate.gov

Maryland - Barbara Mikulski (D) senator@mikulski.senate.gov 

Nebraska - Deb Fisher (R) 202-224-6551
Nebraska - Mike Johanns (R) 202-224-4224  WFC

New Hampshire - Jeanne Shaheen (D) 202-224-2841  Kelly Ayotte has signed.

New Jersey - Cory Booker* (D) 202-224-3224  Robert Menendez has signed.

New Mexico Tom Udall* (D) 202-224-6621  Martin Heinrick has signed.

New York Charles Schumer* (D) 202-224-6542  Gillibrand has signed.

Pennsylvania - Robert Casy (D) 202-224-6324  WFC

Rhode Island - Jack Reed* (D) 202-224-4642 jack@reed.senate.gov

Wisconsin - Ron Johnson (D) 202-224-5323  Tammy Baldwin has signed.

In other news, Priscilla Presley, wife of the King, Elvis Presley, has also asked that we support the PAST Act.  Elvis used to own TWHs, and he did have a horse that was stacked and shown (not by him).  However, as far as I understand, once they found out what was truly going on, they went to solely flat shod horses.  Since Elvis's death, at least one TWH has always been kept at Graceland in honor of his love for the breed.  So I'm sure Ms. Presley knows a lot about the inner workings of what goes on with these people and certainly what happens to the horses.

Keep it up, folks...we're on the right track!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - TWHBEA Disappoints the Sound Members Again, But There Is an Alternative

Some of you might already know about this, but I'll post it anyway.

Unfortunately, even after all of our hard work to get sound supporters on the board, the Lickers still prevailed.  There just weren't enough sound people voted onto the board--it was a simple fact of numbers.  Plus, I know a lot of folks who are on the sound side couldn't make it because of the weather, and since TWHBEA is still living in the 1960s, they won't allow conference calls to make these decisions per their by-laws.

So, the Lickers, as predicted, ignored Pat Stout's poll and the clear requests to vote sound by the members.

Side note: Last year, any of the directors put together a request to start allowing conference calls and electronic voting.  It was shown how much money it would save TWHBEA than sending out paper ballots (to the tune of thousands of dollars).  They denied the request.  I speculate that it's most likely because they know that the Lickers will lose control of TWHBEA if they actually allow anyone outside of TN to vote or participate electronically.

From the Walking Horse Chat (and yes, WHC is pro-Big Lick)...


Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association's International Board of Directors overwhelmingly supported a motion to oppose the legislation introduced by Congressman Ed Whitfield at its annual board meeting on December 7, 2013. The motion read as follows:

The International Board of Directors of the TWHBEA strongly opposes the legislation introduced by Representative Whitfield in the U.S. House of Representatives; the legislation introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte in the U.S. Senate; and any other legislation which would make it illegal to ride or show a sound Tennessee Walking Horse.

Both of these proposed laws would make it a federal crime to show sound, healthy Tennessee Walking Horses which have never been sored, unless those horses are shown barefooted or in an "unweighted" shoe.

The great majority of Tennessee Walking Horses are shown in weighted shoes and some in pads and action devices, meeting the strict guidelines of the various divisions and the detailed regulations of the USDA. This equipment does not harm the horse.

These proposed laws would also abolish the HIO inspection system now approved and supervised by the USDA. If this system is abolished, the great majority of show horses will not be inspected or protected.

The International Board of Directors of the TWHBEA strongly supports working with the USDA and other appropriate industry stakeholders to identify and use objective, scientifically reliable testing methods to identify and eliminate sore horses.


Never mind the fact that TWHBEA was sent a letter by Congressmen Whitfield and Cohen explaining exactly what the "weighted shoes" portion of the PAST Act will mean, and the OIG report of 2010 that proved that the HIOs are not doing their jobs.

In their ongoing effort to keep the sore horse in the ring, they have also re-retracted their attack on Pat Stout.  Of course, this makes no sense...but here are the facts from Billy Go Boy's website.  Click here for their article.


Posted on December 7, 2013

LEWISBURG, TN – The TWHBEA Directors elected a new Executive Committee, and a Director from Texas Everett “Butch” Allen who campaigned on a radical Big Lick platform made a Motion to send the Pat Stout matter back to the Enforcement Committee. The Motion passed.  It is not clear what the Enforcement Committee is supposed to do. The new Chairman of the Enforcement Committee is Tom Kakassy who was one of the biased conflicted persons who quarterbacked the September 27, 2013 lynch mob which tried to excommunicate Pat Stout at that time for Polling the TWHBEA membership on the HR 1518/S 1406 legislation. Kakassy prepared a Complaint and distributed it at the meeting, but did not pay the $250.00 and file it.

The former Executive Committee on whose watch all of it happened, after reviewing an Enforcement Committee report by Denise Bader Keyser, voted unanimously on Friday, December 6, 2013 to dismiss all matters involving Pat Stout.

Pat Stout, VP Horse Shows, sent ballots to 6,945 TWHBEA members seeking a YES or NO vote on HR 1518, PAST Act. The TWHBEA members voted a landslide 63% in favor of passage of HR 1518/S1406, PAST Act, which will remove the pads and chains from show horses, eliminate the corrupt HIO self regulation system and make Horse Soring a federal felony. An outstanding 26% of the members participated in the Poll.

The new Executive Committee is expected to now oppose HR 1518/S 1406 against the expressed will of its members. It will be interesting to see if they want to try and make a martyr out of Pat Stout for just asking the members how they felt on an ultimately important issue.

The newly elected Executive Committee is:

Pres. Stephen Smith – (HPA VIOLATION)
Senior VP Walter Chism;
Admin/fiscal Christy Lantis;
Breeders David Williams; (EMPLOYED BY HPA VIOLATOR)
Exhibitors Denise Keyser; (HUSBAND – HPA VIOLATION)
Performance Ford Gates;
Pleasure Jessica Hlebak;
Marketing Ashley Wadsworth;
Training/welfare Dr Lynda Montgomery; (HPA VIOLATION)
Bylaws/ enforcement Tom Kakassy; – (“PROUD” HPA VIOLATOR)
Youth Sherrie White;
Secretary Loren Sanderson


So, I don't know about any of you, but I'm going to be asking for my money back.  TWHBEA clearly does not care about their members' opinions, needs and wants...so why should I care about them?

Now, as an alternative, I want to talk about a new association: The World Walking Horse Association.

This has actually been a goal of mine for quite some time, but someone else beat me to it!  Honestly, I'm so thrilled to actually be a part of this, though.  I heard about it, contacted the WWHA, and they were kind enough to offer me a position as Vice President of Operations.  I am also in charge of the breed registration portion of the association.

To explain, the World Walking Horse Association is going to be an alternative for those who don't want to register their horses, show, or affiliate their activities with any of the HIOs or associations that are supporting the sore horse.  WWHA has two major missions: to be both FOR THE HORSE and FOR THE MEMBERS.

WWHA has announced we are FOR the PAST Act, and the goal is to provide a safe and sound location for all Walking Horse (WH) activities, including showing, trail riding, competitive riding, versatility, youth programs, registration, etc.  The goal within the next year will be to ask all the sound HIOs, local clubs, 4-H groups, trail riding associations, competitive trail associations, and all kinds of places where WHs are being shown and ridden so people can gain points to win high-point awards with WWHA.  We will recognize horses for their achievements in ALL areas of riding, not just the show ring.  We also will put together a dressage program and maybe one day (dream of all dreams) work with the USEF to get the WH into their good graces.  We want to include everyone, no matter their age or affiliations.  Eventually, we will have WWHA shows and events where the focus is NOT what's on the horses' feet, but rather the horse's way of going.

