Skip to content

Juarez issues letter to industry



Dear Management of Horse Shows, Exhibitions, Sales, and Auctions (Management), Horse Industry Organizations and Associations (HIOs), Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs); and Owners, Trainers, Exhibitors, Custodians, and Protection Act (HPA) Covered Activities:

I hope this message finds you well and looking forward to end of season events. I would like to provide you with two updates. First, I want to provide you with a progress report on our goal of ensuring HIO-licensed DQPs perform consistent HPA compliance inspections regardless of whether the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) attends the event. Second, I want to provide you with a few reminders to prevent HPA noncompliances.

To begin, we are sharing the HIO Summary Inspection Data that tracks inspections by HIO-licensed DQPs from October 1, through June 30. This summary compares the HIOs’ performance when USDA is and is not present at HPA-regulated events. Although there is some progress, it is marginal, at best, for nearly all HIOs that inspect horses wearing pads and/or action devices in competition. Given USDA’s investment in joint training for USDA Veterinary Medical Officers and industry-licensed DQPs, and our efforts to work side-by-side with DQPs at HPA-covered events to provide on-the-spot feedback to strengthen performance, I expect more than marginal progress from USDA-certified HIOs. I remain gravely concerned about HIOs inspecting padded horses that detect very few HPA noncompliances when USDA is not present, and, nevertheless, are seemingly able to detect some measure of HPA noncompliance when USDA is present. HIOs are intended to partner with USDA in achieving the HPA’s dual purposes of ending soring and promoting fair competition. HIOs that only perform their duties when USDA is present undermine these dual purposes, erode confidence in the Horse Protection program and walking horse industry, and will receive further individualized follow-up from USDA.

Next, as we enter the last portion of the season, I would like to remind you of the guidance I have provided throughout this season involving scar rule and equipment noncompliances.

• Scar Rule. With respect to assessing compliance with the scar rule, under our inspection focus when USDA or DQPs evaluate the posterior aspect of the pastern (the backside) they consider whether there is: (1) tissue that is non-pliable, with hard ridges or nodules with distinct edges that do not flatten, that is (2) accompanied by generalized or multiple discrete areas of hairloss. The assessment for the anterior (front) and anterior medial and lateral (sides) of the pastern is different. When USDA and DQPs assess these areas, they should be free of any tissue that is non-pliable, with hard ridges or nodules with distinct edges, that is indicative of soring. At times during pre-show inspections USDