"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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


****  APB  ****  APB  ****  APB  ****  APB  ****


Edited 8/7/13: The new number for the bill in the Senate is S 1406.  PLEASE visit POPVOX to show your support of this bill!  https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/s1406

The American Horse Council has announced that HR 1518 has been introduced to the US Senate!  Click here for the webpage.  Copied and pasted below.

We need you to call and write your senator to tell them to please pass this amendment!  This is HUGE!  Use all the evidence you can in your letter: the support from other horse associations, AVMA and AAEP; the settlement of the lawsuit in favor of the USDA; the video of McConnell and his sentencing; the subsequent arrest of Wheelon; EVERYTHING you can think of!  Make it short but sweet, and don't be rude or use harsh language.

To find your senator, go to www.senate.gov and click the Find your Senators choice in the upper right hand corner.  If you want to make sure your message gets to Senators in other states, go to MelissaData and use the Lookups section to find zip codes in other states.

WE MUST BEAT THE LICKERS!  They will be out in force fighting to get this turned around.  LET'S SAVE THE HORSE AND STOP THE ABUSE!


JULY 31, 2013

Copyright © 2013 American Horse Council
Legislation to Eliminate Soring Introduced in the Senate  
On July 31, 2013, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Senate version of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013 (PAST act).  The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.   Congressmen Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced the House version of this bill earlier this year. The AHC supports this bill.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which enforces the HPA, deems soring to involve the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or practices like trimming a horse's hoof to expose sensitive tissue, so that it causes pain in the horse's forelegs and produces an accentuated show gait for competition.  According to the USDA, soring has been primarily used with Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses and continues despite the existence of a federal ban for over forty years.
The horse show industry has been regulated by the HPA for over 40 years.  However, the trigger for USDA enforcement of the HPA is the showing, exhibition, auction or transport of a sore horse.  For this reason USDA has focused its efforts on those areas of the show community that involve breeds and activities that are most frequently involved in soring.  If a breed, discipline, or activity is not soring its horses to exaggerate their gaits, then as a practical matter the HPA has likely not adversely affected them and the PAST act, if passed, will not affect them any more than current law.
The bill would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an "action device," or "a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material" if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic.  These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds and would not prohibit the use of therapeutic pads, or bell boots or quarter boots that are used as protective devices. 
The legislation would also increase fines and penalties for violations for soring, including the potential for a lifetime ban for repeat offenders. 
The bill would create a new licensing process for horse show inspectors, eliminating the current program that uses industry-affiliated designated qualified persons (DQPs).  This program has received criticism because these DQPs are often not independent of the industry they are inspecting.  USDA would be required to train and appoint the new independent inspectors for shows and other HPA-regulated activities that wish to hire an inspector.  Licensed or accredited veterinarians would be given preference for these positions.  The decision to hire an inspector, however, would still be up to the show, sale or auction.  It would not be made mandatory.  Shows or sales that employ DQPs now would begin using USDA-selected inspectors.  Shows or sales that choose not to use DQPs now would not be required to use them should the bill pass.
The AHC supports this legislation, as does the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Morgan Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the Arabian Horse Association, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the United Professional Horsemen's Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club, Maryland Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association and other groups.  Various efforts have been made since enactment of the HPA forty years ago to stop the soring of horses and they have not worked.  This bill is focused on the problem it is intended to solve and does not adversely affect other segments of the show industry that are not soring horses and have no history of soring horses.    

Monday, July 29, 2013


WOW!  JUST WOW!   Last week ended with a bang, and this week has started out with one!

One of the Lickers/Burners/Cheaters favorite things to do is to point fingers at the Saddlebred horses with the attitude of, "They use stacks and chains on their horses too!  LOOK OVER THERE!  Pay no attention to us!"  However, it seems their scapegoat has turned on them.

Last week, the United Professional Horseman's Association (UPHA) and the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) have both officially stated that they support HR 1518!  Below is from the ASHA's website.  Click here for the UPHA's website announcement.



The UPHA and the ASHA have announced that both organizations are in support of the ‘Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013’ proposed federal legislation that was introduced in April 2013 and has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  This legislation is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act, by increasing fees and penalties for the soring of horses.

