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

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

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

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, September 13, 2010

RESEARCH - How to Create Mechanical Movement

I found this video online today. Be sure to listen to the narration.


What I want to point out here is within the narration. Note that at the beginning he says they WANT the pace so when they stack her they will get the four beat gait. So what does that tell us? The natural gait of our horse is being ruined by this. The BL people want to breed for pacey horses because once they're stacked (and most likely sored) they will perform a four beat gait. The description of the breed's gait on the TWHBEA website does not include a description of the pace. What is so wrong with the natural, four beat gait of this horse that we have to breed for another gait altogether to get a hideous characture of the natural beauty of this animal?

This is also a good example of how mechanics are "making" this horse. Instead of using methods that encourage using the horse's body correctly, we see a laboring, upside down frame and false collection that will cause problems for this horse later in life. (Click here for information on collection vs. false collection.) Whether or not this horse is sored I don't know, but she does look extremely uncomfortable and in pain, most likely in her back and neck. But hey, using mechanics is quick and easy, gets the youngest horses possible in the arena, and makes money the fastest. I find there's nothing quite like the attitude of sacrificing quality for quantity.

And the funniest part of this video: he uses the word "infamous" wrong.

"And really being the show horse that has become infamous with our padded horse or our Performance horse that we see in the show ring."

Hey What A Horse, "infamous" means, from Dictionary.com, "having an extremely bad reputation." OH WAIT! He's using the word right afterall!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Black Week 2010 Violations Results

Here are the results from The Walking Horse Report on the number of HPA violations at this year's Celebration. My comments are after the report.


The 72nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration concluded on its traditional date of the Saturday before Labor Day in Shelbyville, Tenn. The SHOW HIO was the affiliating HIO of the show for the second consecutive year and the USDA was in attendance each day of the show.

The total number of horses presented for inspection in 2010 was 2,574 as compared to 2,618 in 2009. Pre-show entries were done as compared to last year as well. In 2010, 2,322 horses entered the ring for competition as compared to 2,223 in 2009, an increase of 99 entries in he ring.

SHOW wrote a total of 206 violations with 11 of those being non-HPA violations. Of the HPA violations (195) 170 were pre-show violations and 25 were post show violations. In 2009 SHOW wrote 196 total violations with 18 of those being non-HPA violations. Of the HPA violations (178) 160 were pre-show and 18 were post-show.

Whereas the SHOW violations were very similar in numbers from 2009 to 2010, the USDA violations were drastically different. The USDA took information on 64 violations in 2010 as compared to 405 in 2009, an 84% decline. A major portion of the decrease in violations from the USDA was the scar rule. In 2009 the USDA took information on 223 scar rule violations and in 2010 they took information on 26 scar rule violations. In 2010, SHOW wrote 61 scar rule violations, while in 2009 SHOW 82 wrote scar rule violations, a 25% decline.

Of the 64 violations from the USDA, 37 were pre-show violations and 27 were post-show violations. In total SHOW and USDA wrote 601 violations in 2009 and 270 in 2010, a 55% decline in one year. "Overall we were very happy with the condition of the horses brought before us. The trainers have worked very hard throughout the year to bring compliant horses and this continued during the Celebration. There is still room for improvement and SHOW is committed to working with the industry to achieve this progress," said DQP Coordinator Tony Edwards.

"I appreciate the working relationship we had with the USDA VMOs and am very happy with the decrease of violations given by the USDA with the same equipment and inspection process that was used in 2009 by those VMOs," concluded Edwards.


As you can probably guess, my thoughts are still negative on this.

I don't see this as progress at all. First, there are still violations, period. Second, everyone knows the USDA is going to be at the Celebration, so they're going to be on their best behavior. Third, we know that people will take the fall in exchange for favors to make it look like the HIO is doing it's job.

I was told by an insider that many of the horses are very pacey, which is indicative of them not having been sored. I heard the inspection processes were grueling. But really, what's the deal here? Why does the inspection process have to be grueling? Why do the horses have to be pacey instead of being shown correctly without pads and chains and bands? Why does this ugly representation of our breed still have to exist?

I have zero trust for this industry and I do not believe there is a change. Until I stop hearing about backyard shows where horses are still so sore they can hardly walk, until I stop seeing pictures and videos coming across my computer like the ones to the right, until pads, chains, bands, and Tungsten shoes are eliminated from the show ring, then I don't think we'll ever see this industry changing. It is an industry that is ingrained in this mentality. They aren't willing to change--only to cover things up.

