TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE CELEBRATION & SORING NEWS:


Nashville News 2: Nashville is Talking "The Cruelty that Can Come with the Tennessee Walking Horses" Part of the article describing a first-hand-account of soring may be too horrific for readers. E-mail responses posted: "As long time equine professionals, we have long been horrified and amazed that the chronic mistreatment of these lovely creatures has continued basically unimpeded. We applauded the recent efforts of the Feds to crack down on the trainers/owners of the long suffering 'big lick' Walking Horses. This would effectively bring our town into the 21st century, regarding respect and humane treatment of animals." "Welcome to the unfortunate conundrum for Shelbyville. The town depends on the Celebration to exist unfortunately. It's sad that animal cruelty funds an entire town's economy." http://www.nashvilleistalking.com/archives/2006/08/the_cruelty_than_can_come_with.html8/22/06



The Tennessean: "For Months, USDA Warned Trainers About Signs of Soring" "Federal regulators had been warning Tennessee Walking Horse owners and trainers for months that too many show horses showed signs of being sored, according to e-mails and documents detailing those talks." http://www.hendersonvillestarnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060903/NEWS01/60903003 9/3/06



The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN "Figuring out How the Celebration Fizzled" "When show officials entered the warm-up area to check if the three entries eligible for the class were going to show, they were unable to reach the horses. They were almost immediately confronted by a crowd of approximately 150 people who demanded that all horses be allowed to show and were told that the three entries eligible to show would not be going into the ring." http://www.dnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006609040310 9/4/06



New York Times: "Horse Show Ends in Uproar Over U.S.D.A. Inspections." "Almost everyone associated with walking horses -- including Agriculture Department critics -- agrees that soring has not gone away, although there is disagreement about how widespread it is." Article available for a fee from the NY Times, or reprinted at the Herald Tribune in Sarasota, FL: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060904/SPORTS/609040564/1006 9/4/06


Chicago Tribune: "Horse Show a Heck of a Mess"

Tennessee organizers halt prestige event amid abuse exams (Reprint of the New York Times article, takes free registration to access) ""The only thing the USDA is out to do is enforce the Horse Protection Act," he said. 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0609040131sep04,1,7491750.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed 9/4/06



NPR "All Things Considered": Soring Accusations Cause Horse Show Cancellation: "The controversy erupted after government inspectors disqualified the majority of the qualifying horses, suggesting that the horses showed signs of "soring," an illegal practice that involves blistering and irritating a horse's legs to make its gait higher." http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5764751 9/4/06



"Tennessee Walking Horse Show Aftermath" See the live video footage of the illegal exhibition performed by three of the trainers with horses that had been disqualified at the World Grand Championship class of the Celebration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gW256-ebt8 9/3/06

News Channel 5, Nashville "Horse Owner Worries About Future of Competition" "Harlin felt the recent controversy over the soring could cast a long shadow over the entire industry." http://www.newschannel5.com/content/news/21777.asp 9/4/06



Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, Kentucky: Troopers Dispute Having Role in Cancelling Walking Horse Show." "The events at Shelbyville have led organizers of the Kentucky Celebration Tennessee Walking Horse Show to consider suspending their Sept. 20-23 event. U.S. Department of Agriculture tests of 92 horses at last year's celebration came back positive for some type of prohibited chemicals - most often benzocaine and lidocaine, two common anesthetics that can numb tender areas on a horse for pre-show inspections." http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/15445850.htm 9/5/06

Time.com: "Are Show Horses Being Abused?" "concerns are being raised about how those high-stepping horses are treated" http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1532318,00.html 9/6/06



The Shelbyville Times-Gazette: Horse Slaughter Bill in Congress: "House Bill 503 would also increase funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service from $500,000 to $5 million, and permit APHIS to stop horses being transported so they may be inspected." http://www.t-g.com/story/1167055.html Sept. 6, 2006



The Tennessean: "Ugly Walking Horse Show." "The feds had warned owners and trainers for months about their concerns over the horses. Why weren't those issues addressed before the show? The walking horse is adored for having a dignified look, but scarcely little looked dignified about the events in Shelbyville" http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060906/OPINION01/609060372/1007/MTCN0305 9/6/06



WKRN Channel 2 News, Nashville, TN: The owner, Mike Walden, claims he was trying to reward the ones that could show and did pass inspection, said Thomas who also said officials are not sure if that is really the way it was. For Walden, Celebration officials decided to suspend him from participating or showing as an owner for the next two years. He will also not be allowed to participate in the celebration's events during that period. " http://www.wkrn.com/nashville/news/celebration-ceo-eligible-horse-owner-discuss-controversy



