"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, September 18, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - McConnell Sentencing

The verdict has come down: $75,000 fine to be paid in 9 months and 3 years probation.  He must also write a letter "on the soring of horses, telling about the pain it causes and the longterm effect as well as the type of people who seek out others to sore horses. The letter is also to state how widespread the practice of horse soring is." (Chattanoogan article, copied and pasted below)

While this isn't as big as everyone wanted, it's still huge.  This WILL hurt McConnell, and it's a clear message to the rest of the industry: the government is no longer playing games and is serious about ending this atrocity.

Although I can't figure out how Greenholtz can call McConnell a "man of integrity" and "honesty" when he deliberately broke the last for the past 30 years and abused animals to do it...  Anyway...

Here's my $2 worth. (I don't say cents because we all know it will be more than a couple of pennies!)

The sentencing may seem like it's not much. But $75,000 is going to RUIN McConnell, as is a 3-year probation that I'm sure is going to be closely watched. This is not a person who has $75K lying around--he's going to have to sell stuff to pay it. This is a man who's built his livelihood on abusing animals, and now he's paying the very serious price. I imagine that now they're going to go after the $150K he owes from the first 5-year probation, and that's going to hurt even worse.

This is also a very clear indication to the industry that 1) the gov't is no longer going to stand back and not do anything about this and "trust" the industry to do their job, and, 2) they aren't going to get a slap on the wrist anymore when they're caught soring horses.

This sentencing opens the door for more prosecution and stronger sentencing to come. The judge and the prosecution attorneys are serious about this law now, and this is going to affect the entire industry and get more and more of these monsters into the courtroom and away from the horses.

This sentencing also opens up the gates for HR 6388 to be passed. Anyone who watches the HSUS video will realize that soring is widespread and that the current HPA does not have enough teeth. This sentencing will make the legislation want to see stronger penalties.

The TWH BL has become a HUGE black spot on the horse community at large. It is a small percent of the TWH world, but that percentage has been babied and doted upon to where it is the prominent image of this breed, and now new blood isn't going to come in. These people were warned for many years to end soring, but they wouldn't do it. Now they're going to pay for it, and no one feels less sorry for them than me. This sentencing should show them that 1) we all know their big giant horrible secret, and 2) there is no longer any place to hide.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Steve Neff for his hard work on this case, and Judge Sandy Mattice for seeing the truth behind this horrible man.

The Chattanoogan: Sept 18, 2012 - McConnell Gets $75,000 Fine, 3 Years Probation In Horse Abuse Case (text is copied and pasted below)

Timesfreepress.com: Sept 18, 2012 - Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell gets three years of probation, $75,000 fine

Timesfreepress.com: Sept 18, 2012 - Co-defendants in federal horse case get probation

HSUS website: Sept 18, 2012 - The HSUS Responds to Federal Court’s Sentencing of Former Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer Jackie McConnell


McConnell Gets $75,000 Fine, 3 Years Probation In Horse Abuse Case
Tuesday, September 18, 2012, TheChattanoogan.com

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Tuesday afternoon ordered Jackie McConell to pay a $75,000 fine and be on probation for three years for horse abuse.

Attorneys for the Collierville, Tn. trainer said he will need to sell some of his assets to pay the large fine.  The judge gave him nine months to do so.

He must also write a letter on the soring of horses, telling about the pain it causes and the longterm effect as well as the type of people who seek out others to sore horses. The letter is also to state how widespread the practice of horse soring is.

McConnell also must forfeit a 40-foot horse trailer that was seized.

Prosecutor Steve Neff asked that McConnell no longer be allowed to own horses, but Judge Mattice ordered that he inform probation officials on his ownership and involvement with horses during the probation period.

The prosecutor said McConnell exhibited "a complete disregard for federal laws over a period of over 30 years."

But attorney Tom Greenholtz said, "Mr. McConnell is a man of integrity. Mr. McConnell is a man of honesty. This is not the worst man in the world."

