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

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

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

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, August 29, 2010

THOUGHTS - Kind of OT, but applies to Black Week...

I watched the film The Cove tonight. I was excited because it's on my Netflix list, but Animal Planet aired it tonight, so I got to see it anyway.

In case you haven't heard of it, The Cove is a film about the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan. Each year, thousands of dolphins are "herded" into a small cove off the cost of Taiji. They are then evaluated by local dolphin trainers to sell them to marine shows across the globe, usually to places where the quality of the care and training is inadequate. The remaining dolphins are then moved to a smaller area around the back of the cove, where they are systematically and brutally slaughtered and sold for dolphin meat. Over 23,000 dolphins die each year in this senseless form of killing. The Cove won the Best Documentary Film from the Academy Awards in 2009.

This film is an amazing eye opener, and I cannot thank the filmmakers enough for exposing this horrible tragedy. The facts are that there is no need to slaughter this huge amount of dolphins. Dolphin meat is extremely high in mercury content and very dangerous to eat. In fact, the levels of mercury in dolphin meat make it illegal to sell in many countries. The Japanese gov't claims that the dolphins and whales are to blame for the disappearance of the fish in the oceans, which of course we all know is a load of crap. It's the problems of humans overfishing, particularly the Japanese, that is causing this problem. But they raise this excuse to try to continue to slaughter whales and dolphins. Japan is paying small third world countries, such as Antigua, to support their efforts to re-introduce whaling into their fishing. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) who are supposed to be protecting these animals continue to just sit around and hold meetings try to placate everyone and not take action to stop this. The Japanese also claim that hunting dolphins is a tradition, and the rest of the world just doesn't understand.

What fascinated me about this film is that this slaughter and the reasoning behind is it almost exactly the same as the continuation of soring of horses. The actions are illegal. Those who support soring pay others to back them up and/or shut them up. They blame everyone else except themselves for the problem of the horses continuing to be abused. They are determined to continue their way of life instead of changing and not be bothered anymore. They lie on camera and make up excuses for their actions. They try to keep outsiders from coming in and learning more about what's going on. The gov't body that's supposed to be policing this aren't pushing hard enough for it to end. The abuse is not well known and occurs in small pockets across America. And they say it's tradition and the rest of us just don't understand.

I would hope that someday someone will do the same thing: put together an award-winning film that puts soring in the spotlight. No, the horses aren't dying, but they are certainly suffering needlessly, especially during Black Week. I can compare the slaughtered dolphins to the sored horses because the reasons behind why it continues are the same. Let's take a cue from the filmmakers of The Cove and put more and more spotlights on this community and it's continued ignoring of the law. Write letters, join anti-soring and sound horse groups, promote the sound Tennessee Walking Horse, do not go to shows or venues that showcase stacked or padded horses. Let's help make a change for the better.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BLACK WEEK HAS BEGUN - August 25 through September 4

Well, Black Week is here. The Celebration of abused and tortured horses is upon us. I am keeping an eye out to see what's going on. I hope the USDA is there, but I'm not even sure if they are or not. So I will keep information posted as the show marches painfully onward. May God have mercy on the horses.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CONTINUATION OF PREVIOUS POST - NEWS - Voice Magazine Restricts September 2010 Issue

Again, from the Walking Horse Report. You will have seen it mentioned in my previous post, but I thought it deserved its own post here.


VOICE Magazine Restricts Action Pictures
Sunday, August 15, 2010

The September 2010 issue of the VOICE magazine, Official Publication of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association, will not allow action pictures of padded Tennessee Walking Horses. Advertisers were not made aware of this restriction until it was reported by people who had their ads changed removing their action pictures.

This is a special issue designed to be distributed at the International Equestrian Festival being held at the same time as the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.

The August issue of the VOICE was dominated by padded show horse advertising and was one of their largest issues of 2010. The October issue will reportedly feature padded show horses with coverage and advertising from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Owners and trainers are being urged to contact TWHBEA officials with their objections to this policy change at the VOICE magazine. Several Executive Committee members are arranging a conference call of the committee to address this situation as well as the apparent endorsement by TWHBEA Executive Director Stan Butt of the recent petition filed with the USDA by several humane groups.

It appears the Executive Committee did not participate in these decisions nor were they informed by staff. This policy change has touched off a firestorm of e mails and chat room comments with most of those being highly critical of the magazine and Association.

The following e-mail captured the sentiments expressed in numerous others. "The VOICE and TWHBEA leadership is ashamed of our horse and is turning its back on the very group of members and advertisers who have kept the VOICE alive all these years with their advertising dollars. They will take our advertising money all year but leave us out of a special issue designed to promote ALL Tennessee Walking Horses in September. They have the perfect opportunity in this issue to promote and educate an international audience of horse lovers about our horse and leaving out the padded show horse is outrageous."

A number of individuals are discussing the industry producing its own special edition on the padded show horse and also distributing it during the World Equestrian Games and the International Equine Festival. They are calling for show horse owners to stop advertising in the VOICE and instead advertise in this special industry supported issue.


I honestly can't say enough about how this cracks me up. Seriously, do BL supporters REALLY think they're going to change minds about the BL by putting out some publication during the WEGs? And do you think these people are going to be picking up your information? As soon as they see a stacked horse, they're going to avoid what you have put out. These are world class trainers and riders who know that real training does not involve mechanics or abusing the horses.

But, I have to say I agree with the industry in that that decision should not have been made at this time. This is something that should have been planned LONG in advance, just like the Voice Flat Shod issue is planned long in advance. Plus, there are people who paid for advertisements and to have their show results in that specific issue. It is wrong for them to be denied what they've paid for.

Putting out any publication by TWHBEA or anyone else at the WEGs is a waste of time and money, however. With the sound horse dominating the WEGs, you will get NO support from the Europeans and other REAL horse trainers and riders. ANd honestly, after the ruling the WEG made, I doubt they'll let your publication on the grounds anyway.

Oh, that is a good point: write to the WEG and ask them to refuse allowing this publication on their grounds! Off I go to put together a letter!

NEWS - SHOW Wants to Fight Back Against ASPCA Petition

But really, did we expect anything else?

As I expected, SHOW and TWHBEA are mad. I received the following posts from a friend who receives the Walking Horse Report. I think they're in order--I posted them by date. I commented afterwards so you won't read these with any bias from me.


Horse Protection Act Petition Filed
Saturday, August 14, 2010

A petition for rulemaking under the Horse Protection Act was filed last week with the United States Department of Agriculture alleging the USDA has failed to enforce the Act and requesting a number of immediate regulatory changes.

The petition was submitted by The Humane Society of the United States, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The American Horse Protection Association, Friends of the Sound Horse and former (1965-1971) Maryland Senator Joseph Tydings. The petition requests the following immediate regulatory changes:

1. Permanently disqualify scarred horses from participation in all horse showing activities;
2. Require HIOs to adopt a minimum penalty structure for violations of the Act;
3. Incorporate certain Points of Emphasis into the regulations;
4. Permanently disqualify individuals who have repeatedly violated the Act;
5. Decertify HIOs after their failure or refusal to correct instances of non-compliance with the Act

There has been no official industry response and similar petitions have been filed in the past. The two affidavits included in the petition were from Keith Dane and Lori Northrup and they were both given in April, four months ago.

The long-term effect of the petition is difficult to know. The SHOW HIO has worked with several of the petitioners regarding initiatives for the overall welfare of the horse.


Butt, TWHBEA Endorse Humane Petition
Sunday, August 15, 2010

After declining to issue a statement in response to the recently filed petition to the USDA by various humane groups, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association's Executive Director Stan Butt has been quoted in Horse magazine in support of the petition.

There were several requests made for the TWHBEA to issue a statement correcting the misinformation and general slandering of the breed contained in the petition while pointing out the significant progress made by the SHOW HIO and trainers in enforcing the Horse Protection Act. The TWHBEA has refused to issue any statement in support of SHOW or the trainers and were reportedly not going to make a statement
of any kind.

Unfortunately Butt's remarks as TWHBEA Executive Director have become the official position of the Association until he issues a retraction or another statement is released. Butt's remarks clearly undermine the significant progress that has been made and reinforces the accusations in the petition.

Butt's quote was in an article entitled "GROUP SEEKS STIFFER ANTI-SORING RULES" by Pat Raia of Horse magazine as reads as follows: "As the international breed registry for the Tennessee Walking Horse, we are always concerned about the care and well being of our horses, support any and all HIO's that work to make things better for all show horses."

Some TWHBEA Executive Committee members had requested a conference call earlier to discuss the petition but were denied by President David Pruett. There are reports that some of those same members are attempting to schedule an Executive Committee conference call as soon as possible, although it will not be an official meeting and no action can be taken.

A number of prominent owners and trainers are demanding a retraction from Butt and the TWHBEA but as of yet no such statement has been issued. President Pruett and Vice President Dee Dee Sale have been largely unavailable and have issued no public statements on behalf of the TWHBEA.


Does Stan Butt Deserve Criticism
Monday, August 16, 2010

Stan Butt, Executive Director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association, is being widely criticized for two recent decisions that have embroiled the TWHBEA in a major controversy. Butt’s supposed endorsement of the recent petition filed with the USDA by various humane groups and the barring of padded show horse pictures in the VOICE magazine have created a firestorm and the blame is being placed squarely at his feet.

