Skip to content

The Celebration Weighs in on HR 6388



The Celebration today weighed in on HR 6388 expressing concern over portions of the proposed legislation, which includes language that seeks to eliminate Horse Industry Organizations (HIO). Some of the provisions of the legislation would cause irreparable harm to The Celebration, the Bedford County economy and the Industry as a whole; yet do nothing to increase the safety of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

“As the World’s premier Tennessee Walking Horse event, The Celebration’s paramount concern is ensuring the safety of the magnificent Tennessee Walking Horse and preserving the integrity of our competition, ” said Mike Inman, incoming Celebration CEO. “Unfortunately, as written HR 6388 contains language that would demolish the local economy and do nothing to improve the soundness and safety of the horses.”

One of the specific parts of the legislation opposed by the Celebration is the language that would seek to eliminate HIOs, which would leave many horse shows without inspections. HIOs are groups of industry horse inspectors responsible for the inspections at Tennessee Walking Horse shows. All HIO inspectors are certified by USDA-certified instructors and are trained by the USDA. HIO inspectors inspect every horse participating in the show.

Currently, reputable horse shows partner with HIOs. Under the proposed change, horse shows would voluntarily request USDA inspectors. There is no requirement to do so. Historically this has meant that approximately 75% of all horse shows have no inspections and the USDA has been unable to even find these shows. If they don’t request inspectors to be assigned there will be no inspections at said horse show unless the USDA makes a surprise visit. The USDA does not have the capability to monitor all horse shows as they have repeatedly stated. The result would be that that fewer horses will be inspected and there is less enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The USDA’s Office of Inspector General report stated that USDA can only inspect 6-10% of horses shows so that would mean at least 90% would go uninspected.

“The Celebration is opposed to the elimination of HIO inspectors. They believe that a system like the one proposed by HR 6388 that allows for horse shows to voluntarily request inspectors would do more harm than good by allowing for abusive trainers to go undetected and unpunished,” said Inman.

The Celebration currently partners with SHOW HIO, which is the HIO with the strictest inspections and harshest penalties. And the Celebration Board of Directors has implemented historic reforms and enhanced safety measures aimed at ensuring the safety of the horse. This year’s Celebration had the most stringent inspection process in event’s history. For the first time ever, every horse was swabbed by the industry, positive results were made public during the event, and violators were punished severely by suspending trainers’ licenses, disqualifying horses, and removing ribbons, trophies and prize monies. Additionally, The Celebration banned known horse abusers from its property and events.

“The Celebration’s enhanced safety measures were successful in garnering a 98.1% compliance rate with the Horse Protection Act, significantly better than the 93.6% achieved last year. At this year’s Celebration those suspected of wrongdoing were stopped in the inspection process, or through the swabbing initiative, and punishments were issued swiftly,” said Inman. “Without the HIO inspections and The Celebration’s enhanced safety measures these people would not have been punished and they may have evaded detection all together."

More Stories

  • Celebration releases final schedule for 2021

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has finalized and released the final class schedule for the 83rd Annual Celebration. In late 2020, The Celebration formed a committee to review its class sheet and make recommendations for changes that would take into account past participation, industry trends and overall fan experience. Read More
  • TWHBEA welcomes Delfina Garay-Casas

    The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association welcomes Delfina Garay-Casas from Puebla, Mexico. Delfi Garay is a young woman from Mexico with classical training in horsemanship, who makes her living professionally teaching equitation and various forms of riding... Read More
  • 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
  • FAST Denim & Diamonds rescheduled

    The FAST Denim & Diamonds event that was scheduled for Monday, June 28th will now be held on New Year’s Eve. Please mark your calendars and celebrate the New Year with FAST!  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