Dr. Connelly, speaking on behalf of the Horse Protection Commission (HPC) veterinary board, has announced the suspension of services and activities by HPC.  Donna Benefield has announced her immediate resignation as Administrative Director of the HPC.  Her resignation cited serious health issues regarding a family member, requiring devotion of her time and energy toward that situation and away from other matters for the foreseeable future, including being able to adequately serve in her capacity with HPC.  Although HPC's commissioners have elected to suspend operations at this time, rather than search for a replacement for the position, HPC will remain a USDA certified HIO. 

In order to carry HPC’s mission forward, an agreement has been reached under which HPC has turned their rule book and DQPs over to the International Walking Horse Association (IWHA).  In addition, both Ms. Benefield and Dr. D. P. Moore, DVM will serve as key advisors to IWHA, continuing to provide guidance and direction to the program.  Having been an HPC commissioner, Dr. Moore has a successful equine veterinary practice, is a long-time AAEP member, and is a former USDA/APHIS Horse Protection Coordinator.  The agreement is intended to provide a seamless transition, IWHA being fully committed to carrying forward the HPC program and mission under the IWHA banner.  In that regard, IWHA has applied for approval as an HIO to inspect horses under the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's Breeders Incentive Fund.

HPC and IWHA are both USDA/APHIS certified HIOs, committed to enforcing the Horse Protection Act, rigorously, honestly, and fairly in all show divisions for Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and other gaited breeds.