"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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - NWHA Results from the 2011 National Investigation

I know I'm putting this on the blog really late, and I apologize for not getting it up here sooner.  I've had other issues to attend to to help the sore horse.

On January 25, 2012, NWHA released their findings from the investigation concerning the 2011 National issues.  I talked about what happened in this previous post.  I've copied and pasted the memorandum by NWHA below.  Click here for the online memo.  My comments are after the memo.


To:      NWHA Members
From:  NWHA Board of Directors
Date:   January 25, 2012
Re:      Issues Arising From the 2011 National Show

The NWHA Board of Directors takes seriously circumstances or events that impact the integrity of NWHA and credibility of its mission, that of gait keeper for the sound horse.  Therefore, it is imperative that any procedural or substantive shortcomings within NWHA (whether real or perceived) are identified and addressed so these problems do not occur again and NWHA can move forward in its mission.

The Board has used due diligence and exercised its fiduciary duties investigating, finding facts, and working to both resolve issues and ensure the problems will not be re-occurring.  In the spirit of transparency and the genuine desire for an outstanding 2012 show season, we share with our members, by way of the attached report, the resolution of this matter.  It is our desire that evaluation, admission of problems, and awareness of need will result in positive change and growth.

Thank you for seeing this through with us . . . it IS about the Horse!

Findings of Facts & Resolutions of Issues Arising from the 2011 NWHA National Championship Show

       1. It became evident at the 2011 National Show that NWHA’s Designated Qualified Persons (DQP’s)
           have been taught two different methods of shoe measurement using the Go/No-Go Tool.
       2. Tickets were written at the 2011 National based on measuring the shoe “all the way around”
           with the Go/No-Go Tool.
       3. Currently, the procedure for measuring a shoe with the Go/No-Go Tool is neither standardized or
           in writing.
       4. At the 2011 National, a DQP used the procedure he had been taught to measure shoes.
       5. Tickets were written based on the measurement procedure the DQP had been taught.
       6. When Jim Potter received a ticket, he questioned the procedure in order to understand and brought
           the shoes, in question, into compliance.
       7. Mr. Potter did not protest or question the ticket.  He did question the DQP Director about the
           correct procedure.
       8. In compliance with NWHA rules, all tickets stood as written.
       9. The DQP Director was called and asked what was the correct procedure.
     10. Dr. Gordon Lawler questioned the DQP’s knowledge of the procedure and use of the tool.  This
           action is in violation of NWHA Rule 2.2 E.  Dr. Lawler has acknowledged the rule violation and has
           apologized to the NWHA through the Board of Directors.
     11. The DQP served out his shift in full authority as the Show DQP per the NWHA and HPA rules.
     12. The next day, the DQP, during his off duty hours, presented on the grounds with a Styrofoam model
           of a shoe and solicited conversation with exhibitors outside the DQP area.
     13. The DQP Director was called by Lori Snyder-Lowe to inform the DQP Director that the DQP was
           communicating with exhibitors.
     14. The DQP Director relieved the DQP of all further duties at the 2011 National for communicating with
           exhibitors in direct violation of NWHA Rule 11.4 D.  This action is distinguishable from the HPA rule
           that a DQP may not be dismissed while performing his duties as a DQP.  He was not on duty.  
           Therefore, there was no violation of the HPA rule.
     15. Due to the discrepancy in shoe measurement using the Go/No-Go Tool, the NWHA Executive
           Committee determined an equitable approach to eligibility for championship classes as needed and
           provided the same.
     16. At no time did NWHA question the validity of the tickets written.  None were rescinded.

