Skip to content

Celebration Forms Horsemen's Leadership Council



The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) has appointed a Horsemen’s Leadership Council that will report to its Board of Directors.  The council will work with the Veterinary Advisory Committee to improve and advance the programs and protocols put in place at last year’s Celebration.  The VAC and committee continue to work on the certification of an independent HIO that utilizes objective, science based inspection protocols to ensure the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse via  a predictable pre-show inspection.

The members of the committee are Terry Dotson, Frank Eichler, David Howard, Jeffrey Howard, Mike Inman, Steve Smith and Duke Thorson.  Dotson owns Winding Creek Stables in Kingston, Tenn. and is the current chairman of the board of directors of the Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA).  Eichler owns Rising Star Ranch, the largest breeding operation in the industry and has served as an advisor to the SHOW HIO and its executive committee since 2009.  David Howard started Dabora, Inc., the publisher of Walking Horse Report over 40 years ago and has served on the TWHNC board of directors since 1997 and was chairman of the board in 2014.  He retired from the TWHNC board of directors in January of this year.  

Jeffrey Howard is the current publisher of the Walking Horse Report and has served on the board of the Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse (FAST) and PSHA.  Inman is a long-time owner in the industry who retired from the show ring in 2012 to become Chief Executive Officer of the Celebration where he continues in that role.  Inman also serves on the board of PSHA and is past-president of FAST.

Smith is the current President of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) and owns Ravenswood Farms in Franklin, Tenn.  Smith and his family have been showing, breeding and raising Tennessee Walking Horses for over 50 years.  Thorson recently built Thorsport Farm in Murfreesboro, Tenn. that closely resembles his other ThorSport Farms in Sandusky, Ohio and serves on the board of directors of the Walking Horse Owners’ Association and PSHA.

“The Celebration board felt it was advantageous to bring together a committee that represents several different industry groups’ opinions and to continue to work on those items that have been championed for several years now in different groups and organizations.  This committee does not replace our Celebration Advisory Committee made up of owners and exhibitors and the Celebration has and will continue to meet with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association on concerns or items of interest they may have to make our show a success,” said Celebration Chairman Pat Marsh.

The committee has been meeting in an unofficial capacity since late 2014 and this announcement by The Celebration formalizes their role.  The committee has been the point of contact for Tom Blankenship, the spokesperson of the VAC who submitted the application for the independent HIO, the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation, on February 11, 2015.  Blankenship and Smith accompanied Dr. Doug Corey, past-President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) in Washington, D.C. to submit the application for certification.  Dr. Corey has agreed to serve on the board of directors of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation if it is approved by the USDA.

The committee has continued to work with and provide funding for Dr. Jerry Johnson, Dr. Phil Hammock and Dr. Robert Hunt, who comprise the current VAC in the development of blood testing protocols as well as other objective inspection protocols.  The VAC has enlisted the help and counsel from some of the equine veterinary community’s best including Dr. Bruce Howard from Versailles, Ky., Dr. John O’Brien from Bowling Green, and Dr. Scott Stanley from the University of California, Davis.

Another area of research for the VAC has included the highly subjective scar rule.  Blankenship and the VAC are working with Dr. Lynne Cassone, a Veterinary Pathologist with the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.  The VAC’s objective is to define a tissue rule that is science-based, trainable and enforceable on a more consistent basis than today’s current subjectively enforced scar rule.
 

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 4 22 19

    Read More
  • Year In Walking Horses Dedication: Honey Badger

    Do you know what a honey badger is? If not, don’t worry about it … the honey badger really doesn’t care what you think because they know how awesome they are. A small, fierce mammal also known as a ratel, the honey badger was made famous after a video about it, narrated by Chuck Norris, went viral. Read More
  • Year In Walking Horses Dedication: Howard Hamilton

    Howard Hamilton has spent his entire life devoting himself to his family and the horse and he does it all for one very simple reason — love. He and his family literally love the horse with all of their hearts; Howard certainly plays his part in doing what he can to ensure the horse, the industry and the industry’s youth thrive. Read More
  • The Money Tree Classic selects Beard

    Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary is proud to announce that Rollie Beard will judge the 36th Annual Money Tree Classic on July 5, 2019. The show will be held in Champions Arena.  Read More
  • Bedford Cancer Foundation announces plans for spring show

    The Bedford Cancer Foundation has announced it will again be sponsoring its annual horse show, scheduled to take place Saturday, April 27 at the Champions Arena on the grounds of the Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The show will feature 30 exciting classes including both flat shod and padded performance classes.  Read More
  • Obituary – Keith Champion

    Walking Horse owner and exhibitor, Keith Champion, passed away April 11, 2019. Keith was known for his humble attitude and great personality. Keith owned and exhibited Go Boy on Parade, Collectors Director, and most notably The Real Deal, and Be Cool. Read More
  • Obituary – Frank Eichler

    Frank Martin Eichler "Fritz" 88, of Cincinnati, Ohio, father of popular Walking Horse owner, Frank Eichler, who owns Rising Star Ranch and whose wife Debbie is popular exhibitor, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Read More
  • Latest Issue 4 15 19

    Read More
  • Bennett Stables Relocates

    Kim Bennett Stables has relocated to the beautiful Grand Oaks farm located at  825 Great House Road, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Kim has been training professionally since the mid-seventies and is well known for his success with Amateur and Youth riders as well as in open divisions. Read More
  • A Thank You from Frankie Jo Bradley

    I would just like to say Thank You to everyone who has been so good and thoughtful to me during this time. I appreciate everything and anything that all of you have done!  Read More