The boards of directors of both organizations unanimously pledged their support for this legislation during board meetings held during the week of the Lexington Junior League Horse Show.  UPHA President, Gary Garone, noted that “none of the breeds represented by the UPHA, namely American Saddlebreds, Morgan horses, roadsters and Hackneys, have ever been cited for violations of the Horse Protection Act”.  ASHA President, Tandy Patrick, added that “the ASHA is opposed to any inhumane treatment of horses, including soring”.

The trigger for USDA’s enforcement of the Horse Protection Act is the showing, exhibition, auction or transport of a horse that has been sored.  If a breed, discipline, or activity is not soring its horses to exaggerate their gaits, then the HPA will not adversely affect them.  The new prohibitions do not apply to any breeds represented by the UPHA or the ASHA.

The UPHA and the ASHA join various other equine organizations in support of the proposed legislation, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Morgan Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the Arabian Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the Maryland Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Horse Council.


This is a huge blow to the TWH industry.  They can no longer use the Saddlebred industry as their scapegoats.  It seems their power is getting weaker and weaker!


 Click here for the document.

Remember how SHOW, Contender Farms, and Mike McGartland tried to sue the USDA for coming up with the new mandated penalties, claiming it was against the HPA, the Administrative Protection Act (APA), and the U.S. Constitution?  Well, instead of going to court, they agreed to a summary judgment, which means a judge reviews the information and makes a decision on the case without going to court.  They also agreed that this judgment would settle the matter.  (See page 8, Paragraph E of the document.)

Seems that SHOW was way too cocky in their thinking that they would win this one.  The judge found that Congress already specifically stated that rules and regulations to the HPA can be added as needed as as long as the Secretary of the USDA signs off on them.  From page 25: "The new rule, in short, is a reasonable interpretation of the Department’s rulemaking authority under the HPA and is therefore entitled to deference from this Court."  They further decided that the new rules affect the HIO, not the plaintiffs specifically, nor specifically the entrants to the show.  They also compared the OIG report to the new rules as the plaintiffs suggested, and found that the new rules address the OIG's recommendations.

This is my favorite part concerning the Constitution.  From pages 31 and 33.

According to Plaintiffs, “[t]he new rule contravenes these constitutional provisions by attempting to sanction individuals with federally mandated penalties, in tribunals that are not congressionally created administrative courts or Article III courts, and whose decisions are not subject to review and final adjudication by administrative tribunals or Article III courts.” (Pls.’ Summ. J. Br. 38.) In the Court’s view, this is an inaccurate characterization of the new rule.  As noted above, the new rule does not directly impose any penalties on entrants.  See 9 CFR  § 11.25.  It requires HIOs, as a prerequisite to certification, to agree to enforce and include in their rulebooks certain minimum suspension penalties.  See id. § 11.25(a)-(c).  Consequently, no entrant will be subject to the minimum penalties set out in the new rule unless HIOs agree to enforce those penalties. See discussion supra Part III.A.1, at 20-22. And even then, it is to the HIO--not the United States--that the entrant is liable. In view of this, it is not entirely accurate, and certainly not precise, to say that HIOs have been charged with adjudicating federal law....In light of this, the Court concludes that neither the HPA’s delegation of rulemaking authority to the Department nor the new rule itself is unconstitutional.

And the conclusion:

Based on the foregoing, the Court concludes that the new rule, given due deference, is lawful under the HPA, the APA, and the United States Constitution and should, therefore, be upheld. The Department’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED, and Plaintiffs’ motion is DENIED. Accordingly, all claims in the above-styled and -numbered cause are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE*.
*Plaintiffs, in their briefing, also challenge the new rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This claim is not raised in their complaint, however, and is therefore not before the Court.

Now for our job!  We need to contract the USDA to ask them to decertify SHOW before the Celebration rolls around!  Let's get these bullies and Lickers/Burners/Cheaters away from the Celebration and bring in an HIO that did sign the mandated penalties!  Wonder how Howard's rule that people who don't show under SHOW will not be allowed to be at the Celebration will work?   Seems their great world is now crashing down around them, all due to their need to keep an abused horse in the ring.  May they lose all their money, and may the horses be free!