Those in the audience included former Senator Joseph Tydings, who was the sponsor of the Horse Protection Act in 1970, and Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States.

Mr. Dane said afterward that the trainer "has shown no remorse. For decades his income was based on the torture of horses."

He said the federal law protecting horses "was passed 42 years ago and this is only the third person who has been convicted. Only one has gone to jail." Previously, trainer Barney Davis got a one-year sentence and $4,000 fine in Chattanooga Federal Court. His prison sentence was based on obstruction of justice, rather than the horse law.

Former Senator Tydings said horse owners in Tennessee and Kentucky "for decades have tortured horses by altering them with a phony gait that is based on violent cruelty to the horses. In Tennessee, the officials have known what is going on, but they have done nothing about this 'big lick.'

"It's been about the culture, the money, the celebration. They don't give a d--- about the poor horses."

In the McConnell case, both sides had agreed that he would receive probation. Judge Mattice asked a number of questions about that condition, asking, "Why should my hands be tied?" After a long discussion and a recess, he said he had decided to accept the plea agreement "in toto."

Attorney Greenholtz said the 60-year-old McConnell has a number of health issues and has "no income" since the U.S. Department of Agriculture put down a lifetime ban against him taking part in the horse industry about a month ago.

He said his health insurance costs $1,200 a month and medication from $350 to $600 a month.

Prosecutor Neff said McConnell on numerous occasions had been able to go around restrictions put on him after he was caught soring horses or set up others to do so. He asked for the same restrictions under the probation as is being set down by the Department of Agriculture. But the judge did not go that far in his order.

He said with McConnell "I think this really is a lifetime ban. I think it is different this time."

Judge Mattice noted there had been "a media blitz" about the case and he had received hundreds of letters both for and against the defendant.

The case gained widespread attention after the Humane Society obtained a secret videotape showing McConnell abusing horses. It was the subject of a TV documentary.

Two other defendants, Jeff Dockery and Joseph R. Abernathy got probation. They also are to write letters on the subject of horse soring.

Dockery, 54, said McConnell set him up as a trainer and paid for his application. Abernathy, 30, said he is a farrier who was not involved in soring but in transporting horses.

Abernathy said, "I do feel remorse and this will make me a better person in the end."

McConnell made a short statement in court, apologizing to his family, friends and co-workers.

The Humane Society afterward issued this statement:

“Like many others in the Tennessee walking horse industry, Jackie McConnell has a long history of abusing horses for the sake of a blue ribbon and the profits that go along with it. He and his associates were caught on tape using painful chemicals on horses’ legs, and whipping, kicking and shocking them in the face—all to force them to perform the unnatural 'Big Lick' gait in competitions. The Humane Society of the United States is grateful that the U.S. Attorney took on this important case and sent a message that soring will not be tolerated. It was our hope that McConnell would do prison time for these terrible crimes, but there are gaps in the federal law that need to be strengthened.”

In the wake of the McConnell case, The HSUS has worked with a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers on the introduction of legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012). We are calling on Congress to take action on the legislation in the lame duck session of Congress. The bill simply fortifies the current law, and the only reason anyone in the Walking Horse industry would oppose this legislation is if they want to continue to sore horses.

McConnell and two others are also scheduled to appear in court later this month to face 31 counts of violating Tennessee’s state animal cruelty statute.


Although the Horse Protection Act was signed into law more than 40 years ago, the systematic abuse of Tennessee walking horses continues unabated. Trainers have devised a gruesome array of techniques to make it painful for these majestic horses to step down, so they will lift their front legs extremely high in the prize-winning, unnatural gait known as “the Big Lick.”

The state and federal charges against McConnell and his associates follow another recent federal criminal prosecution involving the practice of horse soring. In November 2011, former trainer Barney Davis pleaded guilty to violations of the Horse Protection Act. He was sentenced by a federal judge to serve more than a year in prison.