   B. Resolutions
       1. Immediate suspension of use of the Go/No-Go Tool until a written protocol for measurement is
          developed and taught to all of the DQP’s.  It is the goal of the Board to have this instruction take
          place at the February 2012 DQP Training Clinic.
       2. A policy and procedure manual for all DQP procedures shall be developed and maintained with
           updates as needed.
       3. The DQP Director shall be in attendance at the National Championship Show for all days that have
           rail classes.  This requirement shall be a part of the DQP Director’s job description and in the DQP
           Director’s contract with NWHA.
       4. All DQP inspections at the National Show shall be videotaped.  NWHA also reserves the right to
           video warm-up arenas.
      5. An Ethics Committee shall be established.  The committee will consist of three (3) NWHA
          members, preferably with law enforcement or legal backgrounds.  The single purpose of the
          committee shall be to field concerns from Judges or DQP’s who have either observed unethical
          behavior to or by a DQP or Judge, or have been the victim of unethical behavior.  The DQP or
          Judge must contact all three committee members within 24 hours of a perceived issue to initiate an
          investigation.  SOP’s for the committee shall be immediately promulgated.
      6. A DQP Committee shall be established.  The committee will consist of three (3) NWHA DQP’s and
          the DQP Director.  Duties will include:  review of DQP applicants; review and revision of rules and
          regulations applicable to the DQP and DQP program; establishment of operating procedures; review
          and provide information to the Board, DQP’s, and members concerning USDA rules and regulations;
          review and evaluation of the DQP Training Clinic and refresher courses; and, review and evaluation of
          the DQP program.
      7. Clarify NWHA Rule 11.9 A which identifies the persons allowed in the DQP inspection area by
          revising Rule 11.9 A in this manner:  the words “NWHA Officials” shall be changed to “Show
      8. Dr. Gordon Lawler shall receive a letter of censure for conduct unbecoming a Director and for
          violation of NWHA rules.

    A. Findings of Fact
        1. Connie Holbrook, in her capacity as Show Secretary, confirmed she told the DQP at the 2011
            National Show about a person on the show grounds who was not an exhibitor, trainer or owner of a
            horse that was entered in the show, but was on the grounds and in the arenas with bands and no
            Coggins.  Ms. Holbrook requested assistance by the DQP to remove this person from the
       2. Connie Holbrook went with the DQP to deliver Jim Potter’s ticket.  The DQP requested her
           assistance as show management in accompanying him into the barns.
       3. Connie Holbrook made the remark to DQP’s “Folks from the dark side are watching us” but did not
           target or name anyone.
       4. Connie Holbrook made the statement “He’s a bad dude” in answer to the DQP’s question, “Who’s
           the big man?”  The person she was referring to was not an exhibitor, trainer or owner of a horse
           showing at the 2011 National.

    B. Resolutions
        1. Connie Holbrook was acting within her official duties to escort the DQP to the barns.  This duty
            had been delegated by show management.
        2. Connie Holbrook rightfully alerted the DQP to a person on the grounds with bands and in the
            arenas. While self-policing is a vital element of NWHA’s successful mission, it must be
            undertaken so as not to target or encourage wrongful communications between the DQP and
            management or exhibitors.  Therefore, a protocol for communication with the DQP by an
            exhibitor or by show  management relative to concerns of NWHA or HPA violations will be
            developed and implemented  immediately.  This protocol will require all communication be in
            writing, signed, and presented to show management.  Show management will present it to the
            DQP.  A paper trail for complaints will assist in decreasing inappropriate communication with
            DQP’s and/or unfounded targeting as well as identifying baseless rumors.
        3. Connie Holbrook used poor judgment in making subjective statements about a person to the DQP.
            She will be given a letter informing her to refrain from such statements in the future.
        4. A protocol for providing “self-policing” information to the DQP’s shall be established.  The protocol
            shall require a written and signed information form in which complaints relating to another’s
            behavior or observations of horses with a bad image can be initiated.  It shall be filed with the
            Show Manager, Office Manager, or Horse Show Committee Chair as is appropriate and shall be
            filed within six (6) hours of identifying a perceived problem or it will not be accepted.  The Show
            Manager will present the written complaint to the DQP.  No exhibitor, trainer or horse owner
            shall have a conversation or contact with the DQP other than when taking a horse through
            inspection.  The Show Manager or designee shall be the ONLY person to present the written
            complaint to the DQP with regard to complaints by exhibitors, trainers or owners.

     A. Findings of Fact
         1. Rumors concerning undue influence were propounded against Lori Snyder-Lowe.  However, no
             evidence was presented or found to substantiate these rumors.  The Board of Directors, after
             careful inquiry, refuses to act on rumor and, therefore, finds this matter closed.


I want to point out some very important things here.  NWHA actually did something about this.  Instead of pretending nothing happened or hiding information, they put forth an investigation and came up with excellent solutions.  Starting an Ethics Committee, clarifying rules, and writing standard procedures are going to make a major difference.