Contact the USDA at:

Kathleen Merrigan
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

Dr. Rachel Cezar
Head of HPA

Dr. Chester A. Gipson
Deputy Administrator of Animal Care

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

THOUGHTS - Let's Talk: the Current State of the Industry

So there's a lot going on that I haven't talked about much lately, but thanks to a lot of reading and a lot of information that folks are finding, I think I'm now able to put it all into one coherent blog post.

SIDE NOTE: I want to point out a fairly new website and Facebook page: Billy Go Boy Chat.  BGB has been a presence in the TWH industry since 1996, telling the truth just like it is.  Mostly BGB was telling the truth on the Walking Horse Chat but was recently kicked out and an imposter put in place.  So now BGB has stepped out and made the information available to the public for anyone to learn from.  We highly recommend reading this blog and joining the Facebook and Twitter pages.

First, let's talk about TWHBEA.  I talked about how the TWHBEA Executive Committee held an emergency meeting to vote to support HR 1518/the PAST Act/The Whitfield Amendment here and here.  I'm sure everyone remembers Tracy Boyd's letter and how PSHA* tried to buy the Performance horse division, which TWHBEA has summarily ignored (good for them).

*Totally OT, but whenever I see this acronym I think of the term "psh-shaw", which is a blow off term similar to a raspberry.  It makes me giggle.

Since then, Tracy Boyd has been elected the Executive Director of TWHBEA per Ron Thomas, who has gone against his pal David Howard (who quietly runs SHOW, The Celebration, and PSHA with his bullying and threatening tactics).  Click here for the announcement.

TWHBEA then changed their yearly National Futurity from using SHOW as their HIO to using WHOA.  However, they have four performance (BL) classes.  Since PSHA/SHOW are penalizing any trainer who shows under any HIO other than SHOW with a six-month suspension (gotta keep those trainers under their thumbs, ya know) and the Celebration HIO will be SHOW, TWHBEA asked PSHA/SHOW if they would allow the four classes to be affiliated with SHOW and their judges to get SHOW judging cards for those four classes.  This is so those who show in those classes can have their points for the Celebration.  The clarification about this situation is linked here.

So PSHA's response was to tell TWHBEA they will affiliate as long as TWHBEA publicly announces it is against the Whitfield Amendment.  From the Walking Horse Chat:

Now PSHA says go ahead SHOW to save face for the Celebration so they can be in the classes per the confirmation that TWHBEA is against the Whitfield Amendment.  TWHBEA ignored them.  Then PSHA lied to the public about it, basically taking the words from the above referenced letter about the Futurity and twisting them around.  From the Walking Horse Chat:

TWHBEA Confirms Opposition To Whitfield Amendment
July 18, 2013
PSHA To Recommend Affiliation of 2013 Futurity to SHOW HIO

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA) will recommend to the SHOW HIO that it affiliate the four padded performance Tennessee Walking Horse classes at the upcoming Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) Futurity. TWHBEA confirmed yesterday their opposition to the Whitfield Amendment, an amendment which would eliminate the Tennessee Walking Show Horse.

At a recent meeting, PSHA board members revisited an earlier decision to not recommend affiliation of the padded performance classes at the 2013 Futurity and decided if TWHBEA would announce its opposition to the Whitfield Amendment it would recommend affiliation. On July 16, 2013 TWHBEA confirmed this position of opposition in a release that stated:

“In May, within hours after the TWHBEA Executive Committee Voted to endorse the Whitfield Amendment, the TWHBEA International Board of Directors met and voted to not recognize the previous action of the executive committee. With that sequence of events, TWHBEA considers the matter closed and any revisiting of the motion unnecessary.”

Since then, PSHA/SHOW has hired Purple Strategies once again to play the PR game and make the Celebration sound like such a wonderful place to come have fun and show your (sored) horses.  Here's PS's press release.  Most notable is "PSHA recommended that SHOW honor TWHBEA’s request based upon the belief that TWHBEA had come out publicly in opposition to the Whitfield bill. Subsequently, PSHA withdrew that recommendation."  (Backpedal!  Backpedal!)