A 2010 USDA Office of Inspector General audit exposed how players in the walking horse industry work to evade detection, rather than comply with federal law and train horses humanely. The audit stated that the USDA needs more funding for full enforcement of the Act, and recommended stiffer penalties for violators and the abolishment of the industry’s failed system of self-enforcement.

H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012, co-sponsored by Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Jim Moran, D-Va., will end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of certain devices associated with soring, strengthen penalties, and hold accountable all those involved in this cruel practice.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases and enforces the law as it is written.  As presently constituted, the defendant’s acts of soring the horses are not themselves federal crimes.  They are misdemeanors under state animal cruelty laws.  The defendant committed federal misdemeanor offenses when he conspired to transport the sored horses and enter them into nationwide competitions.  He committed federal felony offenses when he instructed others to falsify horses’ entry paperwork at the shows to indicate that someone other than the defendant was the actual trainer of a horse.  He did this to shield himself from scrutiny as a result of having been disqualified from training and entering horses into competition by administrative sanctions of the USDA.  This five-year administrative disqualification stemmed from the defendant’s numerous previous violations of the Horse Protection Act."

The U.S. Attorney said McConnell in his plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court in Chattanooga "admitted to conspiring with others to violate the Horse Protection Act in various ways. At all times relevant to the charges in the indictment, he was on suspension from entering horses into shows.  Nevertheless, he continued to train horses by soring, transporting, entering, and showing them at horse shows while on suspension.  He trained horses using illegal soring methods such as the application of banned chemicals to the horses’ pasterns, which caused painful burning to their legs.  McConnell then arranged for them to be taken to the shows, where he stayed on the grounds outside the warm-up areas, as required due to his disqualified status, and directed others how to show the horse. At the shows, he submitted entry paperwork which falsely stated that someone else was the trainer of the sored horses.  He took steps to camouflage the damage to the horses by instructing others to apply magic markers and other masking devices to the horses’ legs prior to inspection."

He also said, "The case arose from an undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States, which resulted in the creation of evidence instrumental to the case.  The USDA Office of InspectorGeneral and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the follow-up investigation, including the execution of search warrants at McConnell’s temporary stables in Shelbyville and his barn in Collierville during the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration."

He commended Special Agent Julie McMillan, U.S Department of Agriculture, "for her initiative, persistence and diligence in investigating and highlighting this problem to the U.S.Attorney’s Office.  Her performance and the excellent work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steve Neff and Kent Anderson, resulted in this conviction, sentence and forfeiture. We will continue to investigate and prosecute cases involving violations ofthe Horse Protection Act as we do in other areas of federal law.  The impact in these cases has been far beyond any level that we might have imagined.”


RESEARCH - Comparison of the Original HPA with HR 6388

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Below is a document I prepared with the original HPA side by side with the HPA including the amendments of H.R. 6388.  The amendment changes are in red.  I talked about the changes that are most prominent in this post.  I also want to point out that the breeds of horses that will be affected are clearly spelled out in the amendment: Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.  The changes will not affect other breeds that use pads  and bands on their horses because, quite frankly, they have not abused the privilege of using pads and bands like the TWH industry has.

If you're having trouble reading it, try your Zoom option in your Internet browser, or you can view the PDF of this comparison here.

Please remember: those who oppose this are clearly not for the horse or upholding the law.  I think it's obvious that those who oppose H.R. 6388 are in support of the abuse or are abusers themselves.  Let's do our best to stop these monsters by continuing to contact our Congress persons and letting them know we want to see the madness end, permanently.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NEWS, ARTICLES and HOW YOU CAN HELP - New Amendments Introduced for the Horse Protection Act - GET YOUR LETTERS OUT THERE!

Everyone, we NEED your help on this!
We cannot let the industry use their money and lies to get these amendments ignored!

Click here for the HSUS's press release which contains more details!