Of course, not everyone's going to be happy with the results.  I do know there were a few things that happened that I personally would like to have seen addressed.  Many of you know about the "leak" to the Walking Horse Report, and the WHR is continuing to bash NWHA to try to shut them down.  I believe the leak should be found (if he/she hasn't been already) and held accountable for his/her actions.  But that was not part of the issues for this particular meeting.  However, I believe that this has been handled extremely well.  I think that NWHA took steps that no other HIO would take in these circumstances.  They worked toward the integrity of the association and following their association's rules.  Most other HIOs would have buried the situation and left it at that since they continue to support the sore horse.  I think anyone who is an NWHA member should be at least satisfied with that fact.  I'm very happy this board stepped forward and did what was right!

Monday, January 23, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLE - Blackburn Gets Away With a Slap on the Hand UPDATED

Paul Blackburn gets away with soring with a slap on the hand.  This horrible man who uses bolts to sore horses and who just happened to get caught not having removed a bolt at a show is only going to get one year probation and has to WRITE AN ARTICLE about what he did!

Here's the article--click here for the online link.

UPDATE: click here for another article that's more comprehensive.  See * below for more.


Sentence in Tennessee horse soring case includes defendant writing newspaper story
Jan. 23, 2012
Written by The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA — A Tennessee man who pleaded guilty in a rare federal horse soring case has been sentenced to write a newspaper article about the illegal practice that involves placing bolts on the animals’ hooves or using painful irritants to accentuate their gait for horse shows.

U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice sentenced Paul Blackburn of Shelbyville to one year of probation and ordered him to write the horse soring article to be published in his community newspaper.

Blackburn pleaded guilty along with three other defendants whose sentencings in Chattanooga have been reset to Feb. 27.

Records show Blackburn was part of a horse boarding and training operation that involved the cruelty violations.

Blackburn declined comment afterward other than saying he was “just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”


This is OUTRAGEOUS.  WRITE AN ARTICLE????  That's a GREAT idea--let's educate others how to sore!  And that he was "just at the wrong place at the wrong time"...well, In my opinion, that certainly says that first of all, he's been soring horses for a long time and has no problem with it, and second that he's just going to continue soring horses once his probation is over.  He obviously does not care about what he's done.  It's just business as usual.

*And the bit in the second article about his family being hurt by him going to prison for six months...PLEEEEEEAAAASE.  As stated in the article, Davis was making $12,000 per month abusing horses (30 horses x $400 per horse per month).  I'm sure Blackburn was raking in the same kind of dough.  Don't tell me that his family would suffer. In fact, I would hope that this would teach a lesson to his six kids: sore horses and you go to jail, simple as that!

Get your letters in to the USDA!  They need to hear our complaints loud and clear.  This has gone beyond far enough--these men and women will continue to abuse their horses and abuse the system!

Contact information for the USDA:

You can file a complaint with the USDA/Office of the Inspector General at the following email addresses:
Gil Harden - gil.harden@oig.usda.gov
Kim Miller - kim.miller@oig.usda.gov
Kristan Shields - kristan.shields@oig.usda.gov

Send copies of ALL correspondence, regarding this matter, to the following people:
Robin Lohnes - American Horse Protection - AMHRSEPROT@aol.com
Gail Golab - American Veterinary Medical Assoc. - ggolab@avma.org
Chris Heyde - Animal Welfare Institute - chris@awionline.org
Dr. Harry Werner - American Association of Equine Practitioners - hwwvmd@wernerequine.com

Russell Gaspar - Past attorney for Horse Protection Coalition - RGaspar@cohenmohr.com

APHIS Contacts:
Gil Harden - Office of the Inspector General/USDA - gil.harden@oig.usda.gov
Gregory L. Parham - Administrator/USDA/APHIS - Gregory.L.Parham@aphis.usda.gov
Kevin Shea - USDA/APHIS - kevin.a.shea@usda.gov
Dr. Chester Gipson, USDA/APHIS/HPA - Chester.A.Gipson@aphis.usda.gov
Dr. Rachel Cezar, USDA/APHIS/HPA - Rachel.Cezar@aphis.usda.gov

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NEWS - TWHBEA Continues to Lose Money

TWHBEA has published their Comparative Statements of Activities, which is printed in the Voice magazine and available to view online at this link.  If you can't get it to open, below is the statement itself ( click for a larger view.)

I also found this document: the Independent Auditors' Report of TWHBEA's FY of 2009.

Let's take a look at all of these numbers in the revenue department.