We can focus on the good news within our sound horse community. The fact that NWHA's membership has been accepted by the USEF is HUGE--they have shunned the TWH industry for decades because of their behavior. Plus NWHA is working with the USDF on their dressage rules. Then we have the WEGs refusing the HIOs that continue to be violators including TWHBEA to be at their venue. NWHA and various sound horse owners and exhibitors were the ones invited. That's where we need to put our money and time. Ignore those who continue to be violators. Don't give them money, don't go to the shows, even if they're free. If there are people with padded horses in the barn, don't buy from them. Stay away.

My biggest question to the industry it this: Wouldn't it be easier just to stop this? Wouldn't it be easier to eliminate the causes of soring rather than skirting around it? Why make your shows a difficult place for people to be when you CAN change things? I don't care if you have a change of heart. I'm not looking for you to just totally think that you have to go Parelli or something like that to train your horses. All I'm asking is that the pressure shoeing and soring stop, and that the means to do it go away. I don't think it's that much to ask. I imagine the horses would say the same thing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Black Week Results 2010

I have a lot of stuff to post about the current events with the sore horse industry. For now, let's examine the Black Week results and further proof of how the industry continues to support felons and animal abusers.

Trainer of the Year: Jimmy McConnell
HPA Data Violations:
Scar Rule Suspended 9/6/05 - 9/19/05 NHSC
Scar Rule Suspended 11/29/04 - 12/12/04 NHSC
Scar Rule Suspended 3/3/04 - 3/16/04 NHSC
Unilateral Sore Suspended 11/26/01 - 12/09/01 NHSC
Not Specified Suspended 6/23/99 - 7/6/99 NHSC
Not Specified Suspended 1/1/94 - 4/30/95 USDA

WGC The Coach, ridden and trained by Billy Gray
HPA Data Violations:
Scar Rule Suspended 9/3/06 - 9/2/09 USDA (on John F.K.'s Pusher)
Unilateral Sore Suspended 5/14/07 - 5/27/07 NHSC
Unilateral Sore Suspended 10/2/06 - 10/15/06 NHSC
Scar Rule Suspended 8/8/06 - 8/21/06 NHSC
Scar Rule Suspended 8/8/05 - 8/21/05 NHSC
Equipment Violation Suspended 7/15/02 - 7/28/02 NHSC
Not Specified Suspended 11/14/94 - 11/13/99 USDA
Not Specified Suspended 1/18/93 - 1/17/94 USDA
Not Specified Suspended 12/1/88 - 5/31/89 USDA

What I like best about Billy's suspensions is that he was so obviously showing during his 3 year suspension because he received a suspension during that time! Guess Billy never learned his lesson with the slap-on-the-wrist penalties this industry doles out. But why should he when the industry so obviously doesn't take it seriously either?

John F.K.'s Pusher placed 10th in the WGC class this year and was ridden by Dick Peebles, who has a CURRENT suspension until 2012!

Here are the rest of the WGC winners and their associated violations. Of the 36 WGC classes, 29 of the exhibitors and/or owners are felons. I've only listed the 29 classes. Click here for the complete results.

O/A* Youth 6-17 Park Pleasure Mares/Geldings WGC
JFKs Fancy Lady Leslie, Jesse Laughlin for 4J Land & Cattle Co. (4J Land & Cattle Co. suspended 10/13/09, suspension disputed but end date is 10/13/99)

Novice Riders on Novice Trail Pleasure Horses WGC
Good Til The Last Drop, Ashley Say for Say Womack (1 violation for Steve Womack, ended 10/15/01)

Elite O/A WGC
Command & Control, Sheryl Crawford for Crawford Colts (4 violations for Sheryl Crawford, 1993 one full year, 1997, 2004, 2009; 1 violation for Crawford Colts, 2006)

O/A Western Park Pleasure WGC
Dragonfire, Jim Heiting O/E** (1 violation for Jim & Cindy Heiting, 2008)

O/A Youth 11 & Under Mares/Geldings WGC
Moonstruck Dollar, Lake Weaver for Little/Weaver (1 violation for Little name, 1998; various violations for 6 names under Weaver)

O/A Show Pleasure WGC
Godfather By Ultra Copy, Courtney Luttrell for Courtney/Alex Luttrell (2 violations for Courtney Luttrell, 2006 & 2007; 1 violation for Luttrell name, 1998)

O/A Riders 15/2 & Under WGC
Im NRA, David Sisk for Linda Sisk (1 violation for David Sisk, 2008; 2 violations for Linda Sisk, 2008)

Trainers Ride for the Roses WGC/WHAT 2010 Riders Cup
King of the Jungle, Charlie Green for Nestor Stewart Family (14 violations for Charlie Green, 2 for 2001, 5 for 2002, 3 for 2005, 1 each for 2004, 2006 & 2007, 1 suspension for 2009 with temporary end date of 2099; 5 violations for Nestor Stewart, 2 for 2007, 1 each for 2002, 2005 & 2006)

