By Sadie Fowler

Critically important news for the Tennessee Walking Horse industry was announced Thursday, Sept. 19 related to the inspection process that falls under the Horse Protection Act and it is imperative for walking horse enthusiasts to actively participate in this process by sharing their comments within a 20-day period that begins today.. 

Released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, based in Washington, D.C., the announcement states that the goal of the study is to review the inspection process — with the intent of making improvements to the inspection protocol. 

The announcement also reveals the names of the seven individuals to serve on the provisional committee overseeing this study and the 20-day commentary period is aimed to collect feedback on these individuals before the committee is finalized. This timeframe will end on Oct. 9 (See related side bar).

At this time, officials with the study have reported it will be 11 months long. More information will be released as it becomes available.

The announcement, in its entirety, follows: 

Announcement to study inspection protocols released

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee of equine veterinarians and experts with relevant experience and appropriate professional certifications or academic degrees to review the scientific and veterinary medical literature on hoof and pastern pain and skin/tissue changes on the pastern of horses, and evaluate methods used to identify soreness in horses (as defined in the Horse Protection Act* and the implementing regulations) for their scientific validity and reliability. In the course of its study, the committee will:

examine what is known about the quality and consistency of available methods to identify soreness in horses
identify potential new and emerging methods, approaches, and technologies for detecting hoof and pastern pain and its causes
identify research and technology needs to improve the reliability of methods to detect 

Report of findings will follow study

In a consensus report, the committee will describe its conclusions about the validity and reliability of methods, and provide recommendations to improve the efficacy and consistency of approaches to identifying soreness. The report will also review the Horse Protection Act regulations, including the "scar rule" found at 9. C.F.R. 11.3 and identify changes that would be necessary to implement the findings of the study.

*Sore when used to describe a horse means:
(1) An irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally by a person to any limb of a horse,
(2) Any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse,
(3) Any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or
(4) Any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.


Jerry Black - (Chair)
Jerry Black, DVM, is an associate professor at the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture Sciences and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences, Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. He is currently the Wagonhound Land and Livestock Chair in Equine Science and the Director of the Equine Sciences at CSU. Dr. Black obtained his DVM degree from CSU in 1971. After graduation and prior to joining CSU faculty in 2010, Dr. Black served as a senior clinician at Pioneer Equine Hospital, Inc. in Oakdale, California (1973-2010); a resident veterinarian at Valley Oak Ranch in Oakdale, California (1995-2010); a college instructor (1974-1988) and a visiting instructor at University of California, Davis (1993-2010). Dr. Black has also served as Principal Investigator or co-PI in a number of research studies since 1979; he has 38 years of experience in applied clinical investigation in equine veterinary medicine. He is a member of several professional societies and associations and has held numerous positions including president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP; 2002); president of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (1997-1999; 2006); chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Horse Council (2003-2018); member of the American Quarter Horse Association Animal Welfare Commission (2012-present); and chair of the Medication Review Committee, National Cutting Horse Association (2011-present). Dr. Black is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation and was a USEF Approved Official Show Veterinarian from 1985-2016. He served as an Approved Official Veterinarian in Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Combined Driving and Reigning for the International Equestrian Federation from 1985-2014 and was an olympic veterinarian (on call veterinarian during equestrian events) for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. He has been invited to speak at various professional conferences and conventions in the United States and in Mexico, New Zealand, and Argentina and conduct in-depth seminars on various topics including hind limb lameness of the western performance horse, diagnosis and treatment of distal fore limb lameness, and practical considerations for the use of intra-articular medications at numerous veterinary conventions in the United States from 1994-2006. In 2001, Dr. Black received the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association’s Ed Smith Memorial Award for his dedication and service to the cutting horse industry on the Pacific Coast; in 2006, he received the California Veterinary Medical Association’s Dan Evans Memorial Award for significant contributions to the practice of equine veterinary medicine, to the profession and to his community; and he was inducted into the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame in the same year. He received the AAEP Distinguished Life Member Award in 2010 and the Colorado State University Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences in 2011.