11-30-2008:  $3,448,108.00
11-30-2009:  $2,307,710.00   Earnings in 2009 from 2008: - $1,140,398.00
10-31-2010:  $1,963,702.04   Earnings in 2010 from 2009: - $   344,007.96
10-31-2011:  $1,641,139.77   Earnings in 2011 from 2010: - $   322,562.28
Loss of earnings from 2008 to 2011:  $1,806,968.23

Now if we look at the individual departments within TWHBEA, we can see that membership and registry have been going down since 2008.  In fact, the only departments where TWHBEA gained money in 2009 compared to 2008 was in Contributions, Gifts and Grants ($35,386.00).  In 2010, they only gained money in the Pleasure Horse ($3,972.00), Youth (2,882.20), and Horse Show (2,700.00) departments.

Now I can't find information (yet) comparing financial information from 2009 to 2010, but it kinda really isn't necessary, since there's a pretty clear trend.  TWHBEA continues to lose memberships, registration and support.  And why are they not realizing that the place they most gain money is in the Pleasure Horse division?  What does that tell you, TWHBEA?  Who are the most important assets to your business?  It clearly isn't in the members and registrations.

Also, how many of you TWHBEA members realize that your membership money is going to pay for severance packages for former TWHBEA employees?  To the tune of $44,234, no less.  Nothing like contributing to a business rather than an association that supports its members and the horse.

I think the continued affirmations I keep hearing that TWHBEA has started making money again are clearly false.  Or, perhaps reps from TWHBEA are just lying to their membership in order to make them think everything's okay.  Does everyone see how all of this is spiraling out of control?  First it starts with one excuse, then another one to cover up that excuse, then another one...what's your excuse this time, TWHBEA, when the numbers are right here in front of us in black and red?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - USDA to Start Streamlining Sending Violations to Court; "Unity Committee" Goals

USDA to Start Streamlining Sending Violations to Court

There is some great news for the sound horse on the horizon!  The USDA Secretary's office has been doing their research, and they have learned that the APHIS, the division of the USDA that is supposed to enforce the HPA, has too many open investigations in their backlog.  This doesn't just include HPA violators--it includes all of the areas they are supposed to enforce.  So now, work is going to be done to get these investigations into court!  The USDA released a stakeholder letter last week concerning this, which I've copied and pasted below.  Here's the link to the letter online.  Here's also a link to the Q&A document the USDA put out covering their most commonly asked questions about this process.

The Walking Horse Report also has information about it as the stakeholders meeting was attended by folks from the TWH industry.  Here's the article from the WHR.


APHIS To Reduce Backlog And Streamline Enforcement
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Copyright 2012

By Jeffrey Howard

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held an industry stakeholder call to announce improvements to their investigation and enforcement streamlining efforts.  APHIS pointed out on the call conducted by Dr. Kay Carter-Corker that over 2,000 open investigations are on the books of APHIS as of the end of 2011.  Dr. Chester Gipson was unable to participate on the call due to illness.

Dr. Carter-Corker pointed to two areas of focus, first was to reduce the number of cases in backlog and secondly to reduce the time it takes to investigate.  APHIS created a task force to address the backlog and is identifying the most critical cases to pursue.  Dr. Carter-Corker pointed out that factors such as the cases significance to overall animal health, APHIS ability to successfully complete the investigation, the seriousness of the violation, age of the violation and whether the violator is a previous offender would be taken into account.  For those they choose not to pursue letters of warning will be sent and the investigations will be closed.

On average APHIS requires 600 days to conduct an investigation and come to a resolution.  If the case is then turned over the Office of Inspector General they can take much longer than that.  The goal of APHIS is to reduce the average time to 355 days.  In order to do so Dr. Carter-Corker pointed to creating templates for communication, pursuing cases with the most and best evidence and taking a more national approach to the investigations.

In closing Dr. Carter-Corker informed the participants that APHIS mission was to target those that pose the greatest risk to animal welfare.  During questions, APHIS pointed out that approximately 800 of the 2,000 open cases dealt with animal welfare and 1/3rd of those dealt with the Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds.


Now here's a way to explain this to better understand it.  Basically, what's been happening is HPA violations are documented by the HIOs or VMOs, then sent to the APHIS, the part of the USDA that's in charge of the HPA.  The APHIS is then supposed to review the investigations, decide which ones need prosecution (usually on the basis of the severity of the violation), then turn them over to the Office of the General Counselor of the Office of the Inspector General to have them prosecuted.  This is how Chris Zahnd ended up on the stand--his case was severe enough to get him into court.  However, as we suspected, the HPA directors have not been doing their job, and that's why the violators aren't spending time in jail.  So guess what?  NOW the USDA has stepped up and is demanding they do their job!  Here are the basics:

There are approximately 2,500 current open investigations in the APHIS.  This is a compiled amount and includes all areas the USDA APHIS regulations, not just the HPA.  So don't read that as 2,500 HPA violations--that's not correct.