Lite Shod WGC
Honor My Cash, Patrick Thomas for Don/Deborah Parmer (1 violation for Deborah Parmer, 2000; 2 violations for Debbie Parmer, 2001 and 2002; 2 violations for Donald Parmer, 2002 and 1999; 2 violation for Donnie Parmer, suspension ended 2002)

Delta Fall Classic Three Year Old WGC/WHAT Riders Cup
Im Copperfield, Knox Blackburn for Mike Walden Family (6 violations for Knox Blackburn, 2 for 1998, 1 each for 2003, 2007 & 2008, 1 with no date; 2 violations for Knox & Alex Blackburn, 1998; 1 violation for Michael Walden, 2005; 1 violation for Mike Walden, 2004)

O/A Youth Ponies WGC
Prime Poison, Lilly Waites for Andrew Waites Family (2 violations for Andrew Waites, 2005 & 2008)

O/A Park Pleasure WGC
Lined Up at the Ritz, Sandra Johnson O/E (1 violation from USDA, no date)

O/A Specialty WGC
Im Wall Street, Clay Mills for Corbin Mills (2 violations for Clay Mills, 2001 & 2004)

O/A Western Trail Pleasure WGC
Red Sundays Best, Liz Gassaway for Gassaway/Toone (2 violations for Toone name, 1998)

O/A Novice Riders on Novice Walking Horses WGC
Pride of Willie, Tamara Kasser for Carol Ann Gavin (3 violations for Carol Ann Gavin, 2 for 2003, 1 for 2001; 1 violation for Carol Ann & Charles Gavin, 2001)

O/A Youth Mare/Gelding 12-17 WGC
Busting Special, Taylor Walters for Molly Walters (3 violations for Walters name, 1998)

15.2 & Under WGC (Canter)/WHTA 2010 Riders Cup
Ozones Cut Above All, John Allan Callaway for Don Pratt (4 violations for John Allan Callaway, 2 for 2004, 1 each for 1988 & 1993)

O/A Riders on Two Year Olds WGC
Bad Economy, Ben Kail for Dr. Tommy/Pat Vinson (4 violations for Ben Kail, 2 for 2005, 1 each for 2002 & 2008; 1 violation for Thomas & Pat Vinson, 2004; 5 violations for Thomas Vinson, 2 for 2002, 1 each for 2003, 2005 & 2006)

The Molly Walters Family Four Year Old WGC (Canter)/WHTA Riders Cup
Dark & Shady, Jimmy McConnell for Molly Walters (6 violations for Jimmy McConnell, 2 for 2004, 1 each for 1994, 1999, 2001 & 2005; 3 violations for Walters name, 1998)

O/A Amateur Adult Walking Pony WGC
Im Packin A Pistol, Charlene Gibson O/E (2 violations, 2000 and 2004)

Weanling WGC
Im Gene Autry, Sylvester Skierkowski for Bobby Joe Jones Family (2 violations for the Skierkowski name, 1998)

O/A Mares/Geldings WGC
A High Dollar Charge, Beverly Sherman O/E (1 violation, 2006)

Western Lite Shod WGC
Catastrophic, Laurie Toone O/E (2 violations for the Toone name, 1998)

O/A Riders on Three Year Olds WGC
Hes Vida Blue, Kay Green O/E (1 violation for James & Kay Green, 2001)

O/A Youth English/Western Trail Pleasure WGC
Shes Pretty Jazzy, Kaitlyn Rippy for Rippy/Bennett (1 violation for Andy Rippy, 2006)

The Andrew Waites Family Two Year Old WGC/WHTA Rider Cup
Pro V 1, Jimmy McConnell for William/Sandra Johnson (6 violations for McConnell, see above; 1 violation each for William and Sandra Johnson from USDA, date not specified)

O/A Lite Shod WGC
Honor My Cash, Deborah Parmer for Don/Deborah Parmer (see above Lite Shod WGC)

Park Pleasure WGC
Joses No Counting Me Out, Darden Gladney for Gladney Farms (1 violation for the Gladney name, 1998; 1 violation for Darden Gladney, 2003; 2 violations for Darden Ford Gladney, 2009)

O/A WGC (Canter)
Strolling Thru The Ritz, Brian Reece for Jim Reece (1 1-year suspension for Brian Reece, 1996; 2 violations for Jimmy Reece, 2005)

*O/A = Owner/Amateur
**O/E = Owner Exhibitor

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