Today, U.S. Reps Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Steve Cohen (D-TN), with original co-sponsors Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Jim Moran (D-VA), introduced H.R. 6388, a new bill with new amendments the Horse Protection Act.

This is HUGE folks!  A Republican in Kentucky and a Democrat in Tennessee have joined forces to end this.  I think this is quite possibly one of the only times I've ever seen two side of the political spectrum come together to want to amend a federal law.  Plus they're from the two states where soring is most rampant!

Here is the linke to the article from Animals & Politics.  The article is copied and pasted below.


Thursday, September 13, 2012
Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen the Horse Protection Act

Congress passed the Horse Protection Act of 1970 aiming to eliminate the cruel practice of “soring” show horses—applying caustic chemicals to their hooves and legs, inserting sharp objects, and using other painful techniques to force an artificially high-stepping gait, a form of cheating that gives those who engage in this abuse a competitive edge over owners and trainers who do not. Unfortunately, more than four decades later, soring and cheating continue to be rampant throughout the Tennessee walking horse industry, as exposed by a recent HSUS undercover investigation at the training barn of Jackie McConnell, one of the breed’s most celebrated trainers caught on camera beating a horse and painting chemicals on the legs to burn his flesh. Why? As awful as it sounds, to accustom the animal to pain.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal prosecutors have stepped up their enforcement of the law, and are working hard to prevent soring and bring criminal horse abusers to justice. But the law itself has some gaps, and is not strong enough to provide a meaningful deterrent for those who abuse horses in terrible ways just to win a blue ribbon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Neff submitted a sentencing memo in McConnell’s case, saying "the sad reality is that the law passed by Congress does not possess significant teeth."

Fortunately, members of Congress are taking action to give the law more teeth, and to give inspectors and prosecutors the tools they need to crack down on soring and prevent this abuse once and for all. Today, U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., with original co-sponsors Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Jim Moran, D-Va., introduced H.R. 6388, a new bill to toughen up the Horse Protection Act.

The legislation would eliminate the failed industry-run inspection system in which horse industry organizations currently license and choose who conducts inspections at horse shows, and instead would have USDA develop a roster of licensed inspectors, train them, assign them to shows, and oversee enforcement. It would explicitly ban certain devices used in the soring process on certain breeds, including chains designed to cause friction or strike a horse’s sore leg, and weighted shoes and pads attached in such a way as to painfully alter the horse’s gait. The bill would make the actual soring of a horse for the purpose of showing or selling the horse illegal, as well as the act of directing another to sore a horse for these purposes. And it would increase the criminal penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony subject to up to three years’ jail time, and increase fines to up to $5,000 per violation. For a third violation, it allows permanent disqualification from participating in any horse show, exhibition, sale or auction.

It’s clear that the current practice of essentially allowing the industry to police itself has failed miserably, and a new approach is needed. USDA swab tests on 52 random horses at the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration resulted in 52 positive findings for prohibited foreign substances. A 2010 USDA Office of Inspector General audit exposed how those in the walking horse industry work to evade detection, rather than comply with federal law and train horses humanely, and how the serious conflicts of interest by industry-selected inspectors have made enforcement hollow.

We are grateful to Reps. Whitfield and Cohen for introducing H.R. 6388 to turn this situation around and save these horses from a lifetime of abuse. Please contact your Members of Congress today. Urge them to cosponsor this much-needed reform and finally give horses the protections they should have had more than 40 years ago.


Let's break it down a bit.

THIS WILL COST OUR LAWMAKERS ZERO DOLLARS TO IMPLEMENT.  Be sure to point that out in your letters!

The specifics are:

No more HIOs!  The USDA would use their current funds to "develop a roster of licensed inspectors, train them, assign them to shows, and oversee enforcement."  This is GOOD, since only three of the 12 HIOs are TRULY sound!