The APHIS has done research and learned that they have the resources to prosecute up to 1,000 violations per year.  This means they have to go through the violations and decide which are the worst.  The worst ones will be sent on for investigation.

Of note is that they are going to include in their criteria for deciding on the investigations that are bad basing it on REPEAT VIOLATORS!  Guess what?  TWHBEA, SHOW, PRIDE, KYHIO...they're all FULL of repeat violators!  So this may mean that some of the big wigs in the industry who continue to call the shots and are allowed to sore and get away with it are going to see their time in court!  In a time when our government is getting harder and harder to believe in, this is one move that I know I'm 100 percent behind!


United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Washington, DC 20250
Jan 1, 2012

Open Letter to Stakeholders:

As a regulatory agency, our mission to protect plant health, animal health, and the welfare of animals is a critical one. And, we are very serious about taking enforcement action against those who jeopardize this mission by violating our regulations. In recent years, APHIS' backlog of open investigations has increased to well over 2,000, and we had about 2,050 open investigations at the end of fiscal year 2011. These investigations include alleged violations involving animal welfare and horse protection issues, agricultural import and export rules, and quarantine rules, as well as unauthorized releases of genetically engineered organisms, violations of standards concerning accredited veterinarians, and unlicensed veterinary biological products.

Such a large backlog in open investigations has greatly impacted our enforcement process-primarily, the number of open investigations does not enable APHIS to swiftly address serious violations. In an attempt to streamline our investigation and enforcement process and ensure we pursue timely and appropriate sanctions for the most egregious violations, we are taking two interdependent actions: reducing the number of open investigations in the backlog and drastically decreasing the time it takes to resolve investigations. This effort is one of the six business process improvements the Secretary announced back in November that APHIS would be undertaking.

APHIS has determined that it has the capacity to process up to 1,000 investigations per year. However, the Agency first must focus on reducing the existing backlog and pursuing only those investigations approximately 600 to 800) containing the most serious violations. To determine which investigations should be pursued and are of the highest priority, APHIS will be carefully weighing factors such as:

• each investigation's significance with respect to protecting plant and animal health and animal welfare,
• APHIS' ability to effectively pursue the alleged violation(s),
• the impact or seriousness ofthe alleged violation(s),
• the age of the alleged violation( s), and
• whether the investigation involves a person who has a history of not complying with APHIS regulatory requirements.

For those investigations we decide not to pursue and believe a warning may prevent future violations, we will issue official warning letters to close them out. These letters will clearly indicate that any further violations may result in more serious consequences such as civil penalties or criminal prosecution. We will also be working internally across all our programs and with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection to employ evaluation criteria-similar to those mentioned previously- so that we focus our resources on the most serious violations where we can achieve the most benefit and impact.

Reducing the backlog of open cases is just the first step-streamlining the enforcement process is equally important for maximizing efficiency and effectiveness. Current data indicate that it can take approximately 600 days, on average, to resolve an investigation and to pursue informal enforcement action, such as an official warning or stipulated monetary penalty. (Cases that are referred to the Department's Office of the General Counselor Office of the Inspector General can take considerably longer.) Through our streamlining efforts, we expect to reduce the time it takes to resolve these investigations by approximately 40 percent, so that the average investigation is resolved within 365 days.

By taking actions like these, we are focusing on those mission priorities that matter most to our Agency and our stakeholders. We are committed to effective enforcement of our regulations, and we owe it to you, our stakeholders, to do so in the most efficient way. By targeting the most serious violations of our regulations, we are in turn addressing the biggest risk to agricultural health and the welfare of animals.

I look forward to updating you on the results of this important streamlining initiative in the coming months.


Gregory L. Parham

Unity Committee Goals

Here's the report from the Walking Horse Report about the current work being done by the "Unity Committee."


Unity Committee Sets Goals
Monday, January 09, 2012

The Unity Committee, comprised of representatives of  WHOA, TWHBEA, WHTA and The Celebration, met for the first time on Friday, January 6, 2012. This group discussed at length the possibilities of the improvement and strengthening of the image of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry from within and in the public arena. In this first meeting, the group established a structure of the group, goals, and planned their next meeting.