We are still working out lots of details.  You can read all about what we're doing on the website.  January 1st will be when we roll out the registration (including a hardship registry for horses that are at least 1/2 WH).  We're also going to have a contest where members can present new ideas for logos and members can vote on the official logo for WWHA.  We're going to keep you UTD on all our happenings on our Facebook page: click here.

We really, really want to provide a place that is truly focusing on the horse and the members, where members have a voice, and that voice is to protect the horse.  So I hope you will consider joining us!  Stay tuned to the WWHA website and FB page for more!

Friday, December 6, 2013

WE NEED YOUR HELP - New Facebook Page Needs Support!

Hello friends.  A new Facebook page has cropped up, and I swear FTTWH didn't make it!  This is a great page where you can show your support of the PAST Act by "liking" the page.  You can also keep up on soring issues and learn how to better contact your Congresspersons and get involved.

In honor of the late Nelson Mandela.  I believe he would've supporting the PAST Act, too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

BREAKING NEWS - Larry Wheelon and Three Others Indicted by Grand Jury for Animal Cruelty

**EDITED 12-4-13 to include the final article listed**

I don't think my day could get any better than this.  Click here for the article from The Daily Times.


Wheelon, Gunter, Lunsford, Primm indicted for animal cruelty by grand jury
Iva Butler (ivab@thedailytimes.com)

Four men were indicted by the Blount County Grand Jury Monday with 17 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, including long-time Blount County Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Larry Joe Wheelon, 68.

All four men turned themselves in at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday and were free on bond by 9:45 p.m.

Wheelon and his employees Randall Stacy Gunter, 44, and Brandon Randall Lunsford, 32, were indicted on charges of aggravated animal cruelty (conspiracy to commit aggravated cruelty to livestock) and aggravated animal cruelty.

They are all three free on $10,000 bond each.

Farrier Blake Tanner Primm, 44, was indicted on aggravated animal cruelty (conspiracy to commit aggravated cruelty to Livestock. He is free on $5,000 bond.

All three are to appear in Blount County Circuit Court on Monday, Dec. 9.


There's also this article from the Tennessean.  Click here to read it.

Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, show judge indicted for animal cruelty 
Dec. 4, 2013

A Tennessee Walking Horse trainer who has served as a show judge and on an industry group’s ethics committee was indicted Monday on animal cruelty charges related to a soring case earlier this year.

Larry Joe Wheelon, a Maryville, Tenn., trainer, along with Randall Stacy Gunter, Brandon Lunsford and Blake T. Primm, are accused of applying acid to walking horses “in a depraved and sadistic manner” for “competition in horse shows,” the indictment reads.

The only horse specifically named in the indictment is Jose’s Happy Feet/Laura Kate.

Similar charges were filed against Wheelon and the others in the spring, but were dismissed after a prosecutor’s misstep during an August preliminary hearing. Wheelon was at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration days later and said that he was innocent of the charges all along and was suffering financially because the horses he had been training were seized as part of the case.

Wheelon formerly sat on the ethics committee of the Walking Horse Trainers Association and was a judge for Shelbyville-based SHOW, a horse inspection and judging group.

Unscrupulous trainers burn walking horses’ pasterns to induce the breed’s naturally longer, higher gait. The process is called soring.

Check with Tennessean.com later today for more on this story.


Here's that "later today" story.  Great stuff!  Click here for the article.  Click here for the video from the April raid.

Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, show judge indicted for animal cruelty
By Heidi Hall
Dec. 4, 2013

Maryville, Tenn., horse trainer Larry Wheelon stood outside the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration stadium in August, days after animal abuse charges against him were dropped on a technicality, upset that horses seized as evidence in the case were not being returned.

He’d been attending the sport’s premier event in Shelbyville for decades — a respected show judge and ethics committee member for the Walking Horse Trainers Association — but with the horses he trained in the hands of animal rehabilitation groups, Wheelon couldn’t compete, only watch and insist that he didn’t hurt any animals.

Now, he’ll get an opportunity to prove it in court.

A Blount County grand jury handed down indictments Monday on felony charges of aggravated cruelty to livestock animals and conspiracy to commit that cruelty in connection with the same investigation that first named Wheelon, 68, in the spring.

Specifically, Wheelon and two other men — Randall Stacy Gunter and Brandon Lunsford — are accused of abusing 16 horses named in the indictments, either chemically burning their legs or irritating the quicks of their hooves.

A fourth man, farrier Blake T. Primm, is named in the case of only one horse. All are due in court on Monday.

The process is called soring, long used by unscrupulous trainers to emphasize the breed’s naturally longer, higher gait because it pains the horse to put its feet down.

After a year-long investigation, workers with the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other animal protection groups executed a search warrant at Wheelon’s Maryville stables.

What they found was horrifying, said Kellie Bachman, a Blount County SPCA investigator and former police officer who presented evidence to the grand jury. And seeing the charges dismissed against Wheelon for an assistant district attorney’s misstep at a probable cause hearing was devastating.

“The horses were down, they were moaning, they were casting themselves, their legs were all wrapped,” Bachman said. “It was pretty brutal.

“To be able to go before the grand jury and talk to 12 people I didn’t know, to say it in front of (District Attorney General) Mike Flynn, it was therapeutic. Like having a weight lifted off my shoulders.’’

She said 19 horses seized were returned to Wheelon after the initial charges were dismissed. She doesn’t know where they are now.

No one returned a call left at a Maryville listing for Wheelon. Neither Flynn nor Rob White, the attorney who represented Wheelon earlier this year, returned messages left at their offices.

SHOW, the Shelbyville-based horse show inspection and judging group that licensed Wheelon, suspended that license Wednesday — as it had the first time Wheelon was charged.

The Performance Show Horse Association issued a statement pointing out that these were state charges, not violations of the federal Horse Protection Act. The group is lobbying against an amendment to the act, HR 1518, that would lead to tougher penalties against trainers caught soring and ban the tall horseshoes and pastern chains that mark the breed’s elite performance division. The industry is already cleaning up abuse on its own, the group contends, citing figures showing a 28 percent improvement in Horse Protection Act compliance since 2009.

Industry detractors contend that trainers are just getting better at hiding evidence of soring during horse show inspections.

The Humane Society of the United States supports HR 1518. Its equine protection division director, Keith Dane, said Wednesday he was pleased Wheelon will have his day in court.

The HSUS released a stomach-turning undercover video in May 2012 of trainer Jackie McConnell soring a horse in his Collierville, Tenn., stable, which led to a conviction on federal charges and national attention to the problem of soring.

“The public will be allowed to judge for itself whether Jackie McConnell was one bad apple, Larry Wheelon was another, or — with all the trainers with all their Horse Protection Act violations — if the whole barrel is bad apples,” Dane said.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ARTICLES - "Why do facts not matter to some people?"

After a...well, let's call it "lively" discussion concerning a young man who supports people who sore horses and the BL and the fact that he called me the C-word (among other things) because I am against soring and the Big Lick, I realized how true this article really is.

This is an article from Quora, which you might have to be a member of to read it.  So I've copied and pasted it below.  (My apologies to Quora).  Click here for the link to the article.

As I was having this "discussion" with this young man, he would say things like the PAST Act is going to eliminate all horse shoes, even keg shoes.  I posted the letter from Reps Cohen and Whitfield stating that it would not eliminate all horse shoes.  Click here for the letter.  He ignored it.

He then stated that the Auburn Study said that pads actually protect the horses.  I posted the Auburn Study cover letter that explained how the vets in the Auburn Study said that stacks actually caused more instances of laminitis, contracted heels, thrush, and other problems.  Click here for the cover letter.  He ignored it.

At one point in the "discussion," the young man claimed he never called one of the other people in the discussion names.  I then copied and pasted his posts for him where he called the guy a liar, a deceiver, and some other choice words.  He ignored it.