The Independent, UK: 'Soring' controversy causes angry scenes at horse show "Instead, organisers and horse-owners had to be separated by police after federal officials disqualified six out of 10 of the leading contenders in one class - leveling accusations of foul play." http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1367184.ece 9/6/06



WBIR: Bribery allegations further taint controversial Tennessee Walking Horse Championship. ""The government said they are going to enforce" the anti-soring laws, Bob McCloy said. "This was foreseeable." .
http://www.wbir.com/news/regional/story.aspx?storyid=37639 9/7/06



The Chattanoogan.com "Walking Horse Group Suspends Mike Walden for Two Years" (Note: Mike Walden has been suspended by the NHSC two times in the past 5 years for Scar Rule and Unilateral Soring.) "Five of the eight horses in the competition, including Mr. Walden's, were disqualified on suspicion their animals may have been harmed to exaggerate a high gait."
http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_92338.asp 9/7/06



Shelbyville Times-Gazette: "Calluses Aren't Scars Says Derikson" (Note: Herbert Derikson has been suspended by the NHSC 6 times in the past 5 years for HPA violations, including 2 times for bilateral sore, the 2nd carrying a two year suspension.) "These horses are clean and unblemished," Derickson said. "If these horses, or any horses, were scarred, the hair would not grow back on that scarred area. A callus will grow hair because it is a grouping of tissue that will disappear. A callus is temporary. A scar is ugly and permanent." http://www.t-g.com/story/1167244.html 9/7/06



Metro Daily News, Farmington, MASS "Slaughter and Horse Abuse" "What the Times didn't say is some (again, I repeat some) owners and trainers pour acid on the horses' joints to induce severe pain so they lift their hooves high to avoid moving the "sored" skin and muscles. That is where the term "soring" comes from." http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/columnists/view.bg?articleid=139721 9/7/06

Albuquerque Tribune, Albuquerque, NM: "Commentary: Slaughterhouses aren't the Only Horse Abuse in the USA" "The government official I knew told me he encountered much worse than that while policing this crowd. He'd uncovered cases of owners and/or trainers driving spikes into the horses' hooves and leaving them in their stalls with the spikes in place for days on end. The purpose, he said, was to get the horse to put as little weight on its front hooves as possible." http://www.abqtrib.com/search/?q=tennessee+walking+horses&search_submit.x=11&search_submit.y=7 9/8/06

The Walking Horse Report: "NHSC Releases Celebration Statistics" "Overall the NHSC Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) wrote 249 violations in 2006 compared to 193 in 2005. This represents a 29% increase in the total number of violations written. " http://www.walkinghorsereport.com/content.aspx?cid=3859 9/8/06



Citizen Times, Ashville, NC "Walking Horse Owner Punished for Offering $10,000 to Quit Show." "The owner of a horse disqualified from competing for grand champion at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration on Thursday was banned from the show for two years because he offered trainers whose horses passed inspection $10,000 to withdraw." http://www.citizentimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060908/NEWS03/60908004 9/8/06



The Shelbyville Times Gazette, "Frist asks USDA to Study Soring Definition." "Frist and Chambliss ask USDA to study and comment on the National Horse Protection Society proposal and respond "in a timely manner.""
http://www.t-g.com/story/1167595.html 9/9/06



The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN "Callousing Normal Part of Walking Horse Training" by William Reinhart, trainer on the USDA disqualification list for "indefinite period" since 6/30/2000.

"To deal with callousing of the horse's foot under existing federal regulations requires trainers to use .The active ingredient is salicylic acid. . In horses, it causes extensive pain due to the unique nature of the tissue of a horse's foot."
http://dnj.midsouthnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060910/OPINION03/609100305/1014 9/10/06



The Tennessean: "Frist Asks for Review of Horse Safety Law" "That is an attempt to dilute the effectiveness of the Horse Protection Act, which is intended to protect horses," Dane said. "It would decriminalize certain behavior that is currently illegal, thereby protecting owners and trainers and not horses."
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060910/NEWS01/609100398 9/10/06



Walking Horse Trainers' web site: In 2005, this group had 22 of their Top Riders' Cup 25 trainers with reported Horse Protection Act suspensions. "This group is dedicated to the welfare of the horse and that often gets overlooked. I want to work with the association to make sure that the industry, the general public and the government understand that our licensed trainers are dedicated to training these wonderful animals in a humane and ethical manner." http://www.walkinghorsetrainers.com/tnewsterry.htm



Washington Post, Washington, DC: Walking Horse Contest Kicked Aside "The competition of the high-stepping horses had to be canceled last weekend after all but three horses in the event, which draws thousands annually to Shelbyville, Tenn., were disqualified over suspicions that the animals may have been harmed to exaggerate their signature high gait, or "The Big Lick," as it is called. The unlawful method is known as soring and consists of damaging or irritating the animal's legs in order to have them step that way." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/09/AR2006090900757_2.html 9/10/06



Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN: Walking Horse Universe Crippled, Soring Controversy Can't Dull Enthusiasm. " The illegal practice of soring, which involves intentionally injuring the horses' ankles to enhance the high-stepping gait. It's been banned for decades, and there is disagreement over how widespread the practice is. But it does happen, and sometimes at the highest levels. " http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_4981715,00.html 9/10/06



The Walking Horse Report: "USDA Hears from the Walking Horse Industry" "Gipson was very clear about the USDA's role in the industry. "The industry is responsible for compliance . . . when voluntary compliance fails, we will enforce the Horse Protection Act. You are at the crossroads. We are not going backwards - we are going forwards with horse protection.""
http://www.walkinghorsereport.com/content.aspx?cid=3880 9/12/06



The Tennessean: USDA says it will keep enforcing horse guidelines Industry proposal would narrow soring definition. "Lucille Davis said she has been around horses for 35 years and said the scars may be less visible today, but that doesn't mean soring is not prevalent. She said the soring has gone more underground and is more difficult to detect" http://www.fairviewobserver.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060912/NEWS01/609120362/1321/MTCN06 9/12/06



New Bedford, MASS Sun Coast Today:

"Scandal Walking Horse Winners Kicked to Curb"

"The unlawful method is known as soring."

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/09-06/09-11-06/03fiveminute.htm 9/12/06



San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media, San Francisco, CA: "Center The USDA is now cracking down on abusers, led by deputy administrator Chester Gipson. "You need to decide which way you're going to go," he told Tennessee Walking Horse industry members at a meeting recently. "You can step up and do your job, or you will put us in a position where we are forced to do it for you." http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/09/13/18310399.php 9/13/06

Fort Bend Now: Rabid Horse At Tennessee Show Prompts Fort Bend County Alert "Fort Bend County's health department is asking residents to call the Tennessee Department of Health if they attended the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration between Aug. 23-31 in Shelbyville, and came in contact with a horse now confirmed to have rabies. http://www.fortbendnow.com/news/1898/rabid-horse-at-tennessee-show-prompts-fort-bend-county-alert 9/12/06

The Tennessean, Nashville, TN Editorial: "Horse protection law should be enforced. Industry inspectors are more lax than USDA officials" "The change Frist seeks is backed by the industry. The senator should be offering more support to the regulators who inspect horses for the federal government, not side with the industry's money interests who are unhappy with enforcement of the law."
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006609130395. 9/13/06


The Shelbyville Times-Gazette editorial: Strong action needed to change perception of horses, city. "For years there have been charges that walking horses are trained with inhumane soring techniques such as mustard and acid. Recent accusations add that some owners and trainers drive spikes or nails into the horses' front hooves. If there is any truth to this charge, those owners and trainers not only should be banned from exhibiting their horses, they should be jailed". http://www.t-g.com/story/1167894.html 9/16/06


International Herald Tribune, France: New Walking Horse Show to Decide Grand Champion The largest Tennessee walking horse organization says it will hold a new event in November to name a grand champion, after the breed's annual show ended in controversy amid federal inspections for animal abuse http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/21/america/NA_GEN_US_Walking_Horse_Show.php



Lexington, Kentucky Associated Press: New walking horse event may not feature some top horses, trainers. The largest Tennessee walking horse organization says it will hold a new event to name a grand champion, but it was unclear if some of the breed's top trainers and horses would attend or be eligible to compete. http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/15586976.htm 9/22/06 Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee: High Steppers Stumble "After Ms. Stolz had a farrier remove the walking horse weighted pads and had a vet X-ray her horse's hooves, she knew why. His hooves had been trimmed to the quick - the soft tender flesh beneath the hardened hoof edge - and his foot bone had been stressed so much it had become misaligned." http://www.tfponline.com/absolutenm/templates/content.aspx?articleid=5069&zoneid=83 9/23/06



Horse Talk, New Zealand: Walking Horse Show to Name Champion Amid Controversy "The association, which is also the breed's registry body, still wants to name a grand champion to continue the long tradition. It also wants to minimise the bad publicity arising from the failure to name a grand champion at the recent show." http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/0609/067.shtml 9/24/06



Tennessean Opinion: A Walking Horse Do Over Just Won't Do "The replacement show makes it appear the industry is still trying to get its way despite the inspectors. It would be best to declare a new commitment to clean up. Otherwise, the industry is just horsing around." http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060926/OPINION01/609260335/1008 9/26/06



TheHorse.com: Soring Controversy Shuts Down Show: "Meanwhile, the Kentucky Walking Horse Association has cancelled its annual Kentucky Walking Horse Celebration on Sept. 20-23 in Liberty, Ky. "It's not a protest, really," Kentucky Walking Horse Association President Earl Rogers Jr. said. "It's that we felt we couldn't make any money. Many of the competitors could not come because they're either suspended or banned from the shows." http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=7701 9/06