Chains will be banned!  It says "certain devices," but not exactly what they are, but it does specifically call out chains as being banned. Let's remember: 6 oz chains (allowed in the show ring) and 8 oz chains do not train a horse to step higher, as proven by Dr. Nicodemus below:
***NEW!  Stacks would be banned!  From the HSUS's press release:

H.R. 6388 also outlaws “stacks” and pads, known as performance packages, which are nailed to the horse’s hoof to add weight and height, forcing the horse to lift his feet higher and strike the ground harder, at an abnormal angle. The stacks are also often used to conceal sharp or hard objects that have been inserted into the soft tissue of the horses’ hooves to increase pressure and pain and obtain the desired gait. These devices have been widely condemned by veterinary groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Soring would be a felony! Currently it is only a misdemanor.

Increase in jail time and fines!  Up to three years in jail and up to a $5000 fine per violation.

Permanent disqualification for third violation!  This is over a lifetime and is not "renewable" every year.  Disqualification is from any horse show, exhibition, auction, or sale.

Soring at home would be punishable!  THIS IS HUGE: " The bill would make the actual soring of a horse for the purpose of showing or selling the horse illegal, as well as the act of directing another to sore a horse for these purposes."  There would be no more of the HPA only being useful if the violators are caught in public!

These amendments give hefty new teeth to the HPA, and they would make amazing strides in TRUE reform in the industry.  We know these animal abusers and animal abuse supporters are not going to change their ways--it's been proven time and time again as violations pile up every year.

Now, how to help!

Please go to this page on the HSUS website.  Here, you can submit a general letter to legislators that the HSUS has written.  You can add to it

Go to www.senate.gov.  In the upper right corner, choose Find Your Senator.  Be sure to have your complete 8-digit zip code to do this, which you can find on www.usps.com (choose Look Up a Zip Code in the left side toolbar).  When you look up your Senator, find the contact me page and add your letter.  You can use text from the HSUS letter if you need to.

Go to www.house.gov and follow the same instructions as above.  Choose Find Your Representative in the upper right corner.

This is my letter to my Senators and Reps.  PLEASE WRITE YOUR OWN.  I used text from the HSUS letter because it is simple, concise and easy to understand.


Today, federal bill H.R. 6388 was introduced by Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Steve Cohen (D-TN ) known as the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012. I ask you to please support this bill. This legislation would require more meaningful enforcement by USDA to end the cruel and abusive practice of "soring" Tennessee Walking Horses (TWHs).

While we have a few TWH shows in Arizona, myself and others have worked to keep those who continue to sore horses out of our state.  But we need to see stronger penalties now to stop it in all states.

Congress first tried to address this problem in 1970, with the original Horse Protection Act.  Unfortunately, as acknowledged by USDA's Inspector General, veterinary organizations, and even TWH industry insiders, the law has been weakly enforced and largely ineffective, allowing rampant soring to continue.  In a sport that rewards the artificially produced high-stepping gait known as the "Big Lick," TWHs suffer appalling pain inflicted by unethical, law-breaking trainers who try to gain a competitive edge at horse shows by enhancing the breed's natural gait.  They use caustic chemicals, chains, hoof knives and grinders, sharp objects, weighted shoes, and other painful devices and techniques that make it hurt for the horse to step down and then they go to great lengths to cover their tracks and to push their legislators to defend the status quo.  A video released this year by the Humane Society chronicles undercover footage of abuse that is commonplace in the industry, yet industry insiders continue to deny it occurs.  Video link (warning - graphic footage): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxVlxT_x-f0

H.R. 6388 would amend the Horse Protection Act of 1970 to make it stronger and more enforceable.  The bill would eliminate the failed system of industry self-policing, explicitly prohibit certain devices that have been implicated in the cruel practice of soring, strengthen penalties, and hold accountable all perpetrators who are involved in this cruel practice. The bill is simple and does not cost the federal government any additional money.  It is designed to restore the integrity of this show horse industry, thereby saving jobs while protecting horses from torture and abuse.