He kept pointing out how there's abuse in other breeds.  We said stay on topic--the HPA is the ONLY federal law against a specific type of abuse against horses.  When people are ready to pass a law stating that X abuse in X discipline is illegal, then we'll jump on that that bandwagon.  He ignored it.

He started talking about ear cropped and tail docking in dogs, and basically said, "You are okay with that, right?"  I said quite frankly, no, and what does that have to do with anything?  We're talking about horses, not dogs.  He ignored it.

I could go on and on, but this kid was clearly just not getting it and not believing the facts we were presenting him.  So the below article really explains why this phenomenon happens.  It's pretty incredible.  It also explains why we need to keep at our Congresspersons to get them to sign on to the PAST Act and to make it an amendment to the HPA.  These people who support the BL and soring aren't going to change their minds because they're not willing to do so.  Some will, of course, and some certainly have.  But it's not enough.  So instead, we need to focus on the lawmakers and people who can make a change rather than expecting a change to come from within.

I will have more information on who to contact soon, and I am still transcribing the hearing.  But keep calling, faxing and emailing.  The Lickers will be in DC with their "facts" on December 10, so get your information in before then!  Stay tuned!

Quora Article Link

Question: Why do facts not matter to some people?
I understand that when people have already made up their mind in certain regards, facts only bolster their opinions in believing their delusions. Why is this? Also does anyone have any articles related to this principle?

Answer from Adam Mordecai
Facts do matter to most people. They just aren't trained or taught how to hear them, because psychologically speaking, they are protecting themselves.

Linked articles:
In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter
How Facts Backfire

"Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger."

Anyone strongly devoted to a set of ideas or beliefs generally comes to them over a long period of time. Think of their brain as a dam. If the dam starts to crack, it deteriorates. If the dam breaks, then they have to question everything they've learned and known to be completely true for the last x years.

That means their friends, everything they've read, everything their parents taught them, everything their culture taught them could be a lie.

With that math, you have two choices:
1) ignore the one fact in front of you, or
2) accept it and question every belief you've ever had about everything you know.

#2 is too large a leap for the majority of people.

If it's something innocuous, they can hear you, but if you provide evidence of something that would make them question their entire belief system, their defense mechanisms kick in. Or if they face their reality, thanks to being exposed physically to the truth, rather than you sharing some stats, this can happen:

Facts are cold, impersonal details that have no connection to that person's reality. In order for them to really hear you, they need to personally connect to it. Thus, you have Nancy Reagan supporting stem cell research, and Rush Limbaugh supporting drug rehabilitation and Dick Cheney being okay with gay people. Until a person personally experiences something to counter what they believe, they will ignore the facts and trust everything they've already been taught.

The good news is, if you become adept at connecting to people personally, they'll be more inclined to ease off their shutdown switch and hear you. Problem is, you have to do it one person at a time.

I heard an amazing story recently about a group of immigration rights activists who were marching on Washington, walking from Florida. Along the way they participated in town halls. At a town hall in SC, an old white guy got up, and started yelling at them, accusing them of murdering his wife, because they were using all the medical resources that would otherwise have gone to his wife and the organ transplant she needed. Fox News had told him all about it.

Rather than responding with facts like "immigrants don't use any resources unless they are on the verge of death, for fear of being caught and deported," the activist, Juan, told the story of how 23 members of his Colombian upper middle class family sought political asylum in the US to protect them from being assassinated, how they were rejected, and how they went underground to save their lives, and went from being doctors and lawyers to janitors and maids. They went from having a bunch of homes for their extended families, to all living under one roof in a small two-bedroom house. They were then slowly deported one by one, starting with Juan's mother, until all that was left was Juan, his mentally handicapped sister, and his dad. Juan got into college, and then his dad and sister got deported.

After he had made a personal connection about losing family with the old white guy, then he shared all the facts.

The old man ended up crying and hugging Juan, apologized for not understanding the truth, and wished them well on their journey, stating that he would be more careful about what he believes from now on.

[Broken link here]

If an old white guy in SC and an immigration activist can hug and break bread, then facts can matter. You just have to make a personal connection first to get people to open up and listen.

And then stop them from watching any TV news ever again, so they don't get the wrong impression.

Friday, November 22, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - WOW. Reporters Everywhere Are Weighing In on the PAST Act

Seriously.  Just WOW.

Here's a list of amazing articles that are popping up all over the place concerning the PAST Act.  I'm not going to copy and paste here, just give a list of the articles.

What amazes me is that many of these people are not horse owners, and even they can see the logic behind the bill and are all for passing it.  Of course, the Industry wants to make you think that if you don't own a horse, you don't know what you're talking about, especially if you don't own a Big Lick horses.  Well la-dee-da.

Look folks: abuse is abuse is abuse.  The PAST Act removes the tools that have been used to abuse horses for the past 43+ years.  That's it.  The Industry continues to claim that they can take care of it.  I would think that if you really wanted to take care of it, you would've done it 43 years ago when the HPA was introduced.  FOSH, NWHA and IWHA have all proven they can have sound horse shows with zero violations at every show.  Why can't the Industry do it?  Well...we all know the answer to that.

So, lots of reading for the weekend in between running around and getting ready for next week's holiday (in America).  Enjoy!

Also, as a bonus, we ask that you PLEASE SIGN the below petition!  We need all the help we can get!  Feel free to share this as well!

House of Representatives, Senate: Recognize that sponsorship and passage of the PAST Act, an amendment to the Horse Protection Act, will help to create value in the Tennessee Walking Horse and economic advantages to its industry.

Fact-Checking Knoxville’s ABC News affiliate: Tennessee Walking Horses
Adam McCauley, his personal blog, November 22, 2013

Marsha Blackburn, Horse Soring and HB1518
Blackburn Sides With Animal Abusers
John M Disque, East TN News, 11/21/2013

Roy Exum: Horseman’s Leap Of Faith
Roy Exum, The Chattanoogan, Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lawmakers silent on horse bill
Opinion piece, The Tennessean, Nov. 19, 2013

This Man Refuses To Be Intimidated By Threat After Testifying On Horse Abuse
Christina Wilkie, The Huffington Post, 11/19/2013

Roy Exum: Rep. Blackburn Draws Fury
Roy Exum, The Chattanoogan, Monday, November 18, 2013

Marsha Blackburn's Cold, Cold Heart
Leslie Parsley, Parsley's Pics, Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why This Congresswoman Opposes Effort To End Horrifying Horse Abuse
Christina Wilkie, The Huffington Post, 11/16/2013

Horse soring is subject of vigorous D.C. debate
Paul C. Barton, The Tennesseesan, Nov 14, 2013

Postmortem: Abuse in Tennessee Walking Horse community
Adam McCauley, his pesonal blog, November 13, 2013

Lawmakers Clash Over Championship Horse Abuse Bill
Megan Chuchmach and Shushannah Walshe, ABC News, Nov 13, 2013

Congress scrutinizes show-horse industry practice of ‘soring’
Ali Watkins, McClatchy Washington Bureau, Charlotte Observer, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013

Tennessee horse country tries to fight off persistent abuse allegations
Adam McCauley, Aljazeera America, November 9, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - Visit Billy Go Boy for LOTS of Links; Something Important to Think About

The articles about the hearing are pouring in, and Billy Go Boy has done the hard work for me!  Thanks, BGB!

However, I do want to point out one very upsetting article.

Marty Irby, our new champion for the TWH who has experienced soring his entire life first hand, contacted the police about a horribly threatening text message sent to him on his phone.  Read the article for more.

Marty testified at the hearing on November 13, explaining about his own experience within a lifetime of dealing with soring.  Since coming out against soring and working so hard to help end it, Marty's wife has left him, his parents won't speak to him, an entire industry has sent him death threats.  He has had to move out of Tennessee to keep himself safe. 

Here's the comment posted on the above article by his father, Ty Irby.

