"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, September 19, 2014


Hello to all the sound horse warriors out there, and the animal abusers who continue to read this blog.

Due to some huge changes in my life, it's time to retire For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R).  We are leaving the breed ourselves, moving on to drafts and draft crosses.  We no longer want to be a part of the stigma associated with owning and training Tennessee Walking Horses.  The story of the Tennessee Walking Horse is now widely known, and this blog is no longer a necessity in the fight to save the horse.  There are other reasons I'm leaving the fight, but those are personal.

I thought I'd take the time to give a timeline of why For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R) exists and why everything has changed for me.

I have owned Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited breeds since 1999.  In about 2003, I learned what soring was, and I witnessed it for the first time at a local show.  I didn't know what I was seeing at the time: a man brought his Big Lick horse out of his trailer, pulled out a small bottle, glanced around to see if anyone was looking (he didn't notice me), and then proceeded to paint whatever was in the bottle on the pasterns of the horse.  The horse reacted with pain, but I honestly didn't know what was going on.

In 2004, I witnessed soring again, and again I didn't know what I'd seen.  This was a prominent show barn in California that was at our local A-rated show, which was governed by the rules of the NHSC at the time.  The horses were all in closed, curtained stalls, even when the other breeds were in open stalls.  I witnessed grooms painting stuff on the horse's legs before they went into the ring, and the horses reacting in pain.

Then an article came out in Equus magazine that year that changed things.  It talked about the persistent problem of soring and why it wasn't being addressed.

The Equus magazine, July 2004, Issue #321, that began my concerns about soring.
I started asking questions of the Tennessee Walking Horse people I knew.  I started getting nasty comments and flippant answers.  Our "trainer" whom we used to help us train our stallion and mares for the show ring would tell us it wasn't a big deal, that it wasn't going on anymore.  She kept having us use bigger bits and bigger shoes to force the gait, which wasn't working for our need to have versatile horses that could both trail ride and show.  I asked why people would even want to put their horse on those shoes and how ugly it was; I got yelled at and ridiculed.  I did not understand this attitude; why were they defending the very thing that was not only abusive, but illegal at the same time?

So my research began.

I started using our business website, Silver Phoenix Ranch, as a reference board for information regarding soring.  I posted articles, first-hand stories, information about the Horse Protection Act.  I was the only person on the Internet at the time who was publicly exposing soring for what it truly was--even the sound horse groups didn't have much out there about soring.

Soon, people started coming out of the woodwork asking me to tell their story, or asking for help in what they could do.  So I started the blog For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R) in 2009 to gather all of the information in one place so everyone could see it.  I also brought the plight of the Tennessee Walking Horse to Facebook with a page for For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R).  As far as I could tell, no one else had done this, and it sparked a myriad of other pages--both for the sound horse and for the sored horse--onto Facebook.

This also prompted legally registering the name "For the Tennessee Walking Horse" due to people trying to steal the name to create their own Facebook pages and confuse the public as to which page was the real supporter of the horse and not the industry.

In 2005, I helped expose a horse abuser to the public who had chemically sored a horse so bad his skin was sloughing off.  I helped petition the Kentucky Racehorse Commission to stop giving Breeders' Incentive Funds to HIOs that continued to allow soring to happen.  I exposed what soring was to our local show's show management and they successfully banned the Big Lick from their show.  I helped bring in the National Walking Horse Association to our local show when Friends of Sound Horses left.

This photo is from 2005 and was first published on the Silver Phoenix Ranch website
by permission of the horse owner's wife, who took the photo.  The chemical soring was so bad
this horse's skin was sloughing off.
For the past 10 years, I've been fighting a hard battle.  Mostly I have done it alone.  However, it's been wonderful to see that this battle is no longer about a few people here and there raising their voices.  Finally, soring is in the spotlight.  Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States and the hard work of their horse division, soring is now a term known worldwide, not just in America or among a small group of people.  It's taking its toll on the sore horse industry, and to a wonderful end.

Walk of Shame?  Video by Dateline NBC, published April 29, 2014

Most importantly, dozens of people have come to me and said that because of my blog, they now know what soring is.  Dozens of others have told me they used to allow their horses to be sored themselves.  They have chosen to stop soring solely because my blog helped give them the courage to stand up and fight, to stop allowing the animal abusers to bully them into silence.

Now here we are, 10 years later.  The video of Jackie McConnell and his grooms abusing horses has been headline news.  Jackie McConnell is on house arrest and is not allowed to own or train horses for the next 20 years.  Larry Wheelon is going to see his day in court.  The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act is now at 59 Senators co-sponsoring it--60 are needed to push past the stalling and get it to the floor.  There are 305 Representatives in the House who co-sponsor it, enough to bring it to the floor after the elections November 4th.  Newspapers and online news continue to publish articles about soring.  And this year at the Celebration, there were record lows of attendance, record highs of violations, and only three horses in the final WGC stakes class, "performing" to a very, very small crowd compared to days past.  We are at a crossroads, and the new path is in the favor of the horse.

Photo of the Celebration final WGC stakes class, Celebration 2014.
Photo by billygoboy, www.billygoboy.com

For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R) was so named because my goal has been solely to save the horse.  I am truly for the horse.  I do not associate with any one HIO or association, although I have in the past.  I have discovered that once we start creating organizations and HIOs, the focus shifts from the horse being the most important to the human wants being the most important.  It is never about how many shows you go to in a year.  It's not about whether or not the rules fit your needs.  It's never about providing options for owners of all types of riding styles so they can benefit in some way.  It is truly all about the horse, and no one else.  I have done my best to stick hard and fast to this rule, and that has been the only way I can keep my focus strong.

I wish I could list every single person I can think of to thank in this long journey, but to do so would take more pages than anyone would want to read.  I have met many heroes of the breed who have put the law and the welfare of the horse first, even in the face of danger to their own family and friends.  Some have lost friends and family members, some have had their lives threatened.  You are all important parts of the sound movement for the Tennessee Walking Horse, and I tip my hat to you a million times over.

To those of you who are continuing to support the Big Lick: I truly pity you.  I hope that you will realize that the release of the video of Jackie McConnell was the beginning of the end.  I totally understand that you have money tied up in the Big Lick horse.  I truly do get it, and I can completely understand why you're afraid.  So be financially smart: move your finances to the future of the breed, the flat shod and barefoot Tennessee Walking Horse.  This year's Celebration is going to be repeated next year as long as the Big Lick still exists.  The Big Lick industry is dying by its own volition; it doesn't need the PAST Act to end it.  Get out while it's good to do so.

To those who still fight to save the horse: I commend you for your hard work and strength.  This is a hard fight, something that when you take it on and dedicate yourself to it, it eats you alive.  I have one favor to ask: stop the infighting.  No one has "the perfect" answer to end soring.  Not one person has started or lead the fight.  Too many people get caught up in what THEY have done, that THEY are so important and have made huge changes.  We must remember this: we must humble ourselves and check our egos at the door when we're working to save animals.  There is never a place for attacking others, for pointing fingers, for causing riffs.  Please remember this, and the sound horse movement will grow stronger than ever.

Be sure to check out the post previous to this one for places to go to continue the fight for the sound horse, and keep contacting your Congresspersons to get the PAST Act passed.

My friends and enemies, I appreciate all you've given me over the years.  You've taught me strength and humility, patience and outreach, how to better communicate and how to present facts.  It's amazing what a cause to do what's right--not only by the law but also by morality and ethics--can bring out in a person.

I am sure the PAST Act will eventually pass and the Big Lick will completely disappear.  It doesn't mean soring will stop, but it does mean it will be easier to detect.  It means that our country is capable of passing animal welfare laws that create a stepping stone toward better laws that protect human abuse victims.  It also means that the power of strong-willed, patient, and determined people with good hearts will always prevail.

Thanks to you all.  Remember to always be...

Monday, June 30, 2014

FTTWH - Taking a Hiatus

Hello to all you sound horse warriors!

I'm taking a hiatus from the FTTWH blog for a while.  I will still post on the FTTWH Facebook page since it's easy, but blogging is taking up time I need to use for other endeavors.  Doesn't mean I'll be gone for good--just won't be blogging for awhile.

I recommend spending time online at the below Facebook pages and websites where you can learn more about how to help end this travesty in our world.

But first, an anonymous poem sent to me.  (Click for a larger view.)  I am keeping this here to remind everyone why we're still fighting and why we need to push harder than ever to get the PAST Act passed.

Billy Go Boy
All American Walking Horse Alliance
Stop Soring
Humane Society of the United States - Tennessee Walking Horses
Friends of Sound Horses
National Walking Horse Association
World Walking Horse Association

Facebook Pages & Groups:
All American Walking Horse Alliance
Humane Society of the United States
Honors Dishonored
Voters who Approve of HR 1518/S 1406
Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH)
World Walking Horse Association

Sunday, June 22, 2014

NEWS - The Walk on Washington Was a Success

While the sore side continues to flail and flop like fish out of water and cannot seem to get their proverbial sh*t together, the sound horse group continues to work so hard and get success from their actions.

Billy Go Boy really has the best posts about the event, so I highly recommend going to his website to read everything.  www.billygoboy.com

Some important notes are that about 75 spectators showed up (not many more than those at a Big Lick show).  But most importantly, the media was out in force!  Articles have shown up on ABC News, the Tennessean, CNN, and various other news outlets that were there.  Billy Go Boy has them posted on his site.  Let's see the sore side get that kind of support with their exhibitions.

I have also heard that since the event, four new co-sponsors have signed on to the PAST Act.  There is also talk about the Act getting to the Senate floor for vote.  I will update everyone once I find out more news if this is true.

Also, please read this post for sure, if you don't read anything else.  This is the story of Dutch, a horse that was noticed at a Pennsylvania auction in June of 2013 in horrible condition.  From the story I was originally told about this horse, the owner took him to the auction to sell him.  Luckily, people who knew what soring was took the original photos of his legs and feet in the auction barn.  The owner found out about it, snatched him up and took him away.  Obviously he knew it is illegal to have a scarred horse at an auction.  From what I heard, someone had gotten a license plate number.  The rest of the story is on the post.

Some sore side folks have made fun of the amount of horses being low.  But it's not like the Big Lick classes aren't big now.  Two to three horses per class does not constitute a full classes.

The only defense of the sore side is to make fun of the natural horse riders quite frankly showing their ignorance.  I invite everyone to take a gander at this post from Facebook off of the open page of Tommy Williams, who runs the Walking Horse Report and Walking Horse Chat, where crazy anti-HSUS theories abound and names they believe are insulting are slung about.  CLICK HERE.  For the record, I'm proud to be a tree hugger and rabid animal welfare activist.  Much better than being called and animal abuser or a felon supporter.

And finally, here's the picture circulating the Internet of Pam McKinney, the Virgina TWHBEA Director, who came to the WOW event and spent her time walking around and making nasty comments, her cronie trying to pass out anti-PAST Act propaganda (of which they were not authorized to do), and when she was confronted about it, this was her response, as well as dropping dozens of F-bombs.  She was escorted away from the exhibition by local police.

The reason I post this is to show folks how well we are doing to save the horse, and how the sore side cannot stand on its own two stacked and chained feet anymore.  We continue to make progress to save the horse.  Soring and the Big Lick are not only cruel but no longer popular in the horse world.  It's time for it to end, and I can't wait for the PAST Act to pass.

Check out the All American Walking Horse Alliance website and Facebook page to learn more about their time in DC.  And thanks to everyone who worked on this project AND who donated their time and money to it.  This is why the PAST Act will pass: we are willing to work hard and keep at it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

HOW YOU CAN HELP - A Gentle Reminder

Well, perhaps not so gentle...but in any case....

If you're bored this weekend--too hot to go outside, too boring inside--please take a few minutes to make that phone call, write an email, or send a fax so it's on their desk Monday morning bright and early.  Or plan to visit your Congressperson in person, and call on Monday to make an appointment.

The list of the current non-sponsors of the PAST Act is in the sidebar on the right of this blog!



Please show your support and send them a few dollars or be present at the event.  More information can be found on the All American Walking Horse Alliance website.

ALL donations support press releases, transportation, horse boarding, flyers and hard copy information, news coverage, and other issues that need to be paid for.  None of the volunteers for the WOW are paid for their time.  So please consider a donation!

Monday, June 2, 2014

NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - House Reps List is Finished, TWHBEA Crap, and More from the Walk on Washington

Thanks to my friends and lots of hard work, we have finished the list of House Republicans who have not co-sponsored the PAST Act yet.  Republican support is supposedly more important to the Speaker of the House to bring it to the floor, which is why we haven't done a Democrats list.  So we need everyone to jump on their House Republicans to get this sucker to the floor!  I'm sure you'll see names in the list that are lost causes...but then again, sometimes it takes just one comment or one important fact that will get that person to listen.

Of note: The ranking House Democrat Collin Peterson, who is on the Agricultural Committee, has co-sponsored the PAST Act.  Click here to read why this is so important.

Next, TWHBEA held its yearly board meetings over Memorial Day weekend.  Sadly, the entire Executive Committee meeting was spent making changes to the by-laws so that they have a Pat Stout Clause and a Christy Lantis Clause (THEIR WORDS, not joking on this) to keep the Lickers on the board and EC and to keep the members from having a say.  They also changed it to force members to support the Big Lick horse, whether or not they want to.

The details for what went down are on Billy Go Boy's website at this link.  Please read this and realize what is truly going on here.

But here's the kicker, folks: they are going to post the entire by-laws as a yes or no vote.  They won't do what all other organizations across the globe do, which is allow members to vote on each change.  No, they want to make sure no one is allowed to actually have a say in what they truly want to see within TWHBEA.

IF YOU ARE A MEMBER, PLEASE VOTE A RESOUNDING NO TO THESE CHANGES.  They are going to not only hurt you as a member, but also continue to support soring and force YOU to support soring as well.  Do you really want your hard-earned money used to support animal abuse?

Once you've voted, PLEASE don't renew your membership.  In my opinion, TWHBEA has had it's time in the spotlight and now needs to die.  They will not change, that is for certain.  They enjoy soring, they enjoy their money, they enjoy trying to protect a way of life that has truly gone the way of the dodo.  Aside from soring, the Big Lick just is not popular anymore.  Let's let them kill TWHBEA on their own.  Don't give them your money anymore so they can fail.

If you are concerned about registering your horse, there are other options such as NWHA, WWHA, the Heritage Society and the Canadian TWH registry.  The breed will not go extinct as we all know there are hundreds of people out there breeding flat shod, quality horses.  Don't let TWHBEA's vice grip on the registry sway you.  Find another venue to spend your money on.  TWHBEA is no longer worth your time or anyone else's.

Next, the Walk on Washington is still scheduled for June 18th!  It will be at 1 pm and will take place in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool on 3rd Street Southwest on Union Square.  The All American Walking Horse Alliance needs our help financially to pay for this endeavor.  The monies go toward paying fees and for permits to be able to this, as well as travel costs for the participants and horses.  If you'd like to donate, please visit their website here: http://www.walkinghorsealliance.com/

Of course, the Lickers are spreading lies that this is some kind of marketing ploy...like they don't participate in marketing ploys themselves.  But it's okay if they do them, just not anyone else.  The Walk on Washington, however, is not a marketing ploy.  It is truly to educate the public about the horses and let our Congresspersons see sound, happy TWHs in action, so to speak.  This is a great opportunity for anyone to learn more about what's happening and why we need the PAST Act passed.  So if you're in the area, please join them and show your support for the PAST Act!

Monday, May 19, 2014

NEWS - All American Walking Horse Alliance Ready to Walk On Washington

***EDITED 5-19-14***
Please check out our sidebar for the link to the list of Senators who haven't co-sponsored the PAST Act yet.
We are still working on the Representatives list.  It will be finished soon!

A brand new alliance of sound horse supporters, owners, breeders, and exhibitors has come up with a phenomenal new way to educate our Congresspersons and the public to the plight of the TWH.

Introducing the All American Walking Horse Alliance

The All American Walking Horse Alliance is a brand new grassroots organization that have scheduled to perform a Walk on Washington.  On June 18, 2014, six to eight sound, well-trained and wonderful representatives of the TWH breed along with many supporters of the sound horse will make their way to Union Square Park on Capitol Hill.  The rally will be peaceful and will exhibit the horses as they truly should be showcased in the United States of America.

Roy Exum wrote a great piece on this event that explains everything, so I'll let him be your guide for this.  Click here to read it.

AAWHA does need our help.  There are lots of financial issues to consider, such as fees for permits, housing for the horses, and other such issues.  From their Facebook page:

Or buy a magnet:

Folks, this is truly a remarkable and game-changing event.  This is something that cannot be duplicated by those who are in opposition of the PAST Act.  Real horses showcasing their natural talents, available for our Congresspersons and other local taxpayers will help raise awareness and show how easy and important it is to get the PAST Act passed.  My congratulations and sincere thanks to those who have made this amazing endeavor.  Change is here, and we will see and end to the atrocity of soring.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


With the help of a good friend, I've been able to put together the list of Congresspersons who have not signed on to the PAST Act yet!

First is the Senate list.  I will update this post with House list soon!

Some important notes:

All of the addresses are the same building, city, and zip.  Check the footer of the file for the information.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF SUPPORTERS OF AND ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE PAST ACT!  This list will help you convince your Congresspersons why we need the PAST Act to be supported.  Be sure to mention the supports in your state directly!

Point out that the PAST Act is at no cost to the taxpayer.  Note that while those who do not support the PAST Act complain that jobs will be lost, let them know that the PAST Act only punishes the owners, trainers, breeders and exhibitors who use the tools of the trade to abuse horses.  Also point out that the industry has been allowed to police itself for over 40 years and still has not stopped soring and in fact encourages and rewards it.

Contact your Congressperson every week, every day if you have to!  The PAST Act will pass, but only with your help and enthusiasm!

If you have trouble with this file or find any mistakes, feel free to email me at forthetnwalkinghorse@gmail.com.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NEWS and ARTICLES - SBS Dateline of Australia Helps Expose the Truth; Dr. Blackwell, DVM Explains Soring Pain; Billy Go Boy's Recent Post

We have some great things going on within the Tennessee Walking Horse world.  If you've been following our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and Billy Go Boy's website, you'll know that the National Sheriff's Association has endorsed the PAST Act, while the Tennessee Farm Bureau has of course endorsed the industry and their useless counter-acts.  Although honestly, The Tennessee Farm Bureau's actions don't surprise me.  It just shows us that they are just as ingrained in profiting from the abuse as the Lickers are.

The list of supporters and endorsements of the PAST Act continues to grow!  Use this list when you're contacting your Congresspersons.  Click here to view the most updated list as of April 25, 2014!

The USDA has been working very hard.  They were at all of the major shows this season so far, and their presence either scared off exhibitors or caught a lot of the abusers in the act.  They brought their scientific, objective methods, and it's proving to work.  Please send them a message to thank them for their hard work.  Click here for the USDA HPA website for contact information.

Next, SBS Dateline out of Australia did an EXCELLENT piece on the TWH industry and soring.  They were present at this year's Trainers' Show and the Sound Horse Conference, so they showed footage and data from both.  This video is full of facts and good information from both sides of the sore horse world.  It also points out several fallacies within the industry, and counters many of their claims.  Click the banner from SBS Dateline below to watch the video.

"This is not the natural gait of the Walking Horse."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

"The exaggerated Big Lick is only achieved with the aid of what trainers call 'action devices,' the most obvious the ungainly shoes on the horse's front feet."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

Some interesting things I noticed.

03:25 - Brain Power reacts to Groover reaching toward his hooves.

04:53 - Mike Inman states that the TWH industry is important to the agriculture and farming in Tennessee.  There is no farming involved in owning TWHs.  Only showing.

08:13 - Winky Groover has vets check his horse after the USDA has disqualified the horse from the show.  He says the vets disagree with the USDA's findings.  Well of course the vets disagree--they are PAID by the industry to be there.  

11:26 - Dr. Tracy Turner used thermography at the Trainers' Show to help identify sored horses.  The Lickers continue to complain about the USDA not using scientific, objective inspections.  I don't know how much more scientific and objective thermography can get.  So you got what you wanted at the Trainers' Show, Lickers.  Sorry, Winky, I'm going to listen to the vet that used thermography and specializes in equine podiatry rather than your paid ones that didn't use anything but a subjective inspection.

After watching the thermography webinar and learning so much, I have to say I saw the lines on Winky's horse's pasterns that corresponded with the thermography.  I can see why the horse was disqualified--from what I've learned, he was clearly sored in the past but was "compliant" for the show.

But this was probably the best part of the video for me.  Mike Inman stated, "Essentially they [the HSUS] want the entire breed eliminated, again saying that will eiminate soring.  Well certainly, it will if you eliminate the horse.  There won't be any horse left."

Immediately, this quote was countered with Keith Dane's statement: "We [the HSUS] have programs to reward and encourage people who will use their Tennessee Walking Horses in humane, respectful ways and help promote the breed to the rest of the world.  So if we were against people having horses and using their horses, we wouldn't be offering rewards and recognition to people who are doing that humanely."

It continues to amaze me that this industry is so bent on perpetuating and rewarding animal abuse with the lengths they will go through.  But we're looking at a "tradition" that is truly normal to these people.  They've gotten away with it for so long, it's become ingrained in their culture.  Plus, these are trainers who wouldn't know how to train a horse without stacks, chains and "juice."  They have no idea how to start a horse from the ground up, how to use regular horse training methods to teach a horse to be ridden or prepare it for the show ring.  This was even commented on in the video: each horse is only ridden for about 20 minutes before they're hauled off to the show.  Twenty minutes of "training" is nothing compared to the hours upon hours most trainers put into their horses to compete, even those who use mechanical means.

Overall, a huge thank you to SBS Dateline for airing this.  The truth is out there, and it's becoming international!

The Sound Horse Conference 2014 has put up videos of their speakers on their YouTube feed.  I highly recommend hopping on over to YouTube to watch the videos of the presenters.  (Click for the link.)  We had some major players that told the truth about what's going on in the TWH industry.

My personal favorites are:

Dr. Michael Blackwell - Talks about what the pain of soring actually feels like.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's text of this presentation.

Carl Bledsoe - Former sore horse trainer who has chosen to leave soring behind.

Clay Harlin - Former supporter and owner of sored horses.  A preacher who talks about his time when he realized what was happening was wrong.

Dr. Tracy Turner - Thermography information and how soring happens, and debunking some of the Lickers' claims.

Of course, I recommend watching all the videos.  They are all extremely informative and helpful to end the practice of soring.

And speaking of Billy Go Boy, I really, really think this post is important: click here.  I love BGB's website because he keeps us going with such great information from the goings on within the industry, so much so that it keeps the fight going and fresh in everyone's minds.  I just find that this particular post really needs to be read and understood by everyone.  It shows how clearly disillusioned the TWH industry is.  It also reminds us that we are still gaining and we need to keep up the good fight!

Some thoughts:

I find it interesting that the only "spokesperson" for the TWH industry is Jerry Harris (Whatajayroe per BGB), of the What A Horse show from Tennessee.  He puts together a lot of videos with interviews of those within the industry.  However, it's clear that he twists words and facts to fit his own agenda, which to me is clearly to continue the sore horse racket so he can get paid.  Sadly, Harris doesn't realize that a change within the industry will stop it from hemorrhaging money and bring back the spectators and supporters of this great breed.

I also find it interesting that the industry keeps saying they want "scientific, objective inspections."  What's more scientific than x-rays and thermography?  Scientific studies continue to prove them wrong, yet they ignore them because it doesn't fit their agenda.  I have pointed out time and time again the quotes by Dr. Turner on various Facebook pages and forums, and the industry flat out WILL NOT watch the webinar or take the time to learn what science is really all about.  But we all know what's really going on: they just want to keep cognitive dissonance, to continue to believe their own lies, even in the wake of absolute proof.  If we say the sky is blue, they will call it black.  It doesn't matter to them.  Keeping their way of life is what truly matters.  So it's up to us to save the horse.

I'll keep you updated as I can, but please remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter @FortheTWH to keep as up to date as possible.  THANK YOU for continuing to support the welfare of the horse!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

VIDEO, NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - Bills, Bills, Bills; Video From Discussion With Sound Horse Leaders; FTTWH Is Now On Twitter & More

Well, we all know about the PAST Act.  But has anyone else heard about the PAID Act?

Okay, it's not really called the PAID Act, but we'd like to think that's what it's called:

Thanks to the Voters Who Approve of HR 1518/s 1406 FB page
Be sure to let the Congresspersons on this page know that we need them to reconsider their support and help stop abuse, not support those who condone and participate in it.

Most of you probably already know that Marsha Blackburn, paid Congressperson of the TWH industry (she was given $70,000 in donations at the Celebration last year) put together her own version of changes to the HPA.  Here's a good explanation from Thehorse.com (click for article):

On Feb. 26, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced HR 4098, or the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2014. Blackburn's bill would create one horse industry organization (HIO) to manage shows where Tennessee Walking Horses would be exhibited. Under HR 4098, that HIO would be composed of equine veterinarians and industry experts who would develop and implement protocols, guidelines, testing policies, and inspection policies for the industry. Under the legislation, these industry experts would be drawn from states most impacted by the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. The bill also requires that testing used during horse inspections be done “though objective, science-based methods and protocols,” and preserves the oversight structure between the Walking Horse industry and the USDA. The bill does not forbid trainers from using metal chains, or stacks and pads used in performance packages.

While this sounds all happy and dandy, it actually puts the industry right where they want to be.  It would give them one HIO, which the industry has already established by putting together the IIS, or ISS, or some other such crap...honestly, I can't keep track of it anymore.  Somehow SHOW is not defunct, or PSHA is...???  Seriously, more alphabet soup.  At any rate, having one HIO that will be run by the abusers puts those foxes at the front door of the hen house to usher other foxes right on in.

Plus, in requiring "objective, science-based methods and protocols," this buys them time to find ways to escape detection.  Objective and science-based methods are already available and tests have already been done.  The Industry just ignores it because it scientifically shows that the horses are still being sored.  (See refusing to release swabbing results of 2012 Celebration; general ignorance of Dr. Turner's six-year thermography study and the results.)

A few days ago, Lamar Alexander -- who strangely, had co-sponsored both the PAID Act AND the PAST Act -- released a more detailed PAID Act that just adds on some useless penalties and expresses that only veterinarians should inspect horses.  Which, with the USDA, they already do.  Another good explanation of the bill from Thehorse.com (click for article):

On April 1 Alexander, along with senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), introduced legislation modifying HR 4098 bill to require the HIO created in Blackburn's bill contract with “equine veterinary experts”; those experts would advise the HIO on the methods of testing for banned substances and about the interpretation of test results. Alexander's bill also creates a 30-day suspension of horses found to be sore for the first time; penalties rise to 90-day suspensions for each subsequent offense. Finally, the bill would establishe a 4-year term limit for anyone who serves on the HIO board of directors.

So, we need your help yet again!  Please OPPOSE both of these bills on POPVOX.  Click here for HR 4098 and click here for S 2913.  REMEMBER: These two bills need to be OPPOSED!

Next, here's a great video from The Tennessean Editorial Board with supporters of the PAST Act talking about why it's necessary.  Former Senator Joe Tydings, who authored the original HPA, Donna Benefield, and Attorney Clant Seay provide wonderful insight.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's post about it.

We have also started an FTTWH Twitter account!  Our goal is to tweet about important information that our Congresspersons need to know about soring and supporting the PAST Act.  http://twitter.com/FortheTWH and @FortheTWH.  Please follow us and retweet so we can get the word out and get as much support as we can!

I also want to announce that I'm not going to be posting on this blog as much for awhile.  I have some other pressing work to take care of.  But the FTTWH Facebook page and FTTWH Twitter account will still run as it's an easy place to share and give out information.  I also HIGHLY recommend following Billy Go Boy's website for lots of great up-to-date information.

So, to keep up with who's supporting the PAST Act and who we still need to contact, go to Govtrack.us to keep an eye on those who are supporting it.

House Support: HR 1518

Senate Support: S 1406

Key things the Congresspersons will want to know:

1.  This will be at no cost to the taxpayer to pass and implement as the funds for the HPA are already established.
2.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association for Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the American Horse Council (AHC and largest lobbyists in DC for horse-related issues), and Veterinary Medical Associations across the U.S. are in full support of the PAST Act.  Click here for the list of endorsements from across the United States.
3.  The Industry has not been and never will correctly police themselves as HPA violations continue to pile up each year.  The time has come for the USDA to take over inspections and for the tools used to sore horses to be gone from the show ring.

THANK YOU to everyone for all your hard work!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NEWS - Jackie McConnell Confession Video

It sounds like there was some great information that came out of the Sound Horse Conference this year.  Hopefully FOSH will make the information available to the public for free.

In the meantime, here's the video of part of Jackie McConnell's confession that was required in his sentencing.  Good information, and I'm glad to see it.  It's interesting how the crowd reacts when he says he loved the horses at 4:00.  I just am sad to think that I truly don't trust him in his "apology."  I think he's just sorry he got caught...but that's just me.  Let's hope he truly is sorry for what he did to those magnificent creatures in ruining their lives.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

ARTICLE - Dr. John Haffner, DVM, Tells Us The Truth

Currently the Sound Horse Conference is going on, and we'll see a lot of interviews and vital scientific information come out of the conference that's goign to help everyone out.

I wanted to share this today because I am in awe as to what Dr. John Haffner, DVM said during a presentation today.  I wasn't there to witness it, but Billy Go Boy shared the entire speech on his website.  So I'm copying and pasting it here.  Whether or not you are religious or believe in the Christian Bible, these words are still important no matter where they come from.  THANK YOU, Dr. Haffner, for telling the truth about this horrid industry.  (Click here for BGB's web link.)



March 29, 2014

BRENTWOOD, TN – The Saturday Sound Conference included John Haffner, DVM.  explaining why soring is necessary for a winning gait.  Haffner was frank and made reference to scripture in how he came to his epiphany regarding the sore Big Lick.

Soring: A Necessity for the Winning Gait

Isaiah 1:15-20

Your hands are full of blood!

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 ”It was these Bible verses that were illuminated to me like a newspaper in an old black and white movie early one August morning. It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart saying it was time to get out of a business built on the suffering of horses. This was the culmination of about 2 years of struggle for me. It began at the Columbia Spring Jubilee where I was the show veterinarian. A trainer that I did work for me asked me to inspect a mare that had been turned down by the USDA inspector. When I did, I could find no problem with her. I repeated the exam with the horse show videographer recording the exam.

The breeder’s association agreed to defend the case and they hired a lawyer from Dallas, Texas who had taken cases to the U.S. Supreme court because they figured they would lose in lower court and they were willing to take it all the way. The night before the trial at the Federal Court house in Nashville, I attended a meeting that the defense team had in a hotel room. I asked the attorney what he thought I was going to say if they asked me if soring was routine. To his credit, he said I must tell the truth. Then he asked “Is it?” I assured him that it is. It seemed that he was the only one in the room who didn’t know. Some of the others in the room became angry, and I got the impression the attorney was a little unsure about having me testify, but he really had no choice. At the trial I was very nervous, but as the questioning began, that question never came up. It apparently never comes up. And until I wrote my letter to Representative Whitfield, it seems that it has always been overlooked. In my opinion it is the critical question. It is the question that reveals the farce that inspection is. It is all a game. The trainers pretend they don’t sore the horses, the DQP’s pretend that some horses haven’t been sored, the USDA lets everybody pretend that there are only a few bad actors that sore, and horse show life goes on its merry way. But I digress.

When the decision was rendered, the judge wrote that he ruled for the defendant based substantially on my testimony. As I recall, that was in February. It was just in time for everybody to get ready for the show season. And did they ever get ready. I saw more open oil of mustard and blatant soring that spring than I had ever seen in my life. It just sat out in the open in the cross ties. The oil was so pungent in the cross ties that it made my eyes water. The USDA had been put in their place, and I had helped do it. So we were free at last to show like we wanted. That entire spring and summer I was troubled greatly about what I had done. I told the truth, but not the whole truth. I wasn’t asked, and I did not volunteer the information.

So that August morning when God told me that my hands were covered in blood and I had to stop doing wrong and learn to do right, I believed Him. Two weeks later, I had sold my part of the practice and was out of it. That fall I was called to meet a friend in the business and he wanted to know if I would run the DQP program. I told him I wasn’t interested in getting the government off their backs if they were not serious about ending soring. The thing I could never work out was how to let some horses in and keep others out. If they were doing the big lick, they had been sored. It was and is that simple. Some of the horses can make it though inspection and some cannot. Many can make it sometimes and not other times. Unfortunately for the trainers’ sakes, they can’t always tell when. The horse might check fine at the barn and then flinch for the inspector.

Pain is a complex sensation. Individuals respond differently to the same stimulus. For example: some people like to eat hot spicy food, and others cannot tolerate it. Or something that is painful at one time may not be noticed at another if there is a distraction. The degree of pain resulting from a particular stimulus will vary depending on many uncontrollable factors. Pain is an immense subject of research and is difficult to elucidate even when working with humans who can tell the investigator when and where and how bad it hurts. So to try to determine scientifically what hurts or doesn’t hurt a horse with mathematical certainty is not a promising endeavor. And I submit it is not necessary or reasonable to expect the exact painfulness of any training technique to be determined by any repeatable quantitative means. But it is reasonable to assume that oil of mustard on the skin or excess pressure on the sole hurts.

I hear people talk about the perception problem the industry has. I contend that the problem is not the perception. The problem is the reality.

The reality is that soring is the foundation upon which the big lick is built”.


Is soring necessary for the big lick?

If not, why is it still a problem 43 years after it was made a federal offense?

Why do essentially all the trainers active during those years have a record of violations?

Why did pressure shoeing become a common practice after pastern inspection began?

Why were the terms fixed and deep substituted for soring and the degree of soring?

Why do horses have to be trained to stand still while their pasterns are palpated?
Why do so many swabs test positive for forbidden substances?

Why when going from barn to barn did I see that all the horses in training for the big lick were sored?

Why would inspections at horse shows still be necessary?

Why hasn’t the industry ended it?

Why hasn’t a line of sound big lick horses that dominate the breeding and yearling sales been developed through selective breeding?

Why would industry insiders forfeit their friends, their livelihoods and sometimes their personal safety to expose something that is not a problem?

Why has no one stepped up to publicly refute the letter I wrote that stated soring is necessary?

Why is it not just a bad memory from a long time ago?

Scientific evidence has been called for to detect soring. There are many types of evidence and means of proving something. In the case of soring, the problem is not evidence. There is the evidence a history of over 60 years of soring. The problem is the willingness to acknowledge what is obvious. The problem is to risk the loss of money. The problem is to have to admit we have been doing something wrong and we do not want to be exposed. We don’t need to discover some scientific fact that has been hidden for many years. We only need to admit what is obvious and repent of our wrong doing.

Can it be scientifically proven that a horse cannot do the big lick without soring; probably not without breaking the law? Two groups of horses would have to be trained identically except one group would have to be sored and the other would not. That poses legal and ethical problems that would be difficult to overcome. It is also unnecessary. Who would it need to be proven to anyway? The trainers know soring is necessary. The grooms know soring is necessary. The farriers know soring is necessary. Anybody that works in and around the barns and is willing to open their eyes knows soring is necessary. Anyone who has been in the business for any reasonable amount of time knows that it’s necessary. There are a few people that I have found that it does need to be proven to. That is many of my friends in the AAEP and some of the folks at USDA. Most of them are unfamiliar with Walking Horses and the training required to achieve the big lick. Some of them think that perhaps the really good horses do not need soring and that it is only the unscrupulous trainers that do it.

The suggestion that a horse that has been trained to do the big lick can be turned out over the winter and put back on pads in the spring and do the big lick without soring fails to take into account an important fact. And that fact is that this is only possible with horses that at one point in their training were sored. They learned the gait because of the pain induced by the chain hitting on the pastern or the pressure shoe pressing on the sole. Those horses remember the pain and they will do the big lick without a recent episode of soring. It is safe to say that a horse that has never been sored will not do the big lick if someone puts a built up shoe and a chain on him and starts riding. He will walk in an odd manner with an exaggerated gait, but he will not immediately start stroking. And he certainly would not win a class at the Celebration.

According to a popular radio host, when you want to eliminate debt, you begin with the smallest and work your way through them taking on the next bigger debt until they are all gone. That is how I see the problem of soring. It may not be the biggest problem, but it is a problem; a real and serious problem. Maybe more so because of the effect it has on the people who do it and approve of it than the damage done to the horses. To intentionally inflict pain on an animal for any sort of gratification, dulls the conscience and can lead to many other problems. It appears that showing sore horses may become a thing of the past. However, considering the previous 43 years, I would submit that it is not a foregone conclusion. But whether soring goes or not if this country is to survive, we still have other more serious problems that threaten the very existence of our nation that must be resolved.

Soring is only one of many problems. The laws haven’t stopped it. The bad publicity hasn’t stopped it. A change of hearts is what is needed to stop it.  Ultimately, all of our problems will only be resolved if we return to God and He relents from His judgment on us and our nation.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

RESEARCH - Deaths in the Big Lick Horse Show Ring

First, THANK YOU to everyone who joined in on the THUNDERCLAP!  There were 464 supporters with their goal being 250!  This is great news!  Check out the results here.

Now, as we get closer and closer to getting the PAST Act passed, the Lickers get more and more desperate to try to keep their support of abused horses going.  One excuse I've been hearing of late is how many horses die in racing, endurance, cross country, and other sports.

I was sent the following information from a person who wants to see soring end for good.  This person was kind enough to dig up this information for me, for they knew that BL horses have died before.  It seems to me that the Big Lick horse is not immune to dying in the show ring.  These reports are directly from the Walking Horse Report.

October 2007: Walking Horse Report.com
During the first go round of the stake class at East Tennessee Trainers' and Ladies Auxiliary horse show, Armorall under the direction of rider Bill Reel collapsed and died. The nine year old stallion was owned by Bob Michaels of Winchester, VA., and has had a great show career during his young life, with his most recent win at Baileyton earlier this year. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Even more frightening, in the same year...

Walking Horse Report.com
Equine Obituary - I'm Johnny Cash
Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Johnny Cash, 18 year old stallion, owned and loved by the Holbrook family and ridden by Mike Conley, succumbed to heat following a second workout in the stake class at the Tennessee State Championship horse show.

The stallion appeared fine during the workout, but collapsed to the ground while in the line up.

Attempts to revive him were made unsuccessfully. I¢m Johnny Cash was given a final round of applause as he was placed on a gate, covered and carried out of the ring.

I think these obituaries speak for themselves.  Yes, Big Lick horses die in the show ring.  When you have to carry overweight riders on your hind end and struggle to get your front feet away from the pain, heat exhaustion can certainly be a problem.  So be sure to mention these horses' names if you have to to any Congresspersons who may claim that no BL horse has ever died in the ring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Thanks Billy Go Boy, for telling me about this!  THUNDERCLAP is a way to get our message to Congress in one feel swoop!  I figured I'll just plagiarize borrow BGB's instructions for how to use THUNDERCLAP.


Nephew Eugene says there’s something new on the internet called THUNDERCLAP.


THUNDERCLAP is so People who believe in a Cause can join together through Social Media and send a one time message on a particular day. It doesn’t cost anything to use.  And nobody will contact you.  It is strictly a way for people to deliver a message all at once – like a clap of thunder.   The PAST ACT is supported by The American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Humane Society Groups, and  the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The Cause:  Pass The PAST ACT = End Soring

Nephew Eugene thinks THUNDERCLAP will dramatically get the message out to U. S. Representatives and U. S. Senators to pass the PAST ACT.   THUNDERCLAP is a one time deal.  It will deliver one message that one day and that is it. 

The one day is March 24, 2014.

The beauty of THUNDERCLAP is everyone can join together and you can use Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr to deliver the message.  You can use all three which will give the message even more impact.   To make this work,  100s of people,  hopefully 1000s,  need to join  in order that this one THUNDERCLAP message will be delivered to your Representatives and Senators on Monday, March 24, 2014.

If you have FACEBOOK,  TWITTER or TUMBLR,  you can use  THUNDERCLAP.

The message:  ”Congress, pass the PAST ACT to end soring!   #PASTforHorses 

Here’s what you do:

  • Click on this Link:    https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9743-pass-the-past-act-end-soring?locale=en
  • Click on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr - you can do all three -
  • Choose the ones you want to use – On Facebook you can personalize a message you want to send.  You can do all three.
  • Whether you chose Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, Thunderclap will automatically post the message about the PAST Act, with the link for your contacts to reach their own legislators, on your page for you on the day of action! – It will ask you for your address so you can send it to your Representative and Senator.
  • That’s it – On March 24, 2014,   the THUNDERCLAP will be delivered!!!
  • And all your Friends on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr can join in sending the message if they choose to do so.
  • The KEY is to join NOW in order to have TONS of people delivering the Lightning and THUNDERCLAP on March 24, 2014.
  • Please do it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


268 U.S. Representatives co-sponsor the PAST Act – 62%

51 U. S. Senators co-sponsor the PAST Act – 51%


The PAST Act still has to go through the regular process of becoming a law, which gives me an excuse to post this old blast from the past:

Within the next couple of weeks, the Senate is going to hear information about the PAST Act.  They originally had it scheduled for March 5, and then March 12, but weather has been a problem.  So we still need to keep contacting them.

The Lickers had gone to DC for the March 5 meeting, but obviously that didn't work out.  However, know that they are going to do whatever they can, even throw money around and bully others, to get what they want.  SO KEEP CALLING AND WRITING TO YOUR CONGRESSPERSONS!  If yours has already co-sponsored, tell them THANK YOU and to keep their decision solid.

Many of you probably already know that Marsha Blackburn, one of the number one enemies of the horse, has tried to put together a bill to counter the PAST Act.  She only has about ten helpers on this, and the Tennessean newspaper put out a scathing editorial titled "Rep. Ed Whitfield's walking horse legislation would end soring; Rep. Marsha Blackburn's would enable it."  Click here to read this excellent article.

Plus, we still have some powerful allies on our side.  Pricilla Presley has ben visiting DC along with our sound horse warriors, and Carrie Underwood retweeted the above Tennesseean editorial, reaching thousands of her followers.

I am still working on the transcript for the thermography webinar, but I'm having computer problems and it's kind of getting done in spurts.  I did make this new image, though, so feel free to pass it around!  (Click for a larger view.)  You will get tons of news from Billy Go Boy's website, so keep heading on over there.

At this point, the light a the end of the tunnel is very bright.  We WILL get the PAST Act passed, and it's because of the continued hard work of all of you who want to save the horse that we will get there!  So keep your letters, emails and phone calls flowing!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I know, I keep pushing this, but folks, we HAVE to work hard on this.  GET OUT THERE AND GET YOUR CALLS, LETTERS, AND EMAILS IN.  Knock on doors if you have to!  Get petitions going!  We can't let the sore side use their money and connections to continue to be allowed to abuse horses.

And while you're at it, feel free to send this around to them as well!  Scientific proof that the stacks NEED to be gone because they do cause damage, whether the horse is sored or not.  Share it wherever you like, on Facebook, in forums, wherever you think someone will pay attention.  This is a slide and direct transcription from the January 17 webinar.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Things are moving along great in Congress as far as getting the PAST Act passed.  BUT THIS IS NO TIME TO SLACK!  You can check out Billy Go Boy's site for a play-by-play of what is going on.  (I'll let BGB do all the hard work for me.)

We still need everyone to PLEASE contact your constituents.  KNOW that the Lickers are desperate and are pulling their own strings.  Just because someone has co-sponsored the Act does not mean that they can't change their mind.  They are in Washington, DC and are fighting to keep the abused horse in the ring.  They have gotten Marsha Blackburn to put together an alternative to the PAST Act.  The alternative does nothing to help the horse, of course.  All it does is call for a single HIO.  Of course, the industry wants this--it will help them keep all the trainers, owners, exhibitors, etc. under their thumb.

The Lickers are trying to pool their resources and start a new HIO called the Independent Inspection Services LLC so it will be in place to go along with Marsha's alternative.  As the Church Lady would say, "How conveeeeenient."  It is of course going to be run by the same HPA violators and sore horse supporters that SHOW, PSHA, NHSC, and all the other corrupt HIOs have been run by.


Here's the list of people who haven't co-sponsored.  I know some of these folks have signed on since this list was made, so please take the time to compare it to the current co-sponsors list so you will know if your constituent has 

I also found this online...And I found it hilarious.

Guess when your ship is sinking, you'll grasp at any life preserver you can.  This also shows how when people complain about you, it means you're doing something right.  What's even funnier: this post got no comments and only two likes on Facebook.  Tee hee!  I really like the kittehs on there.  I own a black cat myself, since according to the Lickers, I'm a Satanic paganistic witch. (Wish I was a witch...I can think of some spells I'd like to put on some folks in Congress!)

My point here was to use the local cemetery OR the local library's address and zip code to get through the online blocks that Congresspersons have on their pages.  For example, they will ask for your address and/or zip code, and if you're out of their area they won't let you get the contact information or email the person you're trying to get a hold of.  So using a local address can get you past the computer block so your email will end up in their inbox.

Overall, I'm currently transcribing and creating a document with screenshots of the USDA thermography webinar that occurred on January 17, 2014.  So it will be coming soon.  For now, here's an important point made during the seminar (click to make it larger).  Keep your eyes peeled for the webinar document!

Monday, January 27, 2014

NEWS - What??? TWHBEA Continues to Baffle and Confuse in Attempts to Dupe the Public

IT's just gotten laughable now.  Seriously.  TWHBEA, we all know you support the sored horse.  We know you are against anything that tells the truth.

In their latest attempts at fantasy land pretending, David Williams, the TWHBEA VP for the Breeders and on the Executive Committee, and former manager of the failed Waterfall Farms, where they attempted to dupe the public as to what was going on by using Monty Roberts as their poster boy, made this little gem.  (Click to see a larger version.)

Here's the explanation of this map.

To TWHBEA directors:

Attached is a map and data showing the actual support of the PAST Act by TWHBEA members.

The data used was that collected and accounted for by Cook and Company the accounting firm hired by Pat Stout to process their poll results.

Using their data, only 15% of TWHBEA members residing in the U.S. are on record supporting the PAST Act.

There are only 7 states in which the majority of their TWHBEA membership is in support of the PAST Act.

Those 7 states comprise less than 1% of the total TWHBEA membership.

There are others who would like us and our membership to believe otherwise, but a only a very small percentage of TWHBEA members are in favor of the PAST Act.

Feel free to share.

David W. Williams

My reaction:
I honestly don't understand this.  I really don't.  I mean, I'm no math whiz, but this makes NO SENSE.  They are assuming that anyone who DIDN'T vote in the Stout Poll is AGAINST the PAST Act.  Seriously?  THAT'S what you came up with?  David Williams, are you TRULY that daft?

And as far as the State of Arizona goes, and using THEIR logic...

Gosh!  That was some hard math to do there!  Yessiree!

Next, the Enforcement Committee, made up of mostly Lickers, no less, has come up with this report concerning their "investigation" against Pat Stout's actions.  Click here for the report.  There is a lot of rhetoric and false accusations, nothing concrete.  In their list of findings, they go on hearsay that Jennie Jackson said Pat Stout didn't have an anonymous donor.  They also say that the picture of the horses on the ballot are of horses going to slaughter.  What difference does that make?

They talk about not violating the Code of Conduct.  Clearly, their Code of Conduct is interpreted differently by the sore horse group than it is by the rest of the world.  Plus

This is my favorite part of the report:

Their purported poll was not a poll at all.  It was a "push poll" or an attempt to sway the opinion of anyone who read it.  It advocated a specific political position, and sought support for that position.  While everyone has the right to advocate a political position, no one has the right to mislead the members of this association or the public about the position of the association.  This is especially true for directors and officers.

Here's my interpretation of this paragraph.

Their purported poll was not a poll at all.  A single question with a YES or NO answer isn't a poll, but it WOULD be a poll if we had put it out there.  It was a "push poll" or an attempt to sway the opinion of anyone who read it.  We don't like that the postcard said the horses need our help because we're not for the welfare of the horse.  It advocated a specific political position, and sought support for that position.  While everyone has the right to advocate a political position except for those who are for the sound horse, no one has the right to mislead the members of this association or the public about the position of the association except for us by putting out false statements and lying to the public about soring, like with the above referenced map.  This is especially true for directors and officers.

What's odd here is that there is no action taken.  Their conclusions are just that: conclusions.  They don't put forth any "punishment."  (Although in my honest opinion, being kicked out of TWHBEA for not supporting the sored horse would be a badge of honor.)  They did send Pat Stout a letter saying they have suspended her privileges with TWHBEA until she "cooperates" and sends them the information they are demanding of her.  Click here for the letter.

The list of the Enforcement Committee members:

Thomas Kakassy, Chairman (multiple HPA violator, BL supporter)
Everett (Butch) Allen (HPA violator, BL supporter)
Denise Bader-Keyser (flip-flops between being sound or sore, BL supporter, husband has HPA violation)
Ann King (multiple HPA violator)
Curt Rosemann (Arizona residents voted him out of the Arizona rep position because he does not support the PAST Act and therefore does not support the Arizona members' best interests)
Denise Rowland (multiple HPA violator, VERY well known for supporting the sored horse and for her lawsuit against the USDA that she lost concerning soring horses)
Jeff Tanner (BL supporter)
Nicole Tolle
Margo Urad (HPA violator, BL supporter)
Kim Widner

From the TWHBEA Code of Conduct Standards:
“No person shall knowingly … engage in any practice which has the effect of corrupting the integrity of the Association … or otherwise engage in an unethical practice in any situation involving a Tennessee Walking Horse or any matter in which this Association has an interest.”

