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Celebration Supports Blackburn Legislation



The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration commends and supports fully Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R. TN) and her commonsense legislation to eliminate soring from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.  H.R. 4098, the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013, was introduced with nine additional co-sponsors.  The Celebration, the breed’s World Grand Championship show founded in 1939, endorses the actions called for by Blackburn as part of the legislation.

The Celebration activated its SHOW HIO in 2009 at the request of the Walking Horse Owners’ Association and Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and implemented the most comprehensive and thorough inspection program in the industry’s history.  The legislation calls for a single-independent HIO to enforce the HIO and thus would eliminate the SHOW HIO along with the other current certified HIOs.

“Although we are proud of the progress made by the SHOW HIO in its four years of existence, we fully support a single HIO that incorporates independent leadership and qualified inspectors that utilize objective, science-based inspection protocols,” said Celebration Chairman David L. Howard.  

The current subjective inspection process and uncertainty of its ability to accurately detect a potential violation of the HPA has hurt every aspect of the breed and thus the Celebration.  “A sound horse is paramount to the future success of the Celebration, this industry and the many economies that are affected by its horse shows,” continued Howard.  “We applaud Congresswoman Blackburn for presenting legislation that will eliminate soring, allow the industry to prosper and increase the economic impact on the communities affected,” concluded Howard.

The Celebration, the world’s largest event celebrating the Tennessee Walking Horse has a $38 million economic impact on Middle Tennessee and helps raise $250,000 annually for local charities.  The annual event takes place on TWHNC’s 105-acre equestrian complex in Shelbyville, TN, consisting of a 30,000 seat outdoor stadium, a 4,200 seat indoor arena, a covered warm-up ring, 53 barns with 1,500 stalls, and a campground for more than 350 recreational vehicles.

The Celebration joins the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association in endorsing the legislation introduced by Blackburn.  “The Celebration applauds everyone in the industry that supports the efforts of Congresswoman Blackburn and we stand ready to assist in any way possible the voluntary introduction of the items contained in the legislation,” said Celebration Chief Executive Mike Inman.
 

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