Here is a picture and two videos Ty Irby posted on his Facebook page.  These were taken BEFORE Marty decided to leave the industry.  (You can click the photos to make them larger to see the comments.)



(I should probably point out that a lot of those within the TWH industry believe that Marty is being paid by the HSUS to do this.  Believe me, he is not.  But they're going to spread whatever lies they want to try to justify that making money off of abusing animals is okay.  And never mind that Marsha Blackburn was paid $70,000 by the BL industry to fight to stop the PAST Act...)

Please note: I AM NOT ENDORSING GOING ON IRBY'S PAGE TO FLAME HIM.  I discourage such actions because it gets us nowhere.  People like Ty are not going to be convinced to make changes based on nasty comments on his page.  These have been taken as screenshots from Facebook, and readers can make their own decisions about what's been posted here.

The reason I post this is so people can see how the people within the TWH industry react when "one of their own" makes the choice to admit they've done wrong and they need to help stop it.  In my opinion, it's clear that money and fame are more important than family values and ethics.  And in my opinion, it's also proof that those who abuse animals or who support animal abuse have no problem projected that abuse on their fellow human beings.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Ten more co-sponsors joined on November 14!  I bet that means the wonderful presentation our sound horse warriors did WORKED!  We're up to 233!

The entire list of sponsors is available at this link, where you can keep an eye on this bill.  It's amazing what we can do, folks, when we work together for a common goal.  I am amazed and proud of every single one of you who has stood up and said no more.  We keep creeping closer to winning this war.  So be sure to keep writing, calling, faxing, and emailing everyone who hasn't cosponsored.  We need at least 51 people in the Senate to get this sucker passed!

Also, be sure to check out Billy Go Boy's website at this link to read articles that have been popping up all over concerning the hearing and the bill.  It's amazing the worldwide attention we are getting, especially from people who don't even own horses.  It's so incredibly obvious how the abuse is continuing, and people are listening to the data and information we are giving to them.  I am thrilled to know that we are getting the world on our side!

Have a happy weekend everyone, and enjoy your Tennessee Walking Horses!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HR 1518 HEARING RESULTS - Amazing Support For the Sound Horse

Here is the video via YouTube of today's Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about the PAST Act.  I will be transcribing it and posting it here so folks can have it in writing.  It'll just take me a few days.

Of course, you can make your own judgments.  My own are after the video.

Please send your thanks to Jan Shakowsky, Lee Terry, Ed Whitfield and Steve Cohen for helping us by getting this hearing on the floor.

I cannot tell everyone enough how incredibly proud I am of Donna Bennefield, Teresa Bippen, Dr. Ron DeHaven, Marty Irby, and James Hickey, Jr.  They had facts to back up their information, their stories were strong and their convictions true.  They were able to answer every question strongly and were johnny-on-the-spot with their facts and information.  Heck, when people couldn't get a straight answer out of the opposing persons, they came back and got the correct answer from those who are for the Act.  Even when faced with deflecting questions, they brought the conversation back to the HPA and did not dwell on other horse industry issues.

Dr. John Bennett and Mr. Julius Johnson weren't able to backup any of their information, and Johnson continually deferred to others when he didn't have the facts in front of him.  Dr. John Bennett couldn't do anything but say the exact same thing over and over again, and I imagine he's going to make the BL folks very unhappy with his answers.  Marsha Blackburn, who received $70,000 from the BL industry, was rude, crass, and downright mean when she didn't get the answers she wanted when she tried to deflect and point the finger elsewhere.  Not only that, but she left during the hearing, came back, and spent the rest of her time messing around on her computer.  Seems like $70K that was poorly spent to me.

No matter what, I think it was quite clear that the truth came out about how soring is still rampant and stacks and chains need to go.  The question is whether or not the PAST Act will move to the Senate (it has pretty much passed in the House with 225 co-sponsors).  It isn't a law yet, but I personally think we are closer than ever to stopping this nightmare, and we are going to see and end to soring and the BL very, very soon.

We will keep you updated...if this goes to the Senate, then we have A LOT more hard work to do!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today is the day for the horses.  At 10:00 am in Washington, DC on November 13, 2013, history will be made when it comes to saving the Tennessee Walking Horse.

To view the webcast of the hearing for HR 1518, click below.


To view the video archived after the webcast has already finished, click below.


Photo from Wheelon raid by Lance Murphey

A prayer for the horses.

I pray that you are saved from continually being abused.
I pray that your nightmare ends.
I pray that our government will actually do something right for once and help uphold a federal law.
I pray that choosing to do what's right over what's easy will prevail
Blessings to the horses...your pain will be over soon.
~ Andrea, For the Tennessee Walking Horse

Friday, November 8, 2013



Monday, November 11 is Veterans' Day
so PLEASE get your letters in to the E&C Sub-Committee by Tuesday morning!

See the below post for who to send to with contact information.

Calls and faxes work best.
Be short and to the point.
Be kind and courteous; make friends with the person on the other line
so they will be sure to give your request to the Congressperson.
Back your information up with facts.

Here is a link to the current supporters of the PAST Act.
Please add the following groups to the Horse Organizations section:
Carolina Walkers, Inc. (South Carolina)
Delaware Equine Council
Minnesota Horse Council

You can also note that the new World Walking Horse Assocation is also for the PAST Act,
although they have not added themselves to the list yet.
(More about WWHA after November 13th.)

We can do this!  WE CAN SAVE THE HORSE!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Well everyone, we have our work cut out for us now.  On November 13th, the PAST Act will be heard by the Energy and Commerce Sub-Committee.  We are past the 218 mark of co-sponsors needed to get the Act to the floor, so now we need the E&C Sub-Committee to take it to the Senate.

We have a serious problem: Marsha Blackburn has pretty much been paid by the Big Lick industry to keep the PAST Act from passing.  They had a special dinner for her at the Celebration and presented her with about $70,000.  Now I don't see Blackburn as much more than one of the typical money hungry liars that we have in Congress after watching this video.

However, if she gets her claws in, then we are back to square one.

This is the time for us to push, and PUSH HARD.

Here are the folks we need to push on.  FAXES AND PHONE CALLS WORK BEST.  And it's best to contact the DC office over the state office, but I've provided numbers for both.  There are free fax websites online--I personally use gotfreefax.com.  Your local Walmart or Target might have faxing capabilities as well, and all Office Maxes have faxing available.

Also, please go to this website to get the list of current co-sponsors.  If you don't see your State Rep or Senator on the list, then get after them!

Make your letter and phone call short and sweet.  Give recent facts: that of the 26% of TWHBEA members who voted, 63% voted in favor of the PAST Act.  In comparison, 35% voted in the BOD elections.  Explain that Wheelon was NOT found innocent, and that the case my be reintroduced to the Tennessee Grand Jury.  Point out that soring is now a felony in Tennessee, and that the Industry has proven they cannot police themselves.  And most importantly: this will cost our government no money to instigate the PAST Act.  You can refer them to this blog if you need to.

