Skip to content

Big, BAD Brother!!

By David L. Howard

It was an impressive sight - if you enjoy seeing USDA inspectors in blue suits - at Fayetteville, Tennessee last night.

There was not anyone who was surprised they were there - they have obviously singled this show out - but talk about overkill. Dr. Todd Behre led an inspection team large enough for the Celebration to a one-night horse show and set the tone. I don't know what message he wanted to deliver or tone he wanted to set, but it was a mistake in every sense of the word.

A trainer would have to be a moron to bring a sore horse up for inspection at Fayetteville last night. Everyone knew USDA would be there and any questionable horses were left at home. But the tone was set early and often and yet some trainers bravely put their neck on the line and got their head handed back to them.

Last night was a disaster for everyone, including Dr. Behre and the USDA. There were no winners and a lot of good and decent people were wronged by this unnecessary display of government overkill.

Show manager Charles Gleghorn was devastated and expressed his feelings to Dr. Behre. During my lifetime in the horse business, no one has more consistently stood for clean, sound horses and what is right and best for this horse than Charles Gleghorn. He has participated at every level with generous amounts of time and money and deserves better.

Trainers were afraid to show, the crowd disappeared (except for those watching inspection), a wonderful charity event was ruined and Dr. Behre and the USDA lost credibility and support from responsible people in the industry. Charles Gleghorn has been a lifetime supporter of the trainers, has participated in more charitable and civic activities in his community than you can imagine and has been an outspoken supporter of the USDA's efforts to eliminate sore horses.

And last night he got his thanks!

Dr. Behre and the USDA have every right to come to any show they choose, and they have chosen Fayetteville 3 of the last 4 years, but they also have a responsibility to understand the feelings and trepidation that their attendance and demeanor can cause. Last night, people who stand for what is right were put off by their presence and numbers and the horse industry and the USDA are the worse for it.

I hope the elected industry leaders that were there last night will share with their colleagues the seriousness of the situation and the necessity for everyone to pull in the same direction. Turf battles, personality conflicts and pointing the finger have got to stop. We don't need another new organization formed, we have too many already.

What we need is leadership, direction and some semblance of working together to straighten out this mess. We have problems internally, serious threats externally and the very real possibility of long term damage to this sport and industry. Time is running out and we need some solutions instead of meetings and promises.

A final word - feelings are running high but it is important for all of us to conduct ourselves in a fashion that will reflect positively on us as individuals and as an industry. Nothing worse could happen than an ugly incident that would draw attention away from what happened to a wonderful horse show and some wonderful people last night.

I urge everyone to be gentlemen and ladies and reflect the dignity and honor of this great horse!

More Stories

  • Equine Obituary – Watch It Now

    It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Watch It Now due to complications from colic... Read More
  • South Central Kentucky Walking Horse Association cancels banquet

    The South Central Kentucky Walking Horse Association has canceled their annual banquet for 2021. The association hopes to host their banquet in 2022. For more information, contact Frankie Jo Bradley at 270-6460-7957. Read More
  • APHIS posts 2020 enforcement activity summary

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has posted their fiscal year 2020 enforcement activity summary... Read More
  • Museum to receive 1946 copy of Blue Ribbon magazine

    The Walking Horse Report recently received a copy of a 1946 Blue Ribbon magazine.  The copy was sent by a Report subscriber Robert Smith in Elma, Wash... Read More
  • NAS makes recommendations regarding inspections

    The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) released their report, “A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses,” earlier today. The committee has been working on the report for over a year with their first meeting happening in October 2019... Read More
  • USDA to host virtual training for HIOs

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has informed the industry’s Horse Industry Organizations that it will host a virtual training this year due to ongoing conditions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.  Read More
  • Kentucky HIO makes plans for 2021

    The Kentucky HIO recently announced updates for the 2021 show season. The HIO will lower horse show affiliation fee to $50 and maintain the $6 inspection fee per horse this year... Read More
  • Get the news…FAST

    It has been a year! The Walking Horse Industry remains strong and our supporters continue to dedicate their time and efforts to ensuring our future. Sales have seen record-high numbers and barns continue to bustle with the talk of the “next great one.”  Read More
  • WHTA seeks new office manager

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) has posted an opening for its office manager position. The WHTA will begin taking applications immediately.  Interested applicants should send their resume to the WHTA at PO Box 61, Shelbyville, Tenn. 37162. Read More
  • Obituary – Dr. Gordon DePoyster

    Harold "Gordon" DePoyster, 78, of Greenville, died Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 3:00PM at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Dr. DePoyster was born October 5, 1942, in Muhlenberg County. He was a dentist and a member of First Christian Church in Greenville... Read More