Purple Celebration Press Release
“SHOW HIO has offered to affiliate the 2013 TWHBEA National Futurity following receipt Monday of a limited request from TWHBEA. The Breeders’ Association requested that SHOW affiliate 5 padded walking horse classes at their Futurity on July 28 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They also requested that their three judges – Jason Bachert, Larry Martin and Dee Dee Miller – be granted SHOW judging licenses for this one event.

In addition to the affiliation, SHOW and the Celebration invited TWHBEA to use their grounds free of charge the night preceding the start of the Celebration. Until last year, TWHBEA had always hosted the Futurity on the Celebration grounds the night preceding the show and used judges licensed by SHOW or its earlier affiliating bodies. TWHBEA moved the Futurity date and show to Murfreesboro last year and affiliated with SHOW. This year they affiliated with WHOA and subsequently asked SHOW to make a special exception to affiliate just 5 classes and judges not licensed by SHOW. SHOW has had a policy of not splitting or sharing affiliations or allowing its judges to adjudicate at shows of other HIO’s since its inception.

SHOW Board president Buddy Nelson stated “We are more than happy to make this offer and reintroduce the Futurity being held on our grounds the night prior to our show as it had been for over 70 years. This will alleviate the conflict for padded horse owners showing at the Futurity and not being able to show at The Celebration. This would also qualify those entries for the World Grand Championship classes at this year’s Celebration. If it is too late to move to our show grounds this year, we extend the same offer next year.”

Earlier this year the Walking Horse Trainers Association ruled that trainer’s showing horses at shows not affiliated with SHOW would lose their license for 6 months. Years ago, in cooperation with the Trainers’ Association, the Celebration agreed to only let licensed trainers show at their show. “Despite TWHBEA’s recent difficulties, financially and otherwise, we are willing to reach out to them and Futurity exhibitors in a spirit of cooperation and in hopes of bridging the gap between our two organizations” stated Nelson. “It is imperative that the industry get back together for the betterment of the horse and also benefit the loyal exhibitors and fans that support both organizations and the industry.”

TWHBEA President Tracy Boyd (at the time) stated that TWHBEA reached out to the SHOW through a third party with this request several weeks ago. Nelson said “We have never received any such request until Monday, July 21st and have considered the request and responded promptly today.”

Also, PSHA recommended that SHOW honor TWHBEA’s request based upon the belief that TWHBEA had come out publicly in opposition to the Whitfield bill. Subsequently, PSHA withdrew that recommendation. “The Celebration respects both PSHA and TWHBEA and chooses to remain out of the ongoing discussions between the two organizations,” Nelson said.”

Sounds like PSHA/SHOW is being OH so generous...so far TWHBEA has not responded to their "invitation."  I'm glad to see TWHBEA taking a stand here and not giving PSHA/SHOW the upper hand.  They are smart to do this.

Next, the HSUS offered to sponsor the TWHBEA World Versatility Show at the end of July.  This is the first time HSUS has ever offered to sponsor any horse show for any breed.  I believe they are trying to support TWHBEA in the decisions concerning the Whitfield Amendment and Marty Irby and Tracy Boyd's decisions.  Of course, the Lickers on the Executive Committee had to have a meeting so they could vote down the sponsorship.  An email exchange was blasted around the Internet via Facebook and the Walking Horse Chat.

From Marty Irby, current Past President of TWHBEA.  (The one who wrote us the letter--click here for more.)

Dear International Board:

I felt it prudent to bring this matter to your attention and have informed President Boyd, along with Vice-President of Pleasure Rick Weiss that I would be sending this email.

Over the past few weeks our EC has wrestled with the HSUS offering to sponsor the TWHBEA WVS for $1,000.00 sponsorship after we openly and publicly offered such sponsorship to the general public. Unfortunately after much email discussion the majority of the EC decided to turn down such sponsorship. 

To give you some background, Mr. Ron Thomas and I met with HSUS President Wayne Pacelle and V.P. of Equine Affairs Keith Dane last August for lunch in Smyrna, TN to ask them how we could potentially work together with HSUS. We worked for months just to schedule this meeting. Following, Mr. Pacelle sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, at my request, to ask for a meeting between TWHBEA, HSUS, and the Secretary to discuss matters related to the Horse Protection Act. 