Mo Brooks (R-AL)
1230 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-4801, Fax: (202) 225-4392
Huntsville Office - Phone: (256) 551-0190, Fax: (256) 551-0194
Decatur Office - Phone: (256) 355-9400, Fax: (256) 355-9406
Shoals Office - Phone: (256) 718-5155, Fax: (256) 718-5156
Website: http://brooks.house.gov/

Martha Roby (R-AL)
428 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-2901, Fax: (202) 225-8913
Andalusia Office - Phone: (334) 428-1129, Fax: (334) 222-3342
Dothan Office - Phone: (334) 794-9680, Fax: (334) 671-1480
Montgomery Office - Phone: (334) 277-9113, Fax: (334) 277-8534
Website: http://roby.house.gov/

Mike Rogers (R-AL)
324 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-3261, Fax: (202) 226-8485
Anniston Office - Phone: (256) 236-5655, Fax: (256) 237-9203
Opelika Office - Phone: (334) 745-6221, Fax: (334) 742-0109
Website: http://mike-rogers.house.gov/

Terri Sewell (D-AL)
1133 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-2665, Fax: (202) 226-9567
Birmingham Office - Phone: (205) 254-1960, Fax: (205) 254-1974
Demopolis Office - Phone: (334) 287-0860, Fax: (334) 877-4489
Livingston Office - Phone: (205) 652-5834, Fax: (205) 652-5935
Marion Office - Phone: (334)683-2157, Fax: (334) 683-2201
Montgomery Office - Phone: (334) 262-1919, Fax: (334) 262-1921
Selma Office - Phone: (334) 877-4414, Fax: (334) 877-4489
Tuscaloosa Office - Phone: (205) 752-5380, Fax: (205) 752-5899
Website: http://sewell.house.gov/

Ami Bera, MD (D-CA)
1408 Longworth House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-5716, Fax: (202) 226-1298
Rancho Cordova Office - Phone: (916) 635-0505, Fax: (916) 635-0514
Website: http://bera.house.gov/

Ken Calvert (R-CA)
2269 Rayburn Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-1986, Fax: (202) 225-2004
Corona Office - Phone: (951) 277-0042, Fax: (951) 277-0420
Website: http://calvert.house.gov/

Jeff Denham (R-CA)
1730 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-4540, Fax: (202) 225-3402
Modesto Office - Phone: (209) 579-5458, Fax: (209) 579-5028
Website: http://denham.house.gov/

Darrell Issa (R-CA)
2347 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC - Phone: 202-225-3906, Fax: 202-225-3303
Vista Office - Phone: 760-599-5000, Fax: 760-599-1178
Orange County Office- Phone: 949-281-2449, Fax: 760-599-1178
Website: http://issa.house.gov/

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) *Majority Whip (3rd in command)
2421 Rayburn House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-2915, Fax: (202) 225-2908
Bakersfield Office - Phone: (661) 327-3611, Fax: (661) 637-0867
Website: http://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/

Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
2313 Rayburn House, Washington, D.C. - Phone: (202) 225-5755, Fax: (202) 225-4085
Wesley Chapel Office - Phone: 813-501-4942, Fax: 813-501-4944
Tarpon Springs Office - Phone: 727-940-5860, Fax: 727-940-5861
New Port Richey Office - Phone: 727-232-2921, Fax: 727-232-2923
Website: http://bilirakis.house.gov/

Rich Nugent (R-FL)
1727 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-1002, Fax: (202) 226-6559
Citrus County, Inverness Office - Phone: 352-341-2354, Fax: 352-341-2316
Hernando County, Spring Hill Office - Phone: 352-684-4446, Fax: 352-684-4484
Marion County, Ocala Office - Phone: 352-351-1670, Fax: 352-689-4621
Sumter County, The Village Office - Phone: 352-689-4684, Fax: 352-689-4621
Website: http://nugent.house.gov/

Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
2429 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-3631, Fax: (202) 225-2203
Albany Office - Phone: (229) 439-8067, Fax: (229) 436-2099
Columbus Office- Phone: (706) 320-9477, Fax: (706) 320-9479
Macon Office - Phone: (478) 803-2631, Fax: (478) 803-2637
Website: http://bishop.house.gov/

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) *Youngest member of Congress and very vocal.
502 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-4906, Fax: (202) 225-4987
Honolulu District Office - Phone: (808) 541-1986, Fax: (808) 538-0233
Website: http://gabbard.house.gov/

Rodney Davis (R-IL)
1740 Longworth House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: 202.225.2371, Fax: 202.226.0791
Champaign District Office - Phone: 217.403.4690, Fax: 217.403.4691
Decatur District Office - Phone: 217.791.6224, Fax: 217.791.6168
Normal District Office - Phone: 309.252.8834
Taylorville District Office - Phone: 217.824.5117, Fax: 217.824.5121
Website: http://rodneydavis.house.gov/

Pete Roskam (R-IL)
227 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-4561, Fax: (202) 225-1166
Barrington Satellite Office - Phone: (847) 656-6354
West Chicago District Office - Phone: (630) 232-0006, Fax: (630) 232-7393
Website: http://roskam.house.gov/

Brett Guthrie (R-KY) *Bombard - Close with Rep Marsha Blackburn
308 Cannon H.O.B., Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-3501, Fax: (202) 226-2019
Warren County Regional Office - Phone: (270) 842-9896, Fax: (270) 842-9081
Website: http://guthrie.house.gov/

Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
1131 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-3901, Fax: (202) 225-7313
Baton Rouge District Office - Phone: (225) 929-7711, Fax: (225) 929-7688
Livingston District Office - Phone: (225) 686-4413, Fax: (225) 929-7688
Thibodaux District Office - Phone: (985) 447-1662
Website: http://cassidy.house.gov/

Gregg Harper (R-MS)
307 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-5031, Fax: (202) 225-5797
Brookhaven Office - Phone: (601) 823-3400, Fax: (601) 823-5512
Meridian Office - Phone: (601) 693-6681, Fax: (601) 693-1801
Pearl Office - Phone: (601) 932-2410, Fax: (601) 932-4647
Starkville Office - Phone: (662) 324-0007, Fax: (662) 324-0033
Website: http://harper.house.gov/

Alan Nunnellee (R-MS)
1427 Longworth House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-4306, Fax: (202) 225-3549
Columbus District Office - Phone: (662) 327-0748, Fax: (662) 328-5982
Hernando District Office - Phone: (662) 449-3090, Fax: (662) 449-4836
Tupelo District Office - Phone: (662) 841-8808, Fax: (662) 841-8845
Website: http://nunnelee.house.gov/

Vicki Hartzler (R-MO) *Bombard - Close with Rep Marsha Blackburn
1023 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-2876, Fax: (202) 225-0148
Columbia Office - Phone: (573) 442-9311, Fax: (573) 442-9309
Harrisonville Office - Phone: 816-884-3411, Fax: 816-884-3163
Sedalia Office - Phone: (573) 442-9311
Website: http://hartzler.house.gov/

Billy Long (R-MO) *Bombard - Has lots of sore horse people in his district
1541 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: 202-225-6536, Fax: 202-225-5604
Springfield Office - Phone: 417-889-1800, Fax: 417-889-4915
Joplin Office - Phone: 417.781.1041, Fax: 417.781.2832
Website: http://long.house.gov/

George Holding (R-NC)
507 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: 202-225-3032
Fremont Office - Phone: 919-440-5247
Raleigh Office - Phone: 919-782-4400, Fax: 919-782-4490
Website: http://holding.house.gov/

Jimmy Duncan (R-TN) *Bombard - close to sore horse people
2207 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-5435, Fax: (202) 225-6440
Knoxville Office - Phone: (865) 523-3772, Fax: (865) 544-0728
Maryville Office - Phone: (865) 984-5464, Fax: (865) 984-0521
Website: http://duncan.house.gov/

Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) *Highest ranking female Republican in the House
203 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. - Phone: 202-225-2006, Fax: 202-225-3392
Colville Office - Phone: 509-684-3481, Fax: 509-353-2412
Spokane Office - Phone: 509-353-2374, Fax: 509-353-2412
Walla Walla Office - Phone: 509-529-9358, Fax: 509-353-2412
Website: http://mcmorris.house.gov/

Pete Sessions (R-TX)
2233 Rayburn House Office Bldg, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-2231, Fax: (202) 225-5878
Dallas Office - Phone: (972) 392-0505, Fax: (972) 392-0615
Website: http://sessions.house.gov/

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
230 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-3271, Fax: (202) 225-3494
Athens Office - Phone: 423-745-4671, Fax: 423-745-6025
Chattanooga Office - Phone: (423) 756-2342, Fax: (423) 756-6613
Oak Ridge Office - Phone: (865) 576-1976, Fax: (865) 576-3221
Website: http://fleischmann.house.gov/

Scott DeJarlais (R-TN) *His district is Shelbyville but he's running against Jim Tracy. Unfortunately this guy is shady...
413 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC - Phone: (202) 225-6831, Fax: (202) 226-5172
Cleveland Office - Phone: (423) 472-7500, Fax: (423) 472-7800
Murfreesboro Office - Phone: (615) 896-1986, Fax: (615) 896-8218
Winchester Office - Phone: (931) 962-3180, Fax: (931) 962-3435
Website: http://desjarlais.house.gov/

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
217 Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. - Phone: (202) 225-2811, Fax: (202) 225-3004
Clarksville Office - Phone: (931) 503-0391, Fax: (931) 503-0393
Franklin Office - Phone: (615) 591-5161, Fax: (615) 599-2916

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - TWHBEA Continues to Stick Their Heads in the Sand, But the Sound Horse is Still Winning!

