Skip to content

What Can I Do To Help?

By Jeffrey Howard

I get asked the question frequently “What can I do to help?”  First and foremost, recognize that our industry and the horse and sport you love are under attack by a radical group of activists that want to eliminate the sport you enjoy so much.

The Humane Society of the United States has a checkered past and has proven itself to be reckless with the facts and to associate themselves with shady characters.  I won’t use this forum to trash individuals as that isn’t relevant, however the same individuals bashing you once stood up and said the exact opposite.  As for motivation of their change of heart, I will let you figure that out.

The good news, the facts support the industry.  So first, please take the time to read the statement entered on the record at the hearing on the PAST Act by the Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA).  Click Here to read.  This document is full of factual information that supports the horse and sport you love so much.  Contact the Cavalry Group who is fighting daily for the agricultural industry against its opponents.  They are also fighting for you.

Second, contact your representative in Congress.  It would be best to visit them personally but if you can’t, give them a call, fax them a letter, send them an email or write them a letter.  Or better yet, do all of them.  If you need help drafting the letter or understanding the argument, read the PSHA statement, it will outline the devastation of this proposed legislation.  To find your representatives, visit  To find the members of the Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade subcommittee click here.

Even though opponents to the industry at the hearing chose to be loose with the facts, don’t fall in that trap.  Stick to your passion for the industry and the facts that back your position.  Although one of the HSUS witnesses stated that the 96.6% compliance rate didn’t mean anything because it was a self-policing number, be sure to point out that this number is actually the compliance rate at the shows the USDA VMOs attended and horses they, the USDA VMOs inspected and found violations indicative of soring.

And although another HSUS witness stated that other breeds that use a pad and action device don’t use them to animate the gait (I’m not sure what other reason they would use them), be sure to point out that the legislation also outlaws the use of weighted shoes and would eliminate close to 85% of the divisions currently offered at horse shows you attend.  And remember, the only science or study completed on this subject, the Auburn Study, showed that pads and action devices weighing 6 ounces or less don’t harm the horse. 

And please make this point.  Just because you don’t support the Whitfield/HSUS sponsored legislation DOES NOT mean you support soring, abuse to animals or any person that does so.  No matter how much money they have, no matter how much they pay people to label you, no matter the members of Congress they have under their control, stand up for your belief in yourself, your horse and your right to enjoy this sport. 

And finally, please find a way to support the efforts being undertaken by those groups that are fighting daily to save your sport.  And no, that doesn’t just mean a donation, it can mean time, it can be the recommendations above, it can be a simple thank you to those donating thousands of hours of their time.  If you don’t agree with every tactic or particular item, how about picking up the phone and calling someone to see if you can gain a better understanding of why something is being done or not being done.

In reality, those that don’t have an agenda and simply have the horse in mind see this very close to the same.  When you remove the radicals on both sides of this issue you find that a super-majority are for sound horses, the elimination of any soring that exists and a sport that promotes family values, honest competition and love of horses…and yes, competition.  Is the industry perfect?  No.  Is anyone?  No.  Are changes needed?  Yes.  Can’t every industry say the same?  Do we all agree on how to change?  No.

But this is about what YOU can do.  Please take the time to read and understand the issues and arguments.  Take the initiative and exercise your right to contact your representatives in Congress, I assure you that your opponent is doing so.  And pull together as a group and support what we all have in common, the horse.

More Stories

  • Trainers meet prior to 2019 kickoff

    Members of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association met for a regular pre-show meeting Wednesday March 20 at the Blue Ribbon Circle, on the grounds of the Celebration, which means one thing — the 2019 show season is about to heat up. Read More
  • Obituary — Mina Seaton

    Mina Seaton, wife of Bud Seaton, passed away Monday, March 18, 2019 after an extended illness. Mina was 82 years old... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Generator’s Santana

    With heavy hearts, it was reported that 1997 World Grand Champion Generator’s Santana was humanely laid to rest March 10. He was foaled Oct. 8, 1991. Santana had dealt with EPM for several years and lived and fought well. Read More
  • Oldies but Goodies: Many walking horses stand the test of time in the show ring

    One of the most special aspects of the Tennessee Walking Horse is the longevity they demonstrate when it comes to their show ring careers. While in many breeds it’s not unusual for a horse to retire in his mid-teen years, the walking horse is known for standing the test of time. It’s not uncommon to hear of one competing at age 20. Read More
  • Latest Issue WHYIR 18

    Read More
  • National Trainers' Show Live Stream

    What A Horse will be handling the Live Streaming duties for the National Trainers' Show again this year. ReporTV will be posting highlight videos the following day of each session. Results and judges' cards for the show will be also be Live, so tune in at 6:00 pm each night.  Read More
  • Latest Issue 3 18 19

    Read More
  • Trainers’ Show announces giveaway prizes

    The WHTA 51st Annual National Trainers’ Show announced that they were giving “Giveaway Prizes” throughout the show and there will be two grand prizes given away on Saturday night.  Read More
  • WHOA Schooling/Academy Show updates class schedule

    The Walking Horse Owners Association would like to announce this weekend Schooling/Academy show starts at 12 noon at Pleasant Valley Farm in Shelbyville, TN. Extra classes have been added for Lead Line and the Yearling Division: Yearling Fillies/Geldings, Yearling Amateur and Yearling Colts. Read More
  • New entry format at Trainers’ Show

    The 51st annual Trainers’ Show will offer a new entry format that is quick, simple and easy to use. Dee Cantrell suggests exhibitors and trainers go to where directions will readily walk anyone through the entry process... Read More