But wait a minute! Stan Butt is a staff member and doesn’t have the authority to make those decisions, or at least he shouldn’t. From all indications, the Executive Committee not only did not make those decisions, they were unaware of them and had an emergency conference call last night to discuss them.

All that leaves is TWHBEA’s top two elected officers – President David Pruett and Senior Vice President Dee Dee Sale – with the authority to make those decisions. Butt’s job is to carry out policy, not make it and it appears he is being made the fall guy for two misguided decisions.

TWHBEA will reportedly be making a statement his afternoon based on last night’s conference call and hopefully will clarify who made these two decisions and the reasoning behind them.

If Stan Butt made them on his own, he should be replaced.


TWHBEA Responds to Industry Accusations
Monday, August 16, 2010

In light of questions from some in our industry regarding a recent “quotation” attributed to Executive Director, Stan Butt, in print, elaboration is in order.

As it always does in occasions requesting quotations, TWHBEA expressed its support of those in the industry who obey existing federal law regulating the inspection of show horses, whether they are flat shod or performance horses, and TWHBEA continues to support the expansion of all disciplines within our breed.

It should be noted to our members that TWHBEA has since learned of the recent private petition to the USDA urging, among other things, more stringent inspection of show horses. In fact, the petition came to light, as far as TWHBEA was concerned, only after the “quotation” was offered, and the “quotation” therefore is misapplied as a reference to the petition.

TWHBEA has the petition under review and expects to participate side by side with the leading Tennessee Walking Horse industry groups uniting to respond to the petition. TWHBEA has appointed its Vice President By Laws and Georgia director, Loyd Hall Black, Jr., to serve as its liaison to the industry groups.


TWHBEA Executive Committee Holds Emergency Call
Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders'and Exhibitors' Association held a lengthy conference call last night to deal with the repercussions of two recent actions. The call dealt with Stan Butt's endorsement of the recently filed Humane petition to the USDA and the policy change barring pictures of padded show horses in the September issue of the VOICE.

TWHBEA President David Pruett is expected to release a statement shortly and the Walking Horse Report Online will publish as soon as it is available.


SHOW Responds to Humane Petition
Monday, August 16, 2010

The SHOW Horse Industry Organization is well aware of the recent petition filed with the United States Department of Agriculture by several humane groups. We take issue with a number of allegations in the petition and intend to issue our response at an appropriate time.

Presently our principal focus is on preparations for the upcoming Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and our commitment to work with the United States Department of Agriculture and the industry to have the best show humanly possible. Additionally, we have a number of individuals reviewing the petition, checking its facts, documenting its inaccuracies and preparing a full and complete response.

We are disturbed by the petition’s timing and believe it was held until just before the show in an effort to negatively impact The Celebration, to create negative press coverage and to possibly influence the USDA’s inspections at the show. While we believe portions of the petition have some validity, we are disappointed with several organizations and individuals joining in the petition without our input as they have worked with SHOW this year in a joint effort to enforce the Horse Protection Act.

We specifically take exception to a number of the criticisms of SHOW in the petition. In addition SHOW’s experience with the Department is contrary to their allegations and we are committed to continue our open dialog and working relationship with the USDA.

We are appreciative of the letters and comments issued by a number of respected “non” Walking Horse people who have traditionally been critical of the breed. Hopefully we will be able to share those comments in our response.

We appreciate the support of owners, trainers and exhibitors during this very challenging year and we look forward to continuing that cooperation at The Celebration.


I guess what really bothers me is that this is so ridiculous. It's like a child throwing a tantrum. Why can't this industry just stop soring the horses? Why do they continue to fight a losing battle? The rest of the world knows that you are soring your horses, or that you allow sore horses at your shows: we're not stupid. Eventually you are going to be forced to end this, so why can't you throw in the towel now and save face? You'll look a lot more stupid if you don't change yourselves and the USDA has to do it for you.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"We are disturbed by the petition’s timing and believe it was held until just before the show in an effort to negatively impact The Celebration, to create negative press coverage and to possibly influence the USDA’s inspections at the show."

WAAAAA! Do we need to call the waaa-mbulance?

"While we believe portions of the petition have some validity, we are disappointed with several organizations and individuals joining in the petition without our input as they have worked with SHOW this year in a joint effort to enforce the Horse Protection Act."

Well OF COURSE they weren't going to get your input! YOU and HIOs just like you are the ones who continue to have violations at your shows and are the cause of all of this! That's like asking a murderer to be on his own jury!

"We specifically take exception to a number of the criticisms of SHOW in the petition. In addition SHOW’s experience with the Department is contrary to their allegations and we are committed to continue our open dialog and working relationship with the USDA."

