Skip to content

Celebration E.C. Meets With USDA Officials

Members of The Celebration Executive Committee met recently with officials from the USDA following the 70th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  Attending the meeting were (l-r):  TWHNC Past-Chairman John T Bobo, TWHNC Vice-Chairman Charles McDonald, USDA Horse Protection Coordinator Dr. Rachel Cezar, USDA Deputy Administrator for Animal Care Dr. Chester Gipson, TWHNC Chairman David L. Howard, and TWHNC CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows. (TWHNC Photo)


SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Members of the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows met with Drs. Chester Gipson and Rachel Cezar of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday, September 30 in Shelbyville.  The meeting was a follow-up to The Celebration that normally occurs in the weeks following the world championship horse show.

“It’s good for us to get together with them while things are fresh on everyone’s mind,” said Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows.  “It is an opportunity for a thorough de-briefing on the overall inspection process.  It gives us, as well as them, an opportunity to register suggestions, complaints and comments.  I do not know what more The Celebration can do to assist with compliance.”

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA is the overseer of the Horse Protection Act and is the governmental agency with the authority to certify Horse Industry Organizations across the country.  During the 2008 Celebration, Veterinary Medical Officers (VMO’s) from the USDA had an increased and more consistent presence on the Grounds and in the inspection area.

In a recent interview, Dr. Cezar commented, “Inspections went as planned, and we were at the Celebration to do everything we could to ensure that sound horses entered the ring.  We were able to successfully swab horses for chemicals, as well as test new thermo graphic technology to aid in the detection of non-compliant horses.”

The Celebration Executive Committee consists of the Past-Chairman, John T. Bobo, current Chairman, David Howard and Vice-Chairman Charles McDonald.  They, along with the CEO and Show Manager, discuss ideas, and listen to suggestions from the USDA with the purpose of enhancing the inspection process.

In 2008, 3,038 inspections were made (at The Celebration) with 187 violations cited.  The 95% compliance rate is a percentage point below the previous year with more than half of all violations falling under the “Scar Rule,” which continues to be the most subjective portion of the entire inspection process.

Prior to the 2007 Celebration, an overall plan to ensure the health and safety of the horses along with the integrity of the event was put in place.  The plan was enhanced prior to the 2008 event.  Tenets of the plan included:

• Continue an equine drug-screening program that will now includes eye examinations
• Use hoof testers on flat-shod entries
• Remove, inspect, and weigh shoes on random flat-shod entries after championship classes
• Prohibit use of syringes, except by licensed veterinarians
• Prohibit veterinarians from giving third-party opinions in the inspection area
• Drop girths for inspection
• Select judges with no HPA violations in 2008
• Sanction with an HIO that has signed the 2007-09 Operating Plan
• Judges to submit to polygraph test after the show
• DQP’s to submit to polygraph test after the show
• Show management to submit to polygraph test after the show
• Maintain a secure inspection area
• Allow only eligible horses in the inspection area
• DQP’s and VMO’s to perform random inspections in the barn area
• Enforce the Tennessee Anti-Soring ordinance

Results of the drug-screening, eye tests, and polygraphs will be used to build a database of information to help with future rule changes that will benefit the animals for years to come.

More Stories

  • WHOA announces 43rd annual International judges

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members for the 43rd Annual Pleasure & Colt Grand Championship... Read More
  • Obituary – Raymond Huey "Buddy" Wilhelm Jr.

    Raymond Huey “Buddy” Wilhelm Jr., age 70, of Petersburg TN, passed from this life Monday, June 21, 2021, at Maury Regional Medical Center... Read More
  • Obituary – Sandra Hall

    Sandra Elaine Wallace Hall, age 69, entered into rest on Thursday, June 17, 2021, with her family by her side. Funeral services will be 4:00 PM Friday, July 2, 2021, at Zoar United Methodist Church (2842 Zoar Road, Cheraw, SC 29520) by Pastor Billy Jack Johnson, with remarks by family friend, Mark Farrar... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Black Gin

    It is with great sadness to share that Gen’s Black Gin was peacefully laid to rest Sunday, June 20, just five days short of his 22nd birthday. Having extended health issues his breeding was ended this year and he was kept as comfortable as possible... Read More
  • Christmas In July class name change

    Class 27 for the Christmas In July Horse Show, originally listed as Western Trail Pleasure (Riders' Cup) will be Trail Pleasure, Optional Tack (Riders' Cup). Unless specifically designated, all pleasure classes will be optional tack... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Himself

    On Monday, June 14, 2021, the Smith Family said goodbye to their beloved Himself. The big roan gentle giant was sired by Pusher’s Big Score and was out of Generator’s Golden Child... Read More
  • Arab Summer Classic postponed

    The Arab Summer Classic scheduled for tonight, June 19, has been postponed due to weather. The show is rescheduled for Saturday, July 17. Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 21 21

    Read More
  • Be mindful of leadline participants

    The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is fortunate to have participants that range from small children to those that have experienced a full life. Many of our participants first introduction to the Tennessee Walking Horse is through our leadline classes... Read More
  • Obituary – Mary Ella Burke

    Mary Ella Burke of Wildersville, Tennessee, passed away Friday, June 4, 2021, at the age of 82. She is preceded in death by her husband, Earnest F. Burke, her mother Beaulah Johnson and father Ray Johnson... Read More