The Unity Committee will be made up of three representatives from each of the groups. These representatives are: WHOA – Kim Bennett, Duke Thorson, Tam Brogden; TWHBEA – Marty Irby, Christy Lantis, Tom Kakassy; Celebration – David Howard, Jim Allison and Henry Hulan; WHTA – Jamie Hankins, Link Webb, Chris Bobo. There is no one group that has a stronger position than the other; all will have equal input and voice in the group. The Unity Committee will remain open to including input from other organizations. The group also established some initial goals. Initially the group will focus on the following:

1. Unification meetings to include other industry groups in both large and small settings.
2. Encourage and support promotion and marketing of the Tennessee Walking Horse through a ‘one voice’ campaign.
3. Education to create a higher level of competency, integrity and professionalism among our trainers, owners, judges and inspectors.
4. Create consistency and predictability in the rules, judging, & inspections.

The Unity Committee will meet again on Friday, February 3, 2012. All members of the Unity Committee welcome input and may be contacted individually.


So, let's be realistic here.

1. Unification meetings to include other industry groups in both large and small settings.  Which ones?  I'm sure you won't include FOSH, NWHA, the IWHA, or anyone who is against soring and actually wants to see it end.

2. Encourage and support promotion and marketing of the Tennessee Walking Horse through a ‘one voice’ campaign.  Who's voice?  The voice of the sore horse industry, the sound horse industry, or the horses?  Because all I hear are the horses screaming in pain and wanting this to stop.

3. Education to create a higher level of competency, integrity and professionalism among our trainers, owners, judges and inspectors.  Education on what?  How not to be a backwoods hick and stop thinking about yourselves over the welfare of the animal?  Geez, this makes no sense whatsoever.  Sounds more like education on how not to allow your secrets to get out.

4. Create consistency and predictability in the rules, judging, & inspections.  Well, really, the consistency and predictability is already there.  Let sore horses show, especially let sore horses in that are owned by BNTs (Big Name Trainers), only "catch" small time trainers and give them minimal penalities, and get together to decide each year which horse will win the WGC.  Yep, that's already in place.

Let's also take a look at our committee members and see what their HPA violation records are.  (Includes violation and suspension dates.)

Kim Bennett - Spent time in court in 2002 for his violation and lost: click here.  He tired to appeal in 2007 and it was "affirmed" that he violated the HPA: click here.

Marty Irby - Bilateral Sore 11/7/01 to 7/11/02
Tom Kakassy - Unilateral Sore 5/17 to 6/15/09; Illegal Chains 10/6 to 10/19/09; Scar Rule 10/30 to 11/12/05; Unilateral Sore 5/2 to 5/15/06

Jamie Hankins - Scar Rule 10/28 to 11/10/02; Not Specified 12/18/90 to 7/17/91 (from the USDA)
Link Webb - Unilateral Sore 11/14 to 11/27/11; Ticket 3/25/11; Not Specified 9/1/02 to 4/30/03 (from the USDA); Unilateral 4/24 to 5/7/05; Scar Rule 9/6 to 9/19/05
Chris Bobo (from a family of sore horse trainers)

Hey!  Look at that!  HALF of these people are violators or from a family of violators.  But did we really expect anything else?  I'll give them one thing, though--at least they are all united to keep things the same!

Monday, January 9, 2012

RESEARCH and THOUGHTS - Claims that the TWH was bred to be a show horse

So I've had a few Big Lick supporters tell me recently that the TWH was originally bred to be a show horse. I thought this a bit odd, because the history that I've always known is that the breed was originally designed to be a riding and carriage horse.  The horse was bred to be a smooth, easy ride for plantation owners to be able to oversee their farms easily and comfortably, with minimal stress on the horse himself.  The horse was also used to hitch to the cart and take the family to market or to church.  Showing started on a whim, where TWHs were shown at local shows with Saddlebreds and other breeds, and then started to command their own breed shows due to their popularity.  So I decided to look up some history on the horse from the breed associations themselves.  Below is what I found.

Historical Information

Originally bred as a utility horse, the Tennessee Walking Horse is best suited for a recreational mount due to its smooth, easy ride and its gentle disposition. A calm, docile temperament, combined with naturally smooth and easy gaits insure the popularity of the Tennessee Walking Horse as the world’s greatest show, trail and pleasure horse.
~ Tennessee Walking Horse: The Basics, compiled by Sis Osborne, TWHBEA website.  Click here for the link.

