There’s not an event in the United States that can claim any level of success that doesn’t have a large group of unsung heroes.  That’s especially true in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and particularly at horse shows.

One group of unsung heroes that the Celebration was proud to recognize at the 36th annual Spring Fun Show was the group of DQPs, or horse inspectors.  The DQPs (designated qualified person) at the Celebration and Spring Fun Show are employed by the National Horse Show Commission and are assigned to their affiliated shows.

“These men and women are some of the most important people on the grounds at any show,” said Celebration Chairman John T Bobo.  “They are charged with the responsibility of making sure sound, healthy animals are in the ring.”

The protection of the horses is the top priority of trainers, owner, exhibitors and show managers across the country.  The DQPs are there to make sure that all parties involved are living up to their responsibility.

To go along with their immense responsibility is a physically demanding job, the stress of making tough calls in the inspection area and a frequent basic lack of appreciation.

“I was curious about DQP pay and gave Lonnie (Messick, of the NHSC) a call to find out,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas.  “After speaking with Lonnie, I was determined to make a better effort so that their job would be a little easier and more financially rewarding.”

The Celebration decided to do three things at the Spring Fun Show to help the DQPs.  First was an increase in their nightly pay from the standard $175 per night to $300.  Secondly, an effort was made to provide them with plenty of food and drinks each night.  The third item was to help them feel good about the job they were doing by recognizing them in center ring during the lineup of the Aged Stallion class at the Fun Show for which they received a standing ovation.

“They were a little hesitant to come out to center ring, but once they got out there and heard the crowd cheering, they were shocked but very happy,” said Lonnie Messick of the NHSC.  “I know they’re very appreciative of everything the Celebration did for them at the Fun Show.  I heard them talk about it that weekend and they’re still talking about it.”

The Celebration hopes other shows will do what they can to make the DQPs job a little easier.

“We’re fortunate to be able to pay them a little more money,” said Thomas.  “But there are other things shows can do that will help the DQPs do their job to the best of their ability.  Having a secure inspection area with good lighting is one big step that any show can make.  A few hamburgers and cold drinks won’t hurt either.”

For the safety and protection of our animals, it’s a small price to pay.