The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Deputy Administrator Dr. Chester A. Gipson put a December 1, 2010 deadline on all HIOs to submit their rulebooks for approval by the USDA.  Dr. Gipson issued two letters, the first in August and second in October, stating that all rulebooks must be submitted by December 1 and include the USDA mandatory penalties.

The Walking Horse Report has contacted all 12 of the HIOs for their responses.  Six of the 12 HIOs did not incorporate the mandatory penalties.  SHOW, PRIDE, Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA), Heart of America Walking Horse Association (HAWHA), Walking Horse Owners' Association (WHOA).  The National Walking Horse Association (NWHA) did not accept the penalties but stated that they didn't accept them because their penalties are tougher than the mandatory penalties.

Five of the 12 HIOs did incorporate the mandatory penalties in their rulebooks.  Western International Walking Horse Association (WIWHA), International Walking Horse Association (IWHA), Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH), Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA), and Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association (SSHBEA) all accepted the USDA mandatory penalties.

The Walking Horse Report has not gotten a response from the United Mountain Horse (UMH) HIO.  Also, the Horse Protection Commission (HPC) was previously moved under IWHA and does not act as an independent HIO.

The rulebooks for all of the HIOs that are made available to The Report will be posted online.  To view the Walking Horse Report story on the letters from Dr. Gipson click here.