Decatur Daily Letter to the Editor from Birmingham: Mechanical Aids, Cruelty, Ruin Horse Show: " There are some of us who recognize the damage of this practice, not to mention it's illegality through the Horse Protection Act, and would welcome a fair showing of these horses in their natural gaits. Seems the big no-no, using mechanical devices referred to as one of the founding principles of the Racking Horse Breeders, has been well forgotten. I see very little difference in the Walking and Racking Horse shows. Long gone are the days when a horse was judged on its natural ability. That's enough to turn more than a few people off to showing against man-made gaits and the power of big money and egos. " http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/opinion/letters/060913.shtml#three 9/13/06



The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN: WHOA Reins in Championship Plans "The Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA) is bucking the idea of naming a world grand champion in Murfreesboro this November in place of the aborted finale at the Celebration in Shelbyville. " (Printed 9/24/06, no longer available on-line.)



Shelbyville Times-Gazette: TWHBEA reacts to horse industry divisions. Like the rolling currents of the ocean, the tides continue to pommel the Walking Horse industry. The waves rolling to the shore, however, are not just the hand of outside forces but from within the industry itself.
http://www.t-g.com/story/1169953.html 9/26/06



The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN: Walking Horse Industry Making Good Strides: "The walking horse industry and the USDA both should be complimented for efforts made in this arena. Contrary to rumors and beliefs, the internal walking horse industry is working diligently to ensure the animals exhibited are HPA compliant" http://dnj.midsouthnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061001/OPINION03/610010302/1014 10/1/06.



The Horse: Walking Horse Trainers, Veterinarians React to Celebration Flap "Many within the Walking Horse industry feel that the inspectors were overzealous in their scrutiny of horses. "They've interpreted (the HPA) several different ways in the last couple years," says trainer Bill Bobo of Shelbyville, Tenn., who was one of the three approved and ready to ride for the World Grand Championship. "They tighten it down just a little more every year." http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=7802 10/2006



The Walking Horse News: Celebration Sanctions Four More People: Letters of probation were sent to Kenny Compton, Russ Thompson and Jason Hughes for riding their horses in Champions Arena after the last class was cancelled. Additionally Jimmy McConnell was placed on probation for his actions in the inspection area on the first Friday night.
http://www.walkinghorsereport.com/content.aspx?cid=3935 Oct. 12, 2006



Horse Talk, New Zealand: Walking Horse Industry Faces Clean-up: "The anti-slaughter amendment to the Horse Protection Act would stop the sale or transport of horses to slaughter houses for consumption overseas. The bill passed in the House in September and would increase the limit for enforcement of the Horse protection Act to $5 million, and would allow Department of Agriculture inspectors to inspect any horse at a show. USDA reports show that some trainers withdraw horses when federal inspectors arrive at a show." http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/0610/072.shtml Oct. 30, 2006.

Horse Talk, New Zealand: Walking Horse Industry Faces Clean-up: "The anti-slaughter amendment to the Horse Protection Act would stop the sale or transport of horses to slaughter houses for consumption overseas. The bill passed in the House in September and would increase the limit for enforcement of the Horse protection Act to $5 million, and would allow Department of Agriculture inspectors to inspect any horse at a show. USDA reports show that some trainers withdraw horses when federal inspectors arrive at a show." http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/0610/072.shtml Oct. 30, 2006.



Tennessean: Congress Should Boost Protection of Horses: USDA needs authority to protect horses pulled out of show, too. Anti-slaughter legislation passed overwhelmingly in the House this year. It could be approved in the Senate in a lame-duck session following the elections. That looks unlikely. But Congress should keep horse protection on a solid course and boost federal inspections. Otherwise, the horses and the reputation of the industry will suffer. Nov. 1, 2006 http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061101/OPINION01/611010394/1008 Nov. 1, 2006



Knoxville's Metro Pulse: Sore Winners: Tainted by Corruption and Abuse, Can the Walking Horse Industry Save Face? "Today, the methods by which soring is accomplished are limited only by trainers' creativity, and ruthlessness. One might mix mustard oil with Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO, to help the chemicals absorb through the skin), wrap the leg with plastic wrap covered by leg wraps, and let the leg "cook" overnight. Another might overtrim the horse's hoof down to the sensitive laminae, or create an acute pressure point by adding a welded bead of metal to the underside of the horse's shoe." Nov. 12, 2006. http://www.metropulse.com/articles/2006/16_45/cover_story.shtml



If you are aware of other coverage of these issues not on this list, please e-mail data@fosh.info.


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