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Celebration Continues Sound Horse Emphasis



With the 65th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration quickly approaching, Ron Thomas, Celebration CEO, and the Celebration board of directors would like everyone to know that as always they will be placing a strong emphasis on the showing of sound horses. "We were extremely pleased with the results of the 2002 Celebration concerning horses going through the inspection process," Thomas said. "Last year the relationship with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) officials was outstanding. The two organizations worked together very well to insure that horses competing at the walking horse industry’s world championship event were well within the guidelines of the 1970 Horse Protection Act."

Last year 98.2% of the horses presented at inspection were allowed to show. This did not mean that any horses had been abused; it merely meant that they were not in compliance with regard to the shoe regulations, weight of action devices, etc. There are regulations that prohibit a horse from showing at a horse show that has absolutely nothing to do with abuse. "We are very pleased with the numbers from the 2002 Celebration," Thomas stated.

Throughout the years, the Celebration has been among the first to make improvements and move to adopt regulations such as the Horse Protection Act in 1970 before the bill was even signed to law. The Celebration was the first show to officially embrace those far-reaching changes as instituted by the USDA.

From the years 1970 to 1997 more than 98% of the horses presented for show at the Celebration has passed inspection. In 1980, the Celebration became the industry's first show to purchase special fluorescent equipment to assist the USDA in the inspection of animals presented to show.

In May of 1998 at the Spring Fun Show, the Celebration became the industry's first show to adopt the Steward Program. The Steward Program empowers industry stewards to patrol show grounds as an additional safeguard to help ensure that only sound horses are allowed to enter and show.

Then in August of 1998, the Celebration joined with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association to launch an industry wide campaign called S.H.O.W., dedicated to the promotion of "sound horses, honest judging, objective inspections and winning fairly."

"Although we are very proud of the percentage of compliance during the past ten years, we must continually try to raise the bar and strive for even better results," Thomas said. "At the same time, however, we must all realize that no law totally eliminates a problem; it merely controls it."

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