As we move forward in the Sound Horse March, we need to keep pushing TWHBEA to GO SOUND.

Currently, they have denied posting the results of the PAST Act poll that Pat Stout put together.  They won't put it on their website, nor the Facebook page.  Here's the exchange between Clant Seay, Pat's lawyer, and TWHBEA, via the Billy Go Boy website.

Before the exchange, I suggest to EVERYONE that you go onto TWHBEA's Facebook page and post the results yourself!  TWHBEA needs to understand that those of us who are members are tired of their denial and childishness.  Whether they like it or not, their reign over this breed has got to end.  Remember: 26% voted on the poll, while 35% voted on the BOD election.  The membership IS speaking out!  Our fight is through our voices, and our voices are for the horse!


October 17, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Executive Committee,

Yesterday morning I reached out to TWHBEA Executive Director Tracy Boyd and requested permission for my client Pat Stout to be allowed to publish Greg Cook’s letter certifying the results of the HR 1518/S.1406 Poll in which 26% of the TWHBEA membership expressed themselves regarding their view on the pending legislation along with her Statement regarding same.

I asked for a reply from Rob Cornelius who has temporarily taken over for former President Loyd Black by 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

When I did not receive one, I placed my requests in writing:
Oct. 16, 2013 – 2:15 pm

This will follow up our telephone conversation of this morning when I relayed my client Pat Stout’s requests that she be allowed to publish Greg Cook, CPA certified tabulation of the HR 1518/S, 1406 Poll results on the TWHBEA website and TWHBEA Facebook page, along with her Statement concerning same. You advised that you would consult with Sr. VP Rob Cornelius and I asked that you please let me know by 2:00 p.m cdst one way or the other regarding my client’s request. I please need an answer with regard to my client Pat Stout’s request.

Clant M. Seay,
Attorney for Pat Stout
When I appeared with my client Pat Stout before you on September 27, 2013, and she took the heat from you and that assembled “lynch mob”, she explained the Poll, and I explained the Poll, and she was asked by Mr.Black and Mr. Cornelius and practically each one of you what would happen to the results of the Poll, and she told each of you that TWHBEA would be provided the Results when she obtained them. She obtained the Results yesterday, and has she has fulfilled her pledge. You allowed her to post on the Facebook Page about the Polling Initiative following the September 27, 2013 EC meeting. I do not understand your hesitation now in acceding to her reasonable requests.

May I please remind you that there are many people paying attention to what you do – in the United States and around the world. Donna Benefield reminded you at the TWHBEA meeting of that scrutiny, and I want to again share with you Ms Benefield’s words:


I also want to share with you the letter Ms Benefield wrote to you:

Donna Benefield – TWHBEA MemberSeptember 24, 2013
TWHBEA – Attn: Executive Committee
P.O. Box 286
Lewisburg, TN 37091-0286
Re: Whitefield Amendment HR 1518/S.1406

Dear Elected Members of the Executive Committee:

First, I would like to commend our Vice-President of Horse Shows, Pat Stout for stepping up to poll the TWHBEA Membership in regard to the P.A.S.T. Act. Finally someone is allowing the general membership of TWHBEA to have a voice, and be counted, regarding the future of this breed.

Mrs. Stout’s willingness to utilize her own resources, and find a donor to help fund this poll, are true examples of putting the horse first, above herself. Secondly, I want to thank and commend Past President and Executive Director Tracy Boyd for leading the charge in unwavering form to support the P.A.S.T. Act in May. Tracy, you have proven to me you are a true leader, and please know you will be remembered for taking the largest step towards truly sound Tennessee Walking Horses that TWHBEA has ever made in its seventy-eight year history. I have waited over thirty years to see these events unfold.

Executive Committee members Denise Bader-Keyser, Linda Montgomery, Caroline Hoffman, Rick Weis, & Joyce Moyer should be honored, and recognized for their leadership, courage, and love of this horse, in having made tremendous sacrifices to stand up, stand strong, and vote to support the P.A.S.T. Act at the May meeting. In addition, I thank Mrs. Moyer for her exemplary display of strength and backbone in making the motion to support the P.A.S.T. Act. You are all heroes to thousands upon thousands of TWHBEA Members, sound horse advocates, veterinarians, and many others involved in the mainstream equine world. Having been in personal contact with many of the top professional equine organizations in the United States, I assure you, they recognize your bravery as well. You, as elected representatives, have set an example other directors should follow.

I would also like to commend and recognize Dr. Kasey Kesselring for stepping down from his position as International Director from Florida because of his pending federal H.P.A. violation case. This is an example of an honorable gentleman who recognizes the conflict of interest, and potential dishonor that could have soiled the name of our great association had he remained. Unfortunately, Vice-President of Training, Wayne Dean, and Member-At-Large of Bylaws, David Mullis, have refused to step down during their own pending U.S.D.A./H.P.A. federal cases. This is a classic example of why our breed has no credibility and has become an equine pariah around the globe. The disgrace these two individuals have brought upon TWHBEA, has tarnished the association and the breed’s name even further. As a longtime member of this association, and in the best interest of TWHBEA, and its future, I ask the Executive Committee, demand their immediate resignations.

Although I know little about our newly appointed President, Buster Black, I have been informed that he has a major concern with TWHBEA having a voice in the single most important issue that the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association has ever faced. It appears Mr. Black intends to remain a typical politician, and I have heard his “first rule of politics” is “never say what you are doing, and never do what you are saying.” I hope this does not prove to be true with the issue of H.R. 1518/S. 1406. If this is the case, he will be disallowing the membership their right to serve our horse, our association, and truly have a voice.

Mr. Black, please allow the membership to have their say.

I speak with personal knowledge that this breed has had numerous opportunities over many years to reform. For decades this breed has wanted to regulate soring rather than eradicate it. Unfortunately, it has become a reality that reform is not in the make-up of many people fighting this issue of abuse.

When many other organizations including your own lobbying firm, the American Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association (the largest veterinary medical organization in the world), the American Association of Equine Practitioners (the very organization the sore side has liberally utilized the name of in the past), the United States Equestrian Federation (previously the American Horse Show Association), and most of the other equine breed organizations in the United States recognize the plague upon this breed, and endorse the Whitfield Amendment, it is time TWHBEA lead the charge in its own fate.


Donna Benefield

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Executive Committee,

I will wait no longer than 11:00 a.m. cdst today to hear your decision if you are or are not going to allow Pat Stout to publish Mr. Cook’s certified tabulated results of the poll in which 26% of the members of TWHBEA, 1,795 members, said “YES” or “NO” on the HR 1518/S. 1406 legislation, and her Statement regarding same.

