Skip to content

Celebration Stands By Tennessee Walking Horse; Opposes USDA Proposed Rule



The Celebration is disappointed with the proposed rule issued by the USDA-APHIS.  The rule is deficient in its intended objectives and will have a devastating impact on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and thus The Celebration, the community of Shelbyville and all those communities and charities impacted by our great breed.

The Celebration is adamantly opposed to soring of any kind and has done more than the Horse Protection Act requires to eliminate soring at its horse show.  It has been extremely frustrating and disappointing that the USDA has not acted as a partner in eliminating soring but rather as an adversary.  The Celebration has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars and worked with veterinarians and an appointed Veterinary Advisory Council to aid with the objective testing.  These objective tests include blood tests and digital radiography which has proven that no pressure shoeing exists at our shows.

The Celebration favors and believes strongly in veterinary science and objective testing.  There is no veterinary science, including the Auburn Study and a recently concluded study by the University of Tennessee, that even recommends action devices under 6oz nor pads harm or cause any soring to a Tennessee Walking Horse.  The studies actually state the exact opposite and clearly show that no harm is caused by the current allowed equipment.

The change in the inspection process would remove all regulatory responsibility of HIOs, including the SHOW HIO owned by The Celebration.  This will be a more costly and less efficient process for horse shows across the country. 

The current inspectors are already licensed and trained by the USDA and currently the USDA can revoke the license of a DQP issued by the HIO.  The USDA fails to accept responsibility for its failures in the current program, which is administered by APHIS, and the flaws in the inspection methodology which has produced a large percentage of false positives and results that are inconsistent at best.

The Celebration, along with the industry has been willing to adopt an independent HIO that would rely on world-renowned veterinarians to set an objective, science-based inspection protocol and utilize independent inspectors.  Again, the USDA has been unwilling to share data, ideas or resources to achieve these objectives.

The Celebration has retained legal counsel and will respond during the comment period of the proposed rule.  The Celebration has been expecting this move by USDA to circumvent Congress to achieve their objectives and has been preparing for this action.  The Celebration intends to fully exercise all of its legal avenues to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse and its sound, compliant exhibitions.

We urge the Tennessee Walking Horse community to remember the USDA recently tried rulemaking to initiate a Minimum Penalty Protocol that The Celebration and others commented during the comment period was illegal and outside of their authority.  The USDA ignored those comments, but after appealing an earlier district court opinion in favor of the USDA, the SHOW HIO and Contender Farms were successful in obtaining a unanimous opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the illegal rulemaking was reversed and defeated.

In conclusion, we would like to assure all of our exhibitors, sponsors and fans that this proposed rule will not change anything with this year’s Celebration.  We are looking forward to a great 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration beginning on August 24th and concluding with the crowning of our breed’s World Grand Champion on September 3rd.

More Stories

  • Obituary - James Robert "Bob" Nelms

    Mr. James Robert “Bob” Nelms, age 67, of College Grove, Tennessee, died Monday, September 18, 2017 at his home in College Grove.  Read More
  • Honors loves all

    A huge crowd met Honors and Larry Edwards at the Celebration Saturday evening, Sept. 2, 2017, at the meet and greet for 2016 WGC Honors in front of the Blue Ribbon Club on the final night of the Celebration. Read More
  • WGC A Gin To Win visits TN State Fair

    Friday, September 15th, Abernathy Stables traveled to the Tennessee State Fair to exhibit current Three-Year-Old World Grand Champion, A Gin To Win. The Tennessee State Fair has been going on for more than 150 years and this year the Fair’s theme is “Tennessee Proud.” Read More
  • Celebration announces host hotel for Tunica Fall Classic

    The Celebration is pleased to announce that they have selected The Gold Strike Resort and Casino to again serve as host hotel for the Tunica Fall Classic, scheduled for November 2-4, 2017.  Read More
  • Maverick fights his way to the top

    He’s had a solid, steadily upward moving career that’s landed him so close more than once. Finally, the nine-year-old stallion — with the help of his tenacious owners, a dedicated trainer, and a supporting staff of many — earned the roses. Read More
  • McConnell honored as Trainer of the Year

    Many would say that this trainer loves his profession and has a lifetime of dedication promoting this great breed. This gentleman has trained and shown some of the best horses that this industry has ever seen. He is a master showman that enters the show ring with a competitive spirit and passion to win. Read More
  • Goodness Gracious - Maverick Helps Bring Back That Feeling

    In a word … enthusiasm. That’s how many described the overall sentiment and success of this year’s 79th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, where classes were deep, quality was high and even history was made while tradition preserved. Read More
  • Thomas honored with humanitarian award

    In conjunction with the family of the late Evan Lloyd Adamson, The Celebration presented one of its most prestigious awards, the Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award, to Mark Thomas. The award is named in honor of the former Celebration ringmaster, association member, and director.  Read More
  • Farewell to number 1026

    We have an honored tradition at the Celebration. It’s time to pay tribute to an individual who is living part of Celebration history. Tonight, we again mark history, as we have for all previous World Grand Champions. We officially retire this back rider number from further Celebration competition.  Read More
  • Auxiliary honors U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais

    Each year the Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary presents its merit award to someone who is actively helping the walking horse industry. This year, that award is presented to Congressman Scott DesJarlais.  Read More