Robin Foster
Robin Foster, PhD is a certified horse behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a board Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) with the Animal Behavior Society, and a Fear Free Certified Professional. She holds a PhD in animal behavior from the University of Washington, and a dual BS in biology and psychology from the University of Michigan. Her practical experience with animals includes working as a full time animal care officer for the Humane Society and as a stable groom and trainer's assistant at Emerald Downs, showing dogs in conformation, and owning and breeding thoroughbred race horses. As a full a professor at the University of Puget Sound, she conducted research in animal learning and social behavior, and taught courses in learning and behavior, animal communication, behavior genetics, and research methods and applied statistics. Dr. Foster has also served as chair of the Psychology Department, co-director of the Neuroscience Program, and chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Although she retired from full time teaching in 2011, she continues to be active in scholarly work and currently holds positions as Research Professor in Psychology at the University of Puget Sound and Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, where she currently teaches a course in zoo animal behavior. Dr. Foster is also the current chair of the Applied Animal Behavior Committee, the CAAB certifying body of the Animal Behavior Society and a board member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Her research for the past decade has focused on horses with a mission to promote equine welfare and improve horse-human interactions. Dr. Foster's articles and commentaries on equine behavior are regularly published in The Horse. 

Pamela E. Ginn
Pamela Eve Ginn, DVM, Dipl. ACVPI, is an associate professor and senior pathologist at the Department of Comparative Diagnostic and Population Medicine, University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.She received her DVM degree from Colorado State University in 1983 and was a small animal practitioner for seven years (1983-1990) before accepting a residency in anatomic pathology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine (1990-1993). In 1993, Dr. Ginn joined the UF faculty and became the chief of the surgical pathology service (1993-2003). It was during this time that she developed her interest and expertise in dermatopathology. She has spent most of her career focused on the study of naturally-occurring cutaneous disease in animals and teaching students and residents in dermatopathology. In 2012, she was named Associate Dean for Students and Instruction, UF College of Veterinary Medicine, a position she held until 2015. From 2015-2017 she served as Admissions Director for the same college. Dr. Ginn is a member of several professional societies, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the International Society for Veterinary Dermatopathology (ISVD), of which she is a founding member. Her awards include the Special Service Award from the University of Florida Alumni Council (2015), the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists (2011), and the Norden Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine (1998).

Sarah le Jeune
Sarah le Jeune, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CVA, Cert. Vet. Chiro, is a member of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of lameness and various performance-related musculoskeletal injuries by an integrative approach including acupuncture and chiropractic. She is the chief of the Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service at University of California, Davis. Dr. le Jeune is also a board-certified equine surgeon and has been a member of the UC Davis Equine Surgery faculty since 2003. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist with extensive acupuncture training from the Colorado State University and the Chi Institute in Florida. She also obtained certification in veterinary chiropractic by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association and is certified in Veterinary Thermographic Imaging.

Bart Sutherland
Bart Sutherland, DVM is currently a private practice large animal veterinarian in Oxford, Mississippi. In previous years, he has also worked for the USEF/AQHA (US Equestrian Federation/American Quarter Horse Association) Drug and Medication Program (2002-2015); Veterinary Medicine Officer (VMO) with USDA (2010-2015); and a VMO with the USDA Horse Protection Program and Animal Care (2015-2018; Interim Director for USDA Horse Protection Program, 2016). While at USDA, Dr. Sutherland served as lead VMO in USDA team inspections and was responsible for initiating over 4,000 federal cases for violation of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in nine states. He led numerous training sessions on HPA for USDA veterinarians and inspectors, and horse show managers as well as demonstrations for and discussions with various federal and state delegations. He also served as an Animal Care Program Inspector for various veterinary and medical colleges and research institutions to ensure compliance with the Animal Care Act. Throughout his career, Dr. Sutherland has served as an expert witness on cases involving horses, including as an expert witness for the HPA in state and federal criminal and civil courts, and a USDA designated expert witness for the HPA at USEF administrative hearings. He was a USDA subject matter expert for the HPA proposed rule change in 2016. Dr. Sutherland is a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), American Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and the advisory board for Christian Veterinary Mission’s V.E.T. Net Mongolia, a non-governmental organization. He obtained his DVM degree from Mississippi State University in 1994.