Well, since your open dialog with the USDA has consisted of fighting with them over their rulings at various shows, looking for loopholes, and talking back, I think the USDA and the contents of the petition have the upper hand here.

I also don't get what's such a big deal about Stan Butt's quote. What does it have to do with endorsing the petition? But I guess this goes to show how quick to fight and point fingers this industry is--somebody has to blame, but it's not us!

However, I have to say I agree that he shouldn't have said anything about it without discussing it with the board first. That goes for any group that has a board--you can't just say something off the cuff because you could jeopardize the board and the group you're working with.

I do like that this petition was presented before the Celebration. I think that it will again put the spotlight on the show and the massive amounts of violations we'll most likely see.

Black week is coming: August 25 through September 4. Let's hope we'll see another complete shut down of the show!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

NEWS - ASPCA Joins the Fight Against Soring

We're very fortunate that the ASPCA is now also joining the fight against soring! THANK YOU ASPCA!

The ASPCA is going to petition the USDA APHIS to step up their enforcement of the HPA. I am so glad to hear this! This is where we need the pressure. The industry will not change itself; therefore, we need to toughen up the law and the inspection process.

Click here for the article as reported on horsechannel.com. From the article: "The ASPCA's petition seeks to permanently disqualify from competition HPA violators and any horses found to be the victim of soring. It also requests that mandatory enforcement protocols be implemented and any non-compliant horse inspection groups be decertified by the USDA."

I LOVE every single part of this sentence, especially in disqualifying the horses. No, the horse didn't do anything wrong, but why let him get bought by someone else who will most likely do the same thing to him? Let him get away from the pain and get him into a home that will take care of him and not let him suffer anymore.

I also went to The ASPCA's website and did a search for soring. Click here for the results. There are some good articles and information here.

Overall, be sure to thank the ASPCA for this big step! Sherry Rout, the legislative liaison for the ASPCA, is specifically quoted in the article, so she's a great place to start! Let them know we support them in this huge effort!

Monday, August 2, 2010

NEWS - NWHA Approved as Recognized Organization with USEF


This is HUGE news, folks! I just found out from the NWHA news webpage that the USEF UNANIMOUSLY approved NWHA for their national affiliation membership.

It is extremely important to note that the USEF has traditionally shunned the TWH world due to the continuing problems with soring. This is a MASSIVE step towards the TWH not only be recognized as a "real" breed but also to the USEF (hopefully) eventually approving their rulebook. This is also a step towards those who show with NWHA earning USEF points and affiliations as well.

CONGRATULATIONS NWHA! Everyone, be sure to write to the USEF and thank them for their approval!

USEF UNANIMOUSLY approves NWHA as National Affiliate Association

At the August 2, 2010 Board of Directors Meeting, the United States Equestrian Federation Inc. “unanimously” approved the National Walking Horse Association’s application for “National” affiliation membership.

“National” affiliation membership is just one “category” of the different affiliation memberships offered by the Federation where equestrian-related groups or individuals have formed a national association or organization (USEF Rule GR204.1.c). Note: This should not be confused with a USEF “Recognized” Association membership where the organization’s rules have been included in the Federation’s rule book and where that affiliate’s horse shows are governed by USEF.

The Federation’s approval of the National Walking Horse Association as a National Association creates a joint business relationship and international platform for NWHA to further their mission of promoting the sound, “Naturally Gaited” Walking Horse while providing a fair and level playing field for all exhibitors.

NWHA is proud to partner with USEF which leads the industry as the National Governing Body for Equestrian Sport. Both organizations exhibit only the highest integrity, passion, dedication, and commitment to excellence with the welfare of horse and rider above all else.

This high honor sets the stage for the many and exciting upcoming NWHA events. The National Walking Horse Association’s National Championship horse show (the largest flatshod competition in the country) will be held September 27 through October 2 at Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, TN. Simultaneously, NWHA will be the sole representative of the Tennessee Walking Horse at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky. Live horse demonstrations will take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 2 while our promotional booth will be on site throughout the entire length of the games. The NWHA Annual Membership Meeting and High Point Award Celebration will be held at the Cincinnati, Ohio Airport Marriott hotel November 12-14.

It is indeed an exciting time for the National Walking Horse Association! For more information, contact our office at (859) 252-6942 or visit our web site at www.nwha.com.

And may I add an oh so humble...

IN YOUR FACE, TWHBEA, WHOA, SHOW, SSHBEA, HOA, and all you other HIOs who continue to have sore horses in your show rings!!!!!!!!!!!*

*That was from me, not from NWHA, so no construing that I represent NWHA or any other sound venue. I'm just here to post the facts.

Blog Archive