You know, if this isn't a conflict of interest, then I TRULY do not know what is.

Here's the bottom line, folks: TWHBEA doesn't care about the sound horse; they only care about their pocketbooks.  It's pathetic that they can't see the forest for the trees, and it's gotten to a point where they are so transparent in their lies and cover-up attempts that it's just laughable.  They are the laughing stock of the horse world for a reason.  They KNOW they are doing wrong, and yet they persist in making themselves look like fools.  Don't they realize that they are truly ruining the breed for everyone but their tiny circle of sore horse supporters and animal abusers?

I have a request: to everyone who is a sound horse person--a REAL sound horse person, as in you support the PAST Act as it is--please do not renew your membership next year.  Don't give these people any more money.  They absolutely are not going to make any changes, or if they do, it's going to be too late.  They work hard at keeping the sound horse people from speaking up and won't listen to them.  We've seen hints and glimmers of hope here and there, but they have always jumped up to keep abusing animals.  Look at Tracy Boyd--he's been bullied back into the fold.  So let them fail.  Let them die their death.  The registry can be started anew by someone else; the horses that are truly sound aren't going to stop being sold or promoted.  Let's allow them to kill themselves, and let's hit them hard by not giving them any more of our money or our time.  Thanks for being for the horse, everyone!

Monday, January 20, 2014

HOW YOU CAN HELP - Contact the TWHBEA Executive Committee Today at Walt Chism's Request

As we continue through January of The Year of the Horse, our work continues to end the horrific practice of soring.  Recently, Walt Chism, the Senior Vice President of TWHBEA, asked this on a TWH Facebook page.

Some but not all of you may not be aware that I am serving as Senior VP of TWHBEA. I and the rest of the Executive Committee would be interested in your views and suggestions for a better breed registry. I did suggest at the EC meeting Friday that TWHBEA organize at least 4 multi-day flat shod horse shows across the country for this year. That idea came from a fellow member and trainer.

So, let's let him know!

First of all, as far as I know, breed registries don't hold shows...?  Isn't that all TWHBEA is: They're JUST a registry?  But I digress....

Many of the emails that have been sent to the Executive Committee end up in a catch-all email inbox and don't get read by those who need to read them.  So we put together this list for you.  Email away--let TWHBEA know that yes, flat shod shows would be great, more focus on what the members want, and more focus on getting rid of soring!

Walt Chism - chsmtrl@hotmail.com
Rob Cornelius, Past President - rtcbwc@yahoo.com
Ford Gates, Performance Horse Vice President - fordgates@yahoo.com
Dr. Linda Montgomery, Training/Equine Welfare Vice President - drlindamont@bellsouth.net
Christy Lantis, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President - clicketycn@aol.com
Sherry White, Member at Large Youth Vice President - whiteegrhorses@hotmail.com
Ashley Wadsworth, Marketing Vice President - awadsworth@bellsouth.net
Tom Kakassy, Member at Large Bylaws/Enforcement Vice President - thomaskakassy@carolinarr.com
Jessica Hleback, Pleasure Horse Vice President - jhlebak@ncsu.edu
Steve Smith, President - sssmith@haurysmith.com
Denise Bader-Keyser, Germany, Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President - denisebader@twhb.de
David Williams, Breeders Vice President - dwilliams32563@hotmail.com
Loren Sanderson, Secretary - lsanderson@twhbea.com
Tracy Boyd, EC Director - tboyd@twhbea.com

Thursday, January 9, 2014

NEWS, ARTICLES and HOW YOU CAN HELP - Christmas for the Tennessee Walking Horse Continues Into the New Year


I am amazed, simply amazed at the hard work and dedication of the sound horse people in the past year of 2013.  December turned out to be a wonderful month for the TWH, and the gifts just keep on giving.  I was actually going to put together a timeline of what happened, but good ol' Billy Go Boy did it for me!  Here's a quick rundown of the timeline, and you can read it directly here.  I have added links to the confessions so everyone can read them.

  • Midnight Sun statue leaves the TWHBEA building.
  • Kentucky After Christmas Sale is inspected by IWHA; no stacked horses show up.
  • David Howard forces WHTA trainers to join PSHA.
  • PSHA attempts to tell the USDA on short notice they will be the HIO at the Trainers Show.  USDA says no.  Lots of empty seats at the show.
  • PSHA Chair Terry Dotson, Jeffrey Howard, Mickey McCormick and Lobbyist Jeff Speaks meet for 15 minutes with U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and promise to clean up soring.
  • Blount County SPCA/USDA obtain search warrant and raid Larry Joe Wheelon's Barn in Maryville, Tennessee.  Wheelon is arrested a few days later, and 19 horses are seized.
  • TWHBEA Executive Committee votes 7 – 4 to endorse HR 1518,  the PAST Act.  
  • TWHBEA Directors refuse to ratify Executive Committee endorsement of HR 1518.
  • TWHBEA President Tracy Boyd issues his statement endorsing the PAST Act.  Boyd is later fired from Baskin-Irby Construction.
  • TWHBEA CEO Ron Thomas takes early retirement.
  • TWHBEA hires Tracy Boyd to replace Ron Thomas.
  • Former TWHBEA President Marty Irby starts campaigning for HR 1518.
  • Loyd  Black is selected Interim TWHBEA President.
  • Celebration confiscates TWHBEA’s building on Celebration grounds.
  • Celebration refuses to give TWHBEA show records.
  • Jackie McConnell sentenced in Somerville, Tennessee – fined $25,000.00 and sentenced to one year house arrest, five years monitored probation and not being able to own, train, board, or have any dealings with horses for the next 20 years.
  • Fayette County Assistant District Attorney  Mark Davidson files action to confiscate Floyd and Beverly Sherman's horses seized at Jackie McConnell’s.
  • U. S. Judge Terry Means upholds the USDA Mandatory Minimum Penalties in a Summary Judgement in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • David L. Howard announces $931,000 in losses to the Celebration over five years and that SHOW HIO in debt for $560,000.
  • HSUS gives $1,000 to sponsor the TWHBEA World Versatility Show - the first time in history HSUS has ever supported a horse show of any kind.
  • Sound Horse Advocate Donna Benefield, W.Ron Dehaven, AVMA CEO; FOSH President Teresa Bippen and Gaited Horse Clinician Gary Lane meet for one hour with U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
  • Preliminary Hearing for Larry Joe Wheelon is held, and the charges are dismissed on a technicality.  Wheelon is found neither guilty nor innocent.
  • Outraged Blount County citizens start Petition Drive for the Blount County D.A. to take the case to Grand Jury.
  • Celebration officials David L Howard and John T. Bobo accept the Mandatory Minimum Penalties for the Celebration.
  • Pat Stout asks the Executive Director about polling TWHBEA members on HR 1518, and she is told that is not a good idea and don’t bring it up.
  • PSHA Chair Terry Dotson gets two horses turned down sore the first night of Celebration, one being Honors, the "shoe-in" for winning the WGC.  Dotson argues with a USDA VMO.
  • Honors is turned down for two scar rules and barely misses getting a two-footer sore violation.  The visibly upset crowd voices displeasure and leaves the Celebration in an uproar.
  • Terry Dotson resigns as PSHA Chair, packs up horses and leaves during the Celebration.
  • On Friday, August 30, SHOW HIO finds 0 of 138 inspections while the USDA finds 10 of 75.
  • SHOW HIO finds 30 HPA violations for the entire show.  USDA spot checks horses and finds 70 HPA violations.
  • Celebration attendance is the lowest it has been in years, a decline from 162,176 attendees from 2004 for Saturday night to 95,400 in 2013.
  • TWHBEA VP of Horse Shows Pat Stout decides to poll the TWHBEA members on the HR 1518/S1406 legislation with funds donated by a private party.
  • 6,950 postcard ballots are mailed to TWHBEA members.
  • TWHBEA members rally to vote in sound horse supporters to the Board of Directors.
  • TWHBEA President Loyd Black abruptly resigns.
  • HR 1518 Poll votes are counted.  26% of the members responded.  63% of TWHBEA members who responded voted YES for passage of HR 1518/S1406 PAST Act; 37% voted NO.
  • Board of Directors votes are tallied.  Many sound horse directors are voted in, but not enough to vote for a sound Executive Committee and Officers.
  • University of Tennessee Homecoming game features flat shod natural gaited Tennessee Walking Horse.  Caroline Emery rides Amazing Grace, Cat Dye, Trainer, Winchester, Tennessee.
  • Full color ad announcing the results of the poll runs in Sunday edition of The Tennessean, paid for by Concerned Citizens Against Horse Soring.
  • Congressional Hearing before House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee concerning the PAST Act.  Invited witnesses testify before the Congressional panel with supporters and opposers in attendance.
  • The Tennessean Newspaper criticizes Tennessee U. S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and the Congressional delegation (except Rep. Steve Cohen) for remaining silent on the PAST Act.
  • Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) hires Marty Irby as Agriculture Legislative Aide.
  • Celebration SHOW HIO resigns from being an HIO.
  • Blount County, Tennessee Grand Jury indicts Larry Joe Wheelon and three alleged co-conspirators on 19 counts aggravated animal cruelty charges. All are afforded the presumption of innocence.
  • California TWHBEA members represented by attorneys Fran Cole and Patricia Kryder, King & Ballow, petition TWHBEA under Tennessee law for removal of Christy Lantis as California Director.
  • TWHBEA  Executive Committee dismisses all matters regarding Pat Stout.
  • Nominating Committee doesn't even consider a sound horse panel for the Executive Committee and Officers.  Steve Smith is voted in as President after lying that he has never received an HPA violation ticket.
  • Discussion regarding HR 1518/S1406 Poll dominates TWHBEA members meeting.  Everett “Butch” Allen makes a motion for the Enforcement Committee to revisit the HR 1518 Poll matter.
  • U. S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) co-sponsors S.1406.  Thune is the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to which S. 1406 has been referred. He is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and number three man in the Senate Republican leadership.
  • Clay Harlin publicly provides his experiences facing the reality of soring and his vision for the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.
  • Trainer Carl Bledsoe publicly tells the truths of soring.
  • John C. Haffner, DVM, Horse Science Faculty at MTSU publicly provides a hands on narrative of Big Lick soring culture.
  • Responding to Texas Director Allen’s Motion, Pat Stout's attorney, Clant M. Seay, releases the Greg Cook, CPA, Cook and Co., Detailed Breakdown, State by State and Region, along with a graphic of a color map of the United States indicating support and non-support for the PAST Act. (included below).
  • Priscilla Presley notifies Celebration that the Graceland Challenge Trophy will be rescinded over the continued soring and “inhumane treatment” of horses at The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
  • California attorney and former TWHBEA Director Fran Cole persists in representing California TWHBEA groups efforts to have removal vote on Director Christy Lantis to be done by secret written ballot.
  • TWHBEA Senior VP Walt Chism denies California TWHBEA members the right to vote on Lantis removal by secret written ballot and engages in internet discussion with Directors regarding TWHBEA’s legal position.
  • TWHBEA President Steve Smith responds to “internet Chatter” and writes a letter to TWHBEA directors.  He lectures them on being involved in “squabble” that is wasting TWHBEA resources, and promises to “promote our breed to new heights”.
Then today, Eric Gray, a former TWH farrier, came out with a letter about pressure shoeing and how it works.  Click here to read it.  From his letter:

First a little history: when you pulled shoes back in the mid 90s, back before the machines, it wasn’t uncommon to find a half of a halter ring sitting behind the white line and in front of the frog of a horse that had been trimmed with a shaved down, flat sole.  I’ve personally found all sorts of things on big lick horses between the top of the nail pad and the bottom of the hoof, things like strings of quarters glued together, heel springs with bouncy balls melted on to the area of the frog, nail pads that were ground down at the edges but domed at the center and hammer shims of metal including steel.  Flat shod horses weren’t immune to the problem, either. Tall beads of weld around the inside toe area of the surface of the foot caused painful sole pressure and there were other tricks as well.

Melted?  MELTED???  I am just shaking my head at that.  I know I shouldn't be, but I am constantly shocked at the lengths people will go to to torture animals.

But what's most shocking is this:

I have seen horses left standing in crossties overnight, days before a show to keep them from lying down and escaping the pressure in their feet.  I once arrived at a barn in the early morning to find a horse dead, still hanging from the crossties. The autopsy revealed stress colic due to unexplainable circumstances.

I used to keep a list of horses that were listed in the Voice magazines that had died due to colic.  They weren't exactly old horses, either.  It just seemed suspicious to me since it seemed several horses died each month from colic.  What are the people in Tennessee doing that these horses keep dying of colic?  I wish I had kept that list.

Some huge news from Graceland also hit the computer screen.  Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley's wife, came out and will be taking back the trophy she and Elvis donated to the Celebration.  Click here to read the story.

Here is the Lickers' response:

"'Cillia, get me another six, a set of peppers, and a tie down"
"I am a big licker to the core baby..."
This was posted on the Walking Horse Chat.  It was a rolling gif, so photos were taken of it.  I cannot believe how cruel some people can be.  I'm sure Ms. Presley was looked upon fondly by them.  Now they are going to treat her like garbage.  My take is that if you don't agree with their twisted need to torture animals for fun and profit, then you're blacklisted and must be attacked.  I imagine that if even Phil from Duck Dynasty publicly said soring is cruel and needs to stop, he'd suddenly be torn to pieces as well.

Even better (or worse): this is a COPYRIGHTED image, so basically Tommy Williams, the owner of the WHC, is going to be in a lot of trouble once this information gets out.  (Photo is copyright Authentic Brands Group.)

As stated before, Attorney Clant Seay released information regarding the PAST Act Poll along with an excellent graphic to show how the PAST Act is viewed across the United States.  Here's the graphic.

You can click on the map to make it larger, but here's the rundown of the percentages. These are based on the 26% of members who responded to the PAST Act Poll.  Green states are the states that voted for the PAST Act.  Pink states are those that voted against it, and blue states are evenly divided between yes and no.  The percentages below are pro-YES.  I think it's pretty clear where the population of the United States that are TWH owners/breeders/trainers/exhibitors/riders stands.

Alabama - 39%
Alaska - 100%
Arizona - 100%
Arkansas - 53%
California - 79%
Colorado - 100%
Connecticut - 100%
Delaware - 100%
Florida - 89%
Georgia - 48%
Hawaii - No votes
Idaho - 86%
Illinois - 82%
Indiana - 100%
Iowa - 82%
Kansas - 100%
Kentucky - 43%
Louisiana - 70%
Maine - 100%
Maryland - 87%
Massachusetts - 100%
Michigan - 95%
Minnesota - 90%
Mississippi - 42%
Missouri - 63%
Montana - 100%
Nebraska - 100%
Nevada - 100%
New Hampshire - 100%
New Jersey - 100%
New Mexico - 100%
New York - 100%
North Carolina - 48%
North Dakota -100%
Ohio - 67%
Oklahoma - 90%
Oregon - 80%
Pennsylvania - 94%
Rhode Island - 100%
South Carolina - 51%
South Dakota - 100%
Tennessee - 32%
Texas - 78%
Utah - 82%
Vermont - 100%
Virginia - 67%
Washington - 81%
West Virginia - 74%
Wisconsin - 84%
Wyoming - 100%

Finally, this showed up in my inbox.

You can click on the picture to make it larger so you can read it.  From what I see, we're looking at quite the witch hunt here.  From what I understand, Marty Irby went to BL barns as the TWHBEA President, and if people welcomed him on their property, there isn't much that they can do about it now.  It's not like Marty ran around reporting who's soring horses; otherwise we'd be seeing a lot more raids going on.  Again, the WHTA has something up their sleeve to distract from what the real problem is: TO END SORING.  This is how they deal with soring: attack and "get" anyone who no longer agrees with it and is standing up against it.  If they were this bullheaded about ending soring, it would have stopped 40 years ago.

I want to thank each and every one of you who has helped out in the fight to save the horses.  Whether it's  phone call, a vote, a letter, an email, signing a petition, sharing information, it doesn't take much to keep our work going and to keep the abuse in the spotlight.  In 2014, The Year of the Horse, I believe we WILL see the PAST Act pass, and we will see a solid beginning to the end of soring for good!

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