Tracy Turner
Tracy Turner, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, American Academy of Thermology Fellow, is the president and owner of Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery in Stillwater, Minnesotta (2016 - present). Dr. Turner has over 40 years experience as an equine veterinarian and as a farrier. After obtaining his DVM degree from Colorado State University (1978) and his MS from Purdue University (1981), Dr. Turner served on the faculty of the University of Illinois in Urbana (Assistant Professor, 1981-1983); the University of Florida in Gainesville (Assistant Professor, 1983-1988; Associate Professor, 1988-1990); and the University of Minnesota, St. Paul (Professor, 2000-2004). He also served as the Chief of Large Animal Surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Florida (1984-1985) and at the University of Minnesota (1992-1995; 2001-2003). From 2004-2016, Dr. Turner was an Associate Veterinarian at the Anoka Equine Veterinary Services in Elk River, Minnesotta. He also served as a consultant for the USDA Horse Protection Program and a consultant for the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the Federation Equestriene Internationale (FEI) for limb sensitvity. He worked at three Pan American Games, one Olympics and one World Equestrian Games. He has authored 31 book chapters and written more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and hundreds of non-referreed manuscripts, 90% of which are about pain assessment in horses and imaging. Dr. Turner is a member of several professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the American Academy of Thermology (AAT), the American Farrier’s Association (AFA), and the Minnesota Association of Equine Practitioners (MAEP; he was also the past president). Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the AAEP (since 2017) and the AAT (since 2013) and is the current AAT President. In 2004, Dr. Turner was inducted into the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame, which was established in 1997 to honor veterinarians who have contributed to the knowledge and recognition of proper hoof care for horses.

Susan L. White
Susan L. White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, graduated from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1973. After a period of general large animal practice. Dr. White completed an internship at Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine and a residency in large animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She also completed an MS in veterinary pathology and is board certified in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. White spent the majority of her career as a professor of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia. She has had a long standing interest in equine dermatology and has spoken internationally and nationally on equine dermatology over many years and maintains a dermatology consulting service. Dr. White was a member of the AAEP task force that wrote the 2008 paper on Tennessee Walking Horse abuse, detection of soring, and next steps recommended at that time. 


Comments on the Provisional Committee Appointments are encouraged but are limited to a 20 day period that begins today, Sept. 19. To comment on any of the committee members, click here.

Details on 20-day commentary

According to the release, the following information was given about the commentary period: 

Viewers may communicate with the National Academies at any time over the project's duration. In addition, formal comments on the provisional appointments to a committee of the National Academies are solicited during the 20-calendar day period following the posting of the membership and, as described below, these comments will be considered before committee membership is finalized. 

Please note that the appointments made to this committee are provisional, and changes may be made. No appointment shall be considered final until we have evaluated relevant information bearing on the committee's composition and balance. This information will include the confidential written disclosures to The National Academies by each member-designate concerning potential sources of bias and conflict of interest pertaining to his or her service on the committee; information from discussion of the committee's composition and balance that is conducted in closed session at its first event and again whenever its membership changes; and any public comments that we have received on the membership during the 20-calendar day formal public comment period. If additional members are appointed to this committee, an additional 20-calendar day formal public comment period will be allowed. It is through this process that we determine whether the committee contains the requisite expertise to address its task and whether the points of views of individual members are adequately balanced such that the committee as a whole can address its charge objectively.