If I do not hear from you affirmatively on this matter by the time I have stated, then on her behalf, I will release the Poll Results to the media and interested parties. I hope you will show leadership regarding this important matter and allow the HR 1518/S.1406 Poll Results to be posted on the TWHBEA website and Facebook page along with Pat Stout’s Statement.

Clant M. Seay, Attorney for Pat Stout

From: Tracy Boyd <tboyd319@yahoo.com>
To: cmseaylaw <cmseaylaw@aol.com>
Cc: Rob Cornelius <rtcbwc@yahoo.com>
Subject: Poll
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 2013 12:52 pm

Dear Clant,

The TWHBEA Executive Committee is not in favor of publishing the poll results on the Association’s website or its Facebook page.



Unfortunately, I think Tracy was put up to saying this--I can imagine he would've wanted the poll results to be posted.

Now the word definitely is getting out there.  Check out this article by the The Times Free Press:  Walking horse poll pans use of pads

And Roy Exum, friend to the horse and HSUS award winner, also talked about it:  Roy Exum: Landslide Horse Poll Pleases Stout

And in even more good news, we are up to 204 cosponsors of the PAST Act!  Only 217 cosponsors are needed to get it to the floor, and only 240 votes are needed to pass it!  This is AMAZING...we are looking at real progress!  I found out that the folks in DC absolutely are not saying they represent TWHBEA, so of course that is a clear rumor that can be squashed.

And even more good news: a very large show known as the Belfast had minimal attendance--very few horses and the stands were next to empty.  Normally this show attracts a lot of people to come watch.  AND a Sale of Champions that is supposed to go on this weekend has also be canceled!  The general public is speaking loud and clear with their lack of attendance and pocketbooks!

I am continually amazed at the power of the people.  We're doing it in TWHBEA, we're doing it at the shows, Coming together like this for a cause to end this nightmare is truly something to behold.  We must keep up the good work.  We are making huge strides, and we can do this!  Keep the pressure on, and let's end this nightmare!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - The Votes for TWHBEA BOD Are In - CONGRATULATIONS to Our Sound Candidates!

After our amazing landslide with the PAST Act poll, TWHBEA votes for the Board of Directors have also been counted.  Here are the results from the Cook & County letter to TWHBEA, available to read here. The new representative is in bold. The folks who are sound are in green text.  The number in parentheses is the number of seats available.

We mailed 5,226 ballots and postage-paid return envelopes.  The U.S. Postal Service returned (34) thirty-four of our mailings as “undeliverable as addressed” and of these we were able to re-mail (13) thirteen. We received 1,861 of our numbered reply envelopes by return mail representing (35.61%). Sixty-nine (69) of the returned ballots abstained from voting. The abstentions include persons not voting at all and persons voting for fewer than the total available (i.e., ballot read vote for 3 and person voted for only 1 = 2 abstained). Fifty-two (52) were disqualified and not counted due to candidate ineligibility or noncompliance with ballot instructions.

Alabama – Mailed 451 Received 137 = 30.44%
Alberta – Mailed 78 Received 7 = 8.97%
Arizona – Mailed 49 Received 22 = 44.90%
Colorado – Mailed 55 Received 21 = 38.18%
Georgia – Mailed 237 Received 73 = 30.93%
Germany – Mailed 85 Received 36 = 42.35%
Indiana – Mailed 125 Received 8 = 6.4%
Israel – Mailed 21 Received 0 = 0%
Kansas – Mailed 29 Received 5 = 17.24%
Kentucky - Mailed 701 Received 202 = 28.86%
Minnesota – Mailed 45 Received 20 = 44.44%

Mississippi – Mailed 268 Received 122 = 46.0%
Missouri – Mailed 224 Received 94 = 42.0%
Ohio – Mailed 276 Received 137 = 49.64%
Region 1 – Mailed 44 Received 13 = 29.55%
Region 2 – Mailed 51 Received 5 = 10.0%
Region 4 – Mailed 44 Received 14 = 31.82%
Region 5 – Mailed 36 Received 1 = 2.78%
Tennessee – Mailed 1,490 Received 640 = 42.95%
Texas – Mailed 328 Received 110 = 33.64%
Utah – Mailed 31 Received 11 = 35.48%
Virginia – Mailed 236 Received 64 = 27.23%
Washington – Mailed 127 Received 42 = 33.07%
West Virginia – Mailed 132 Received 55 = 41.98%

Wisconsin – Mailed 63 Received 22 = 34.92%

Alabama (1)
Ford Gates - 124
Roger Hand - 2
Steve Beam - 1
Tom Warren - 1

Alberta (2)
3 Year Term - Bill Adams - 4
1 Year Term - Marg Kovaluk -2
Nicole Hirsekorn - 1

Arizona (1)
Dr. Pamela Reband - 19
Curt Rosemann - 3

Colorado (1)
Rick Evans - 10
Nicole Tolle - 8
Polly Jean Blanchard - 3

Georgia (2)
Loyd Hall Black, Jr - 45 (retired as the President just recently)
Susan Paul - 44
JoEllen Finerfrock - 22
Donald Godbee - 13
Kathy Zeis - 3

Germany (1)
Denise Bader-Keyser - 31 (originally indicated sound; however, she pushed to have Pat Stout eliminated from TWHBEA)
Gerrit Band - 3

Indiana (1)
Clinton Edward Brown - 1
Michael D. Chestnut - 1
Patricia Lee - 1
(3 Way Tie)

Kansas (1)
Julie Keller - 2
Elsie Darrah - 1

Kentucky (3)
Spencer Benedict - 123
Gene Smokey Carswell - 114
Carrie Benedict - 98
Linda Starnes - 65
Kim Bennett - 53
Lloyd Cassidy - 49
Melanie Lawrence - 38
Paul Rosevear - 13

Minnesota (1)
Cynthia Endres - 11

Mississippi (1)
Ashley Wadsworth - 105
Karla Nichols Massey - 16
Rick Carter - 1

Missouri (1)
Debbie Hennemann - 46
Caroline Hoffman - 43
Jim Huffman - 1
Ann Hardin - 1

Ohio (1)
Joyce Moyer - 73
Jack Kwok - 64

Tennessee (1)
Stephen B Smith - 292
David W Williams - 260
Larry Lowman - 149
Dee Dee Miller - 127
Rollie Beard - 114
David Pruett - 113
John Allred - 75
Carol Peaches Searles - 52
Nathanael Jackson - 20

Texas (1)
Everett Butch Allen - 50
Dorothy Dodie Speece - 31

Utah (1)
Becca Pennington - 6
Gordon D. Hirschi - 5

Virginia (1)
Pamela McKinney - 42
Margaret Hershberger - 11

Washington (1)
Linda Arnold - 29
Kimberly J. Widner - 12

West Virginia (1)
Charles W. (Bill) Wright - 37
Dr. Angela Cook-Huffman - 11
Jeff Tanner - 6
Harrolyn Groves - 1

Wisconsin (1)
Mick Salm - 20

Israel (1)

Region 1 - Netherlands (1)
Suyin Oldenburg - 6
Sandra Van Den Hof - 4

Region 2 - NE, NM, ND, SD, NV (1)

Region 4 (1)
Julie Dillon - 8 
Loren Stevens - 6

Region 5 - AK, BC, HI (1)

Note that the 26% of the membership voted on the PAST Act, and 35% of the membership voted on the BOD.  So there wasn't really that big of a difference as far as the active voting membership is concerned.

I really want to point out how the power of the people truly works.  The Arizona folks pulled out all the stops to get our sound horse candidate as the representative.  The representative sent letters, and members contacted other members and got them to vote.  The sound horse won in a landslide: 19-3.  So it really is possible to make a serious change.  I think every TWHBEA member who wants the PAST Act to be passed is going to work just as hard to make sure TWHBEA makes the change too.