Since that time, and after much thought the HSUS has offered to sponsor a $1,000.000 sponsorship of our TWHBEA World Versatility Show which the majority of our EC has recently turned down. I send this message after discussing the issue with our President & E.D., Mr. Boyd, and our Past Presidents this evening.

In a vote held this evening, and only the second motion and vote ever officially made by the Past Presidents, the group collectively decided that they recommend the TWHBEA Executive Committee accept the HSUS sponsorship. This is a monumental occasion is my eyes and according to Mr. Dane is the first time in The History of the World HSUS (with 10 Million Members in the U.S.) has ever offered to sponsor a horse show. I think this is huge and is the first in the chain of events of domino effects that will positively change the breed forever. 

I believe it is imperative we accept the sponsorship and move forward in the positive promotion of this horse. Evidently, HSUS feels the same, and following the Jackie McConnell videos and conviction, this will be forever a "feather in our cap." Those around the world will feel and see the effects of such a great decision, and I hope we can proudly say that the Tennessee Walking Horse, and TWHBEA feels the same. 

Working together will prove the greatest asset our horse has ever had, and we can have a brighter future than ever if we accept the HSUS sponsorship. How many people can say they were the first in history to accept such? Again, monumental for our breed. Many of you will disagree, but I pray for the sake of our horse that the majority of you agree.

After discussion with Mr. Rick Weiss, Vice-President of Pleasure Horse, who the WVS/HSUS Sponsorship falls under, I am proud to include his endorsement with the following points listed below:

"Marty here are my comments which I brought up on the subject:

HSUS Sponsorship points in summary.

1. HSUS and the media will have a field day when the headlines read "Breeder's refuse HSUS Sponsorship". Breeders back pedal about a sound horse industry.

2. HSUS whether we like it or not has made the WH industry take a sound stance. The WH industry has not, is not, or will not do it on their own. Will the TWHBEA?

3. Talk about TWHBEA mission statement. Zeis tried to remove Dane from the Board and after spending $18,000 our attorney said she did not have a case. Now we think we can remove Dane's Association because of the Mission Statement. NOT.

4. Does the EC now have to approve all of TWHBEA Sponsorships before we accept them. What will we do with the HPA and HIO violators with the covers on the "Voice" and faces hanging in our lobby and their sponsorship support. They certainly are violators of the mission statement and do not support sound horses.

5. Manna Pro products may/probably contains a "foreign substance". Do they qualify as a sponsor ? What will we do with all of their past/future help.

6. If the EC does not like someone's vote they can refuse their sponsorship. Where O Where will it end.

7. Why are EC members so concerned about something not in their division. HSUS support of sound horse programs is not welcome. Who were some of the sponsors of the Performance Horse Summit.

Folks I do not like all of what HSUS stands for or what they do. Bottom line is they know the WH industries little secrets and with their help TWHBEA may actually help produce a sound WH.

......The TWH in the eye of the public is not in the same category as eggs, chickens(the laying kind) or beef. The TWH in the eye of the public is in the same category as dog fighting and cock fighting. 

Way are we even going this route. I would like to approve all sponsors of TWHBEA events from now on. 

...........I thought you all should read this TWHBEA press release. "TWHBEA invites all those interested in showing their support for the World Versatility Show and/or National Futurity to consider one of the many available sponsorship opportunities." For the life of me I can not find where it says sponsorships need to be approved." (End Rick Weiss)

Chris Van Horn and Fran Cole, also directors with TWHBEA, followed up with two very supportive emails that also expressed their concern with approving or not approving which sponsorships TWHBEA accepts.

Here's the email from Keith Dane, director with TWHBEA and HSUS horse welfare lead, that explains how the HSUS came to this decision.


Thank you for sending this message - and thanks to those who have responded favorably.

I thought it would be helpful to explain how The Humane Society of the United States came to the decision to support the World Versatility Show with a corporate sponsorship.

