Random Thoughts on Celebration 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007


By David L. Howard



The Nashville Tennessean

            The Nashville Tennessean devoted its entire editorial page in the Thursday edition to the Tennessee Walking Horse. They printed views from Chuck Cadle, Executive Director of the TWHBEA, Keith Dane, Director of Equine Protection for HSUS, Wink Groover, Chairman of the NHSC, and their editorial writers.

            The article by Keith Dane was about what you would expect – a continuing endorsement of the TWHBEA plan and criticism of the NHSC without naming them. His comments on the Celebration were disingenuous, particularly as it relates to access to observing inspection. He fails to mention that he was escorted into this area by Celebration Director Charles McDonald and that a separate room with a television filming the entire process was set up for him and others who wanted to watch all evening.

            Chuck Cadle is well intentioned but his article points out how much he has to learn. He simply needs to spend more time listening and learning and less time giving interviews. He has been exposed to this breed in his new job less than a year and he is not a knowledgeable source.

            I am admittedly biased in praising the article by Wink Groover since my daughter Christy Howard Parsons worked closely with Wink in preparing it. In 500 words it tells a lot about the progress being made without being self-serving.

            The Tennessean’s editors did a fair and balanced job in their article and are to be commended for giving this amount of coverage to our breed while allowing divergent opinions to be expressed.

            On balance, it is the kind of coverage that we have been unable to get in the past and The Celebration must continue its efforts communicating with the Tennessean and presenting all of the facts about our horse, not just the negative ones cited by our critics.




Dr. Chester Gipson

            Dr. Chester Gipson of the USDA has been here all week and has been a steadying force in the performance of the VMOs and the inspection process. He met with Celebration officials on three occasions this year, including a trip to Shelbyville to prepare for all possible contingencies in the inspection area. His advice and help has been invaluable to The Celebration.

            Dr. Gipson also released the following quote several days ago, “Trainers have responded well to changes made by the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration to ensure compliance with the HPA. They have presented horses in good condition and compliant with the act.”

            Enough said!





            A number of people have asked how horses are selected for a workout in the large classes at the Celebration. After the class comes into the ring, the judges decide if they are going to have a workout. Each judge then selects eight horses and any horse that appears on three of the five cards is in the workout.

            The other horses return to the rail and any single judge can call additional entries for the workout. You can look for more small workouts in the professional championship classes this year as the Celebration continues its efforts to create more excitement.




Excusing Horses

            You have noticed that as the horses come into the ring the five judges gather together and observe their way of going. They occasionally excuse an entry for not exhibiting the proper image.

            In order for a horse to be excused, he must appear on two of the five cards marked by the judges as the horses enter. I commend the judges for doing an outstanding job in this area during the show and I can only imagine how very difficult it must be to make that decision.




Some Thoughts


            The reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails and not their tongues.


            Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.


            Don’t judge folks by their relatives.