Roy Exum commented on Pat Stout's poll (click below).
Roy Exum: Landslide Horse Poll Pleases Stout

And The Chattanoogan also reported on the poll as breaking news (click below).
63% In Poll Back Bill To Curb Soring Of Tennessee Walking Horses

We're also up to 184 Congresspersons who are sponsoring the PAST Act, with 217 needed for it to hit the floor.  So don't forget to contact your local Congresspersons, and be sure to contact the Representatives that I listed in this post, either via fax or by a call.  Remember, Rob Cornelius is wrong: he DOES NOT represent the entire TWHBEA membership!

In other good news, a very large show in Belfast went on last weekend, and the attendance was nearly non-existance, even without the USDA able to be there due to the government shutdown.  Very few horses in the ring, and the stands were near empty, probably only with those who continue to sore their horses and their families present.  This used to be a very large show with a large audience.  It is clear that the Big Lick world is dying, so we must keep up the pressure!

THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of the folks who voted for the sound horse candidates and who voted YES in Pat's poll.  We are making a difference here, everyone!  We truly are!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - TWHBEA Members Overwhelmingly Say YES to PAST Act; We Need Phone Calls!


TWHBEA members overwhelmingly voted YES to supporting the PAST Act!

From the above letter:

October 16, 2013


Re:  Membership Poll on 1518 Vote - YES = 1,132 (63%) and NO = 663 (37%)

The purpose of this letter is to report the results of the membership poll: the total votes that counted were 1,795.

1)  RETURNS: We received 1,766 postcards and 41 emails for a total potential votes of 1,807.
2)  ABSTAIN: We received six (6) postcards where the voter abstained.  They returned the postcard without checking neither yes nor no.
3)  DISQUALIFIED: We received two (2) postcards that were disqualified due to the fact that the voters checked both yes and no.
4)  EMAIL COMMENT ONLY: Two (2) emails did not vote but made comments only.
5) RETURN TO SENDER: We received 1 postcard as a return to sender.
6) WITHDRAWN: One (1) voter called prior to tabulation and asked that the postcard be returned. We verified the identity and honored the request by returning the postcard to the voter at their address of record.

From Billy Go Boy's website, he said:  (And I recommend reading the entire post as linked.)

By comparison, the voter turnout in Tennessee Congressional elections was approximately 37%.  The turnout for the Knoxville Mayor’s election was fewer than 17%  of the registered voters went to the polls in the September 27, 2011 primary with five mayoral candidates.

Of course, TWHBEA sore horse supporters are running around denying everything, but the fact is that people want the stacks and chains gone.   Of course, we've already known this, but TWHBEA will continue to deny it.  They're already talking about how this was not an official TWHBEA vote, blah, blah, blah.  The then-president Lloyd Black told people they could throw away the card if they wanted to.

We can only hope that the same has happened with the Board of Directors votes and that sound horse advocates have prevailed!

In the meantime...

There are several members of TWHBEA who are currently in DC knocking on doors to get sponsorship for the PAST Act.  Rob Cornelius posted this letter on the TWHBEA Facebook page.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this on behalf of the 8,300-member Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association (TWHBEA). Established in 1935 and headquartered in Lewisburg, TN., TWHBEA is the official breed registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse. It has been brought to our attention that certain individuals may be working the halls of Congress seeking cosponsors or other endorsements for H. R. 1518 and S.1406. Regardless of what you may have been told, TWHBEA has not authorized any individuals or organizations to speak on its behalf in Washington regarding this legislation. We recognize that you are currently facing more urgent and far-reaching issues than H. R. 1518 and S.1406. Should future discussions concerning these bills be necessary, we will be willing participants.

Let me re-emphasize that no individual or organization on Capitol Hill has the authorization to represent TWHBEA in an official capacity, and we respectfully request that you give no consideration to individuals or organizations directly or indirectly claiming to represent our organization.

Rob Cornelius
Senior Vice President/Admin/Fiscal/Audit


Now I'm not going to lie: he is correct that TWHBEA has not given authorization to anyone to represent them as far as I know, although I would venture to guess that I'm sure folks who have gone to DC to deny soring happens have said they're reps from TWHBEA.  I agree that authorization is necessary.

There is also a letter circulating that implies that Cook & Company representing both TWHBEA and Pat Stout is a conflict of interest.  The letter is from Cook & Company from 2007.  However, the Lickers are ignoring this part of the letter:

The purpose of this letter is to provide information concerning the TWHBEA election and voting process when an outside independent auditor is engaged.

It has NOTHING to do with them doing a separate, private poll for someone else, which is what Pat Stout's poll was.

So what can we do?  Well, this list is being circulated to call and tell Congresspersons that the people who are claiming to represent TWHBEA don't. So let's fight back!  Pick up your phone, have a seat, and start calling to tell them that there are members in TWHBEA who DO want the PAST Act to pass, and we need their support.  The proof is in the voting--tell them 63% of the membership who voted voted YES to support the PAST Act.  If you word it this way, then it absolves TWHBEA of any representation.

Here's the list, get to calling!  (Or send a fax,whichever you prefer!)

Chariman Rep. Lee Terry (R-2nd)
2331 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-4155; 226-5452 Omaha: (402) 397-9944

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-9th)
210 Longworth House
Office Building (202) 225-1947; (fax)225-4060 Pleasanton: (925) 737-0727

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-33rd)
2204 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-3976; (fax)225-4099 Los Angeles: (323) 651-1040

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-12th)
2313 Rayburn House
Office Building 202-225-5755 , (fax)202-225-4085
Tarpon Springs: 727-940-5860

Rep. John Barrow (D-12th)
2202 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-2823; (fax) 225-3377 Augusta: (706) 722-4494

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st)
2268 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-4372;(fax) 226-0333 Chicago: (773) 224-6500

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th)
2367 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-2111; 226-6890 Chicago: (773) 506-7100

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th)
1221 Longworth House
Office Building (202) 225-3635; 225-3521 Joliet: (815) 726-4998

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4th)
107 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-6216; 225-3489 Wichita: (316) 262-8992

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-2nd)
308 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-3501; 226-2019 Bowling Green: (270) 842-9896

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3rd)
2444 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-4016; 225-9219 Towson: (410) 832-8890

Rep. John Dingell (D-12th)
2328 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-4071; 226-0371 Dearborn: (313) 278-2936

Rep. Fred Upton (R-6th)
2183 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-3761; 225-4986 Kalamazoo: (616) 385-0039

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-3rd)
307 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-5031; 225-5797 Pearl: (601) 932-2410

Rep. Lee Terry (R-2nd)
2331 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-4155; 226-5452 Omaha: (402) 397-9944

Rep. Billy Long (R-7th)
1541 Longworth House
Office Building (202) 225-6536; 225-5604 Springfield: (417) 889-1800

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th)
426 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-5361; 225-9460 Westfield: (908) 518-7733

Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-1st)
2305 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-3101; 225-3354 Weldon: (252) 538-4123

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-6th)
317 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-5705; 225-5907 Marietta: (740) 376-0868

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-7th)
217 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-2811; 225-3004 Memphis: (901) 382-5811

Rep. Joe Barton (R-6th)
2109 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-2002; 225-3052 Arlington: (817) 543-1000

Rep. Pete Olson (R-22nd)
312 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-5951; 225-5241 Sugar Land: (281) 494-2690

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-4th)
2434 Rayburn House
Office Building (202) 225-3011; 225-5638 South Salt Lake: (801) 486-1236

Rep. Peter Welch (D-AL)
1404 Longworth House
Office Building (202) 225-4115; 225-6790 Burlington: (888) 605-7270

Del. Donna Christensen (D-AL)
1510 Longworth House
Office Building (202) 225-1790; 225-5517 St. Thomas: (340) 774-4408

Rep. David McKinley (R-1st)
313 Cannon House
Office Building (202) 225-4172; 225-7564 Wheeling: (304) 232-3801

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