As Marty stated, the HSUS has historically not sponsored any horse show - not because we don't support the concept of horse shows (I myself am a horse show judge of many breeds), but because the organization believes that it is the work of the industry itself to raise sponsorships from those who benefit from those shows - owners, exhibitors and horse industry businesses.

However, some of its donors support the notion that while HSUS works to help correct the wrongs that have plagued our breed for so long, it should also support and encourage events that promote the natural gaits, versatility and talents that this horse possesses, and which we believe offer the best prospects for the future growth and survival of the Tennessee Walking horse breed. As I mentioned at our May board meeting, HSUS will soon be unveiling a program to reward people who use or compete with their Walking horses in non-traditional venues which promote our breed to new, potentially untapped audiences and markets.

There are those in our horse industry, and in other segments of animal agriculture who have attempted to diminish the good work and progress that HSUS is making in improving the welfare and lives of both wild and domestic animals, by claiming that the Society is opposed to animal agriculture, ownership or use by humans - including horse shows and even riding. Nothing could be further from the truth, and a thoughtful review of the organization's website, humanesociety.org, and its many partnerships and programs with groups in the animal world would put those claims to rest.

As a member of our international board, I was pleased to be able to secure a sponsorship of our World Versatility Show from my employer, to support the Association financially while demonstrating to the industry and the public that HSUS appreciates the sound, natural, versatile Tennessee Walking horse, and our breed - and is not anti-animal use, ownership or agriculture. I hope the EC will reconsider its position on this matter and accept this sponsorship in the spirit in which it was intended.


Keith Dane TWHBEA Maryland Director

From here, the Executive Committee conducted a 3 hour and 27 minute call where a final motion passed 7 to 5 for Rick Weis, VP of the Pleasure Horse Division, to make the decision concerning the HSUS sponsorship.  Rick decided to accept the sponsorship.  I'm personally glad to know that HSUS is going to help the TWH out in this capacity.  It's making a big difference to know that we're starting to see some real, true change in the show industry.


Then there's this very strange press release from TWHBEA from July 11.  Mind you, this happened before the HSUS and PSHA/SHOW stuff.  I just can't quite wrap my head around what this means.

TWHBEA Issues Statement on McConnell Case    

As the official breed registry for the Tennessee Walking Horse, we at the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) are relieved to see this case brought to a conclusion. We respect the process and are satisfied with the result. We support any effort that protects the welfare of our beautiful Tennessee Walking Horses. Our attention now turns to the seized horses and their futures. On the advice of counsel, we did not get involved in this case until it was certain the horses would in no way be potential evidence. Now that the case is over, we have begun the process of reaching out to the State of Tennessee, having spoken to Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, offering to assist in the future care of these horses. In the event they are not returned to their owners, we have volunteered to assist in the placement of these horses into loving homes and ensure they receive the finest in veterinary care and follow-up attention. We eagerly await a response to our offer.

Now my question is this: why did you not step in to help these horses when they were seized?  Where was your assistance then?  Or are you more concerned about giving them back to the people who allowed them to be abused?

In a twist from this, the Shermans who own three horses named Paroled in the Night, Prides Mr. Williams, and Mucho Bueno have filed a civil suit against the State of Tennessee.  These three horses were named in the dockets as horses that were witnessed being sored.  It's quite possible--but not certain yet--that they have filed this suit to try to get their horses back.  We'll keep you updated if we find out more information about it.

Finally, remember that show that the Union Humane Society was putting on in Louisiana, and they attacked everyone who asked them not to have it?  Well, the USDA showed up!  From spectators who were there, many rigs turned around and left, so the most any class had was three horses, and several were scratched.  One big name trainer got a post-show tickets for the scar rule, and another was a bilateral sore--I'm not positive on the details, so I'll get that information out soon.  Guess it wasn't such a "humane" show after all...

So that's it for now.  Things are looking up and we'll keep you updated! And don't forget to check out BGB's website.  We seem to be experiencing some amazing changes that are going to be for the better of the TWH.  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 22, 2013

HOW YOU CAN HELP - A Letter to FTTWH from Marty Irby

I received this wonderful letter from Marty Irby today, the immediate past president of TWHBEA.  He said I am welcome to share it on the blog and anywhere else I want to, so I am.