For more than a hundred years prior to 1935 Tennesseans had been riding a horse which had easy gaits under the saddle. Tennesseans had always loved horses. The early pioneers who cam across the mountains from the Carolinas and from Virginia brought a hardy stock of horses with them. These horses were used for a three-fold purpose, that of riding, driving and for utility work on the farms as the land emerged from a wilderness.

The horses in Tennessee in the early days had Thoroughbred blood in their veins. There was also a strain of the Pacer, and some Morgan blood prevailed. By Andrew Jackson's time racing on the flat and quarter racing were well established.

Later the turn of the century these horses with good gaits were exhibited at County Fairs. Completion was healthy and each breeder tried to produce and developed a horse which would excel at easy gaits under the saddle. These horses were known to oldsters as "Saddle" horses. They were later called Plantation Horses, or Plantation Walking Horses. Today they are known as Tennessee Walking Horses.
~ A Brief History of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Walking-horse.com  Click here for the link.

For those who think the Tennessee Walking Horse is comparatively new on the equine scene, pages of history reflect the strong influence this animal has had in the building of this country and in the daily lives of our forefathers. Mainly used for utility and riding stock, he gained wide popularity for his ease of gait and ability to stride faultlessly over hills and through the valleys of the rocky middle Tennessee terrain. Being used as a utility animal for all types of farm work, as well as family transportation and recreation, the old plantation-type horse was highly valued for his smooth and sure gait, gentle disposition and keen intelligence.
~ Tennessee Walking Horse, North America, International Museum of the Horse.  Click here for the link.

The Specific Reason for Breeding the TWH

James R. Brantley owned Allan F-1, the first horse ever to be registered as a TWH.  Brantley "dreamed of developing a breed of horse adapted to the agricultural life and traditions of Middle Tennessee, the 'Plantation Horse', as he called it."  Brantley bred Allan to Gertrude, a saddle horse with an "impeccable" pedigree.  The foal "would produce an animal that met all of the qualifications he dreamed of in a Plantation Horse."  The foal was Roan Allen F-38, and Mr. Brantley said he "had it all: beauty, conformation, and, as history would later prove, championship qualities that excelled in what became the rapidly-developing breed of the Tennessee Walking Horse."
from Tennessee Walking Horse: An American Tradition, coffee table book.  Click here for the link.

For years, Mr. James R. Brantley dreamed of developing a new breed of horse, an easy-to-ride saddle and harness horse that could serve as the utilitarian horse of his era.  In 1903, he purchased the older stallion named Allan.  Allan carried in him bloodlines of some of the greatest horses of his day, and Mr. Brantley became convinced that through this horse, he could achieve his dream.
from In Memory of Allan F-1, Walkers West.  Click here for the link.

Honestly, I could keep posting more and more links, but you get the idea.  I found the same information over and over again, and most of it was referenced as coming from TWHBEA.

None of this information leads me to believe that the breed was originally developed specifically to be a show horse.  I believe that this claim is just another way for the BL community to have an excuse to keep doing what they're doing.  These new excuses--that the horse was bred to be a show horse, that the TWH is built to do the Big Lick--it's all just ways to lie to themselves.  It's sad that they have to create their own belief system to justify abusing horses.  But we see the same thing in other cultures were animal abuse is the "norm", such as dog fighting, cock fighting, Mexican rodeos (which includes horse tripping), bear baiting, and canned hunts.  I'll be doing more research on why this phenomenon happens, but this is definitely the beginning that I think people need to have in their heads starting now.  If we understand the reasons why TWH abuse, then we can be able to get to the end of soring.

Friday, January 6, 2012

THOUGHTS - Update on What's Going On

Hello to all of my readers.  I want to let you know that I am still around--just recovering from the holidays and getting things back in order.  There is a lot I need to post about, but that means sitting down and writing, so I will get to it.

In the meantime, there are a lot of plans going on to improve FTTWH and get more info out to the public.  So stay tuned, and in the meantime, be sure to come join our Facebook group, For the Tennessee Walking Horse. This is the ONLY group associated with this blog.  To join, click the blue box in the upper right corner that says Ask to Join Group.  ANYONE is welcome on the group, and our discussions are both about soring and about how to help others find good information about training, shoeing, tack, etc. that isn't based in mechanics or gimmicks.  The group is about the horse and no one else!  Thanks!

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