For more information, please visit www.forthetwh.com or humanesociety.org.  Thank you for your support of this bill.


Know that the industry is going to fight this to the bitter end.  They are going to shake hands and try to do deals under the table, trying to use money and their social influences to stop these amendments from being approved.  DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!  Write to your Congressmen once a week or even once a day if you have to!  We MUST get this amendment passed to save the horse!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - And The Wheels Keep On Turning

Well, I guess the best I can do right now is post articles and some quick information about the aftermath of Black Week.  There is so much more to post, but I have to get everything gathered before I can do so.

To preface, so far the swabbing tests from days 2 through 10 of the show done by the industry/TWHSO have not been released.  SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE.  However, the USDA released this statement today:

Given the interest in the enforcement of the HPA at this year's Celebration, USDA wanted to post preliminary inspection results now, rather than at the end of the year. This year, USDA and DQPs inspected 1,849 horses and found 166 violations - an approximate 9% violation rate. This rate is slightly lower than the 9.5% violation rate from the 2011 Celebration, during which 2,143 horses were inspected and 203 violations were found.

That should blow that 98% compliance out of the water.  Oh wait, the industry will pad (pun intended) the numbers and make themselves look all innocent and sweet, of course.

Let's also point out that the amount is 1,849 horses at the show, not entries, and that's 294 less horses than last year.  They have not released the information on stacked vs. flat shod violations yet.  I'll post it once I get it.

The Celebration grounds were "a ghosttown," as one poster on the FTTWH Facebook group said.  Horses were being taken home every night and not kept in the stalls on the grounds...I think we can all guess why.  Horses that were kept in stalls had locked fencing around the barns to keep people out.  The stands were anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 empty...the WGC class that is usually standing room only had HUGE gaps in the stands.  We have video proof of this.  The big question is: will the industry realize WHY and stop this madness?  My vote is no, they're going to continue to spread the same lies over and over again and continue to protect the abusers.  Or maybe the horses will get lucky this time around...

A HUGE deal right now is the below release from Steve Neff, the prosecutor and our sound horse friend in charge of the McConnell case.  This is sentencing memo asking for a five year probation for McConnell from owning, training, helping to train, or dealing with horses in any way.  The memo points out that the HPA doesn't have as much teeth as it should, and that the goal is to get the max possible sentencing due to his heinous crimes.  It's also essentially a warning to the industry.  The PDF is linked below.

United States Sentencing Memorandum concerning Jackie McConnell

Here's a great article that further covers the memo from the Times Free Press.

Soring prosecutor hits law, warns horse owners, traders

And most telling, Jackie McConnell and his wife sponsored a trophy at the Celebration this year.  HUH.  I thought his name was to be BANNED from the Celebration grounds.  Nice move, dumbasses.  Guess it doesn't matter where the money comes from, huh?

McConnell's sentencing was pushed to September 18th...you bet your ass we'll all be waiting with baited breath to find out what happens.  Of course, for many people, the max punishment won't ever be enough, but we have to take heart that this sentencing has come fast, and that it's become so public.  This is going to happen to other trainers, mark my words, and it'll be sooner rather than later.

I'm sure many people have heard about Ironwork's Tin Man.  Unfortunately, this stallion was so sore for the DQP inspection for the final class he was to be in that he could hardly walk around the cones as was deemed "crippled" by the attending vet.  Chad Way, his trainer, was immediately banned for two years and the horse was given a scar rule ticket--unfortunately, it was the best way the DQP and USDA could find to punish this particular case.  But what we really need to see is a LIFETIME ban for Chad Way the animal abuser.  He has 16 - yes, SIXTEEN - previous violations with two previous two year suspensions.  The good news is that the HSUS is looking into dealing with this situation.  Hopefully they will help rescue Tin Man and will press charges.  This is all I know, but when I find out more information I'll post it.