While I am not renewing my membership with TWHBEA yet for my own reasons, I think that for those of you who want to should definitely do so.  And don't forget to thank those on TWHBEA's board who want to see support for HR 1518, aka the Whitfield Amendment.  They need our help, even if it's just kind letters!  (Click here for the list.)

THANK YOU Marty, for seeing it like it is!  I'm sure the horse thanks you for it as well!


Dear Sir/Madam:

I don't know you but my name is Marty Irby. You have posted about me before on your site and I wanted to inform you of my most up-to-date and recent positions.

First, as you may know I worked for more than a year with Mr. Keith Dane and Mr. Wayne Pacelle from the HSUS to secure a relationship in which TWHBEA & HSUS would be able to work together for the sound horse and positive promotion of our breed. As a result, and after advocating this to our EC and Members we have secured the Sponsorship of our TWHBEA World Versatility Show from HSUS. This marks the first time in history HSUS has ever sponsored a livestock competitive event, and the first time they have ever sponsored a horse show of any breed. I am grateful to both Keith and Wayne for their efforts in working together to achieve this for our breed.

Secondly, I have this morning posted on PopVox my official position regarding The HR 1518 Whitfield Amendment. I fully support the amendment and have made this public. After 2 years of attempting to get the performance horse people to work together to change training and shoeing equipment and to stop soring, I now realize they will not do this on their own. Therefore, the only alternative to stop soring and to ensure the survival of our breed and its welfare is to support Mr. Whitfield.

I just wanted you to be aware of my positions, and where I am today. I have come a long way over the past 7 years of service at TWHBEA, and am proud to have ended up where I am as a person and for our horse.

Please feel free to share my email with anyone you like or on your site/blog. Thank you for advocating for the sound horse and keep up the great work!

All the best,
Marty Irby
Immediate Past President of TWHBEA
President of TWHBEA 2011-2012
International Director From Tennessee
Marketing Vice-President, 2010
Marketing Vice-President, 2007
Former 8 Time World & World Grand Champion who finally understands and "gets it."

Monday, July 15, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - The Yearly Budget for the HPA GOES UP!

Wow!  I didn't even know this was being considered!  The yearly budget for enforcing the HPA has gone up nearly $300,000!  From the Humane Society Legislative Fund blog:

Here are details of what the Senate committee approved:

$893,000 for USDA’s enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to end the cruel practice of “soring” show horses (deliberately inflicting severe pain on the horses’ legs and hooves to make it hurt for them to step down, so they will exaggerate their high-stepping gait and win prizes). This is well above the current funding level of $678,510, as well as the House committee bill’s level of $500,000.

They also made appropriations to NOT include providing inspectors for horse slaughter plants, which means that those plants won't be able to be built if they can't be inspected.

There's a lot more in the article, which I've cut and paste below.  Click here to read it.

Overall, this is an amazing achievement.  It's wonderful to know that the Senate cares enough to make these changes and really get a handle on helping to stop animal abuse!


Humane Society Legislative Fund
Animals & Politics - Michael Markarian
Monday, July 15, 2013

Senate Committee Comes Through on Animal Welfare Funding

Though the work is far from done, this is shaping up to be a very encouraging year for animals on the appropriations front. We already reported on the House Appropriations Committee’s approval of solid funding levels to support USDA’s enforcement of key animal welfare laws, as well as its inclusion of much-needed language to stop horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. The Senate Appropriations Committee followed suit with parallel language de-funding USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants.

Now we’ve learned that the Senate Appropriations Committee has also come through with terrific news on funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement and implementation of key animal welfare laws. Thanks to the strong leadership of Chairman Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Ranking Member Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the Committee bill contains the full amounts requested by President Obama in his recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2014—which include substantial increases for several programs, notwithstanding the pressure to cut spending overall. The committee understood that it’s possible to achieve macro-level cuts while still taking care to ensure that specific small and vital accounts have the funds they need.

Here are details of what the Senate committee approved:

  • $893,000 for USDA’s enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to end the cruel practice of “soring” show horses (deliberately inflicting severe pain on the horses’ legs and hooves to make it hurt for them to step down, so they will exaggerate their high-stepping gait and win prizes). This is well above the current funding level of $678,510, as well as the House committee bill’s level of $500,000.
  • $28,203,000 for USDA’s enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets basic standards for care of animals at almost 28,000 sites across the country—commercial breeding facilities (including puppy mills), laboratories, roadside zoos, circuses, and airlines. Current funding of AWA oversight is $26,406,304 and the House committee bill provides $27,087,000.
  • $16,350,000 for USDA’s Investigative and Enforcement Services division, whose responsibilities include investigation of inspectors’ findings regarding alleged violations of federal animal welfare laws and the initiation of follow-up enforcement actions. Current funding is $15,866,009 and the House committee bill provides $16,275,000.
  • $89,902,000 for USDA’s Office of Inspector General, which covers many areas including investigations and audits of the agency’s enforcement efforts to improve compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and regulations to protect downed animals. The Senate committee report specifically flags the OIG’s work to address animal fighting violations under the AWA, in coordination with state and local law enforcement. Current funding for the OIG is $86,779,028 and the House bill provides $86,779,000.
  • Helpful committee report language directing the Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure that funds provided for Humane Methods of Slaughter Act enforcement will be used to ensure compliance with humane handling rules for live animals as they arrive and are offloaded and handled in pens, chutes, and stunning areas. Similar language is in the House committee report and was included last year for FY13 Agriculture Appropriations.
  • $4,790,000 for the veterinary student loan program that helps ease the shortage of veterinarians practicing in rural communities and in government positions (such as those overseeing humane slaughter, AWA, and HPA rules), by repaying student debt for those who choose to practice in one of these underserved areas. Current funding is $4,669,627 and the House bill provides $4,790,000.

Whether an animal welfare law will be effective often turns on whether it gets adequately funded. Having legislators seek that funding is crucial, especially when there are such strong competing budget pressures.  We are grateful to Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., who reached out to their colleagues and mobilized a broad showing of 34 Senators voicing bipartisan support for these animal welfare funds, as did Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., marshaling the support of 164 Representatives in the House. Their collective efforts set the stage for positive committee action, which in turn has put us in a strong position for good outcomes in the House-Senate negotiations.

We will continue to watch the appropriations process closely and press for the highest possible amounts when the House and Senate reach agreement on the final legislation. Proper enforcement of these laws not only helps animals but benefits people, too—for example, by protecting consumers from disreputable puppy mills and from mishandling of pets on airlines, reducing food safety risks associated with poor management at slaughter plants, and reducing the risk of bird flu transmission via cockfighting. Our fortunes are intertwined with those of animals, and doing right by them is good policy for all of us.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Mr. McConnell pled guilty to 12 of the 22 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty against him, involving the soring abuse of multiple walking horses being trained at his barn in Fayette County. 5 of those counts were run consecutively to each other, for a total effective sentence of 5 years, all of which was suspended and run concurrently to his federal felony sentence and probation, conditioned upon the following:

1 year house arrest supervision by CMC, and upon successful completion of the same, the remaining 4 years supervised release on state probation; payment of a total fine of $25,000.00 plus court costs; relinquish and forfeit any claim of title, ownership, or possession of and to the horses that were seized from his barn and which were the subjects of the abuse and cruelty; he must sell and completely divest himself of any title, ownership, or possession of any remaining horses within 120 days from today; he is prohibited and banned from owning, possessing, training, or housing any horses for a period of 20 years. Mr. McConnell was denied any form of judicial diversion relief to which he may have been entitled.

Codefendant Mays pled guilty to 4 counts of animal cruelty, and received consecutive sentences totaling 4 years, all suspended, upon supervised state probation, concurrent with his federal sentence and probation.

Codefendant Dockery pled guilty to 3 counts of animal cruelty, and received consecutive sentences totaling 3 years, all suspended, upon supervised state probation, concurrent with his federal sentence and probation.


Honestly, this is good news, especially since animal abuse was not considered a felony at the time he was arrested.  I imagine they're going to keep a close eye on him at this point.  Now let's see the same kind of justice on Wheelon, especially since now it IS a felony.

Thanks to Cindy M. for the update!

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