Right now, there is some controversy over whether Rood & Riddle, a local veterinary hospital, was paid to come to the Celebration and observe the inspections and "re-check" horses.  Dr. Hopper from R&R did come and was interviewed for the industry.  Unfortunately, R&R learned that the interview was taken completely out of context and the article written was skewed to make it sound like Hopper is pro stacks.  R&R released the following statement.  Click here for the webpage--comments can be added.

Rood & Riddle wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the AAEP and AVMA to eliminate soring and other intentional methods of inducing pain in the training and performance of Walking Horses.

Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital is unequivocally opposed to the soring of horses and fully supports the efforts of the AAEP and the AVMA to end this inhumane practice. It has come to the attention of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital that the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization had previously released a statement that the organization has retained Dr. Hopper to attend the recent Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. This is not accurate. Dr. Hopper was not retained by TWSHO or any other organization to attend the Celebration. Dr. Hopper was invited by TWSHO to attend the Celebration horse show. He has no working agreement with the show or any other organization, has not and will not receive any compensation for his attendance, and has not agreed to any future obligations. Rood & Riddle is working with TWSHO to correct this error.

Dr. Hopper’s presence is testament to our belief that there is value in the restoration of the horses of the Tennessee Walking Breed to their original, once proud, plantation heritage. It is our belief that active veterinary involvement is paramount in bringing about positive change in the care of all horses.

Now it would be great if everyone would comment and ask them to PLEASE take a vocal stand AGAINST stacks the way the AVMA and the AAEP have.  That's what we really need more than vague language that they just support the AVMA and AAEP's stance.  Comments can be added here.

More important articles and opinion pieces are linked below.

Sept 7, 2012, Tuesday's Horse - Walking Horse Celebration war of words, soring and slaughter

Sept 9, 2012, The Tennessean - Gail Kerr: Tennessee walking horse soring won't stop until judging rules change

Sept 9, 2012, Horsetalk.co.nz - People continue to profit from soring – prosecutor* (I think this is an interview with Steve Neff...not sure on that.)

Sept 9, 2012, Horsetalk.com.nz - Grim picture of McConnell’s soring practices described*

*Both of these articles are from the New Zealand.

Probably the most important piece of them all:  Sept 10, 2012, The Chattanoogan - Roy Exum: Horses, The World And Us

Be sure to visit our Facebook group at this link.  That's where most of the information is being posted as soon as we learn about it, and feel free to let your voice be heard by asking questions and speaking your mind.  The horses need all the help they can get!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NEWS and THOUGHTS - Thank You

My friends, the horses have suffered through another year of torture.  I wish I could breathe a sigh of relief, but knowing these poor, brave animals will continue to suffer weighs heavy on my heart.

I think many people heard that Chad Way--who has 16 HPA violations to his name--was banned from the Celebration for two years for bringing a horse so sore to the show that it was deemed crippled (STILL can't figure out why Inman won't ban himself...)  May God bless that poor horse and help it heal and not be thrown to slaughter or into hands that won't end it's suffering, through either rehab or humane euthanization, if necessary.

Unfortunately, the WGC that won was Walk Time Charlie, and the poor animal is out of Chad Way's barn...make your own conclusions. Chad Baucom, the rider, has one HPA violation, with the last name Baucom having a total of 32 violations between Chad, Jeanette, Eddie, Bruce, and Baucom Stables.  This information is availble on the HPA database website.

HOWEVER...I want to say how proud I am of the USDA, the HSUS, and those of you who read this blog and are on Facebook who are working to spread the word and tell the public about this horrible tragedy that continues year after year. We must continue to do so next year, and we can soldier on and win this for the horse.  To those of you who went to the protest, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, although honestly, I really just can't thank you enough. A small protest is better than none at all, and when you start small, you can build and build until you're gigantic. God bless all of you for standing up for the horse!

Photo from t-g.com by David Melson
God bless the TWH, and may this breed be freed from pads, chains, and a lifetime of pain sooner rather than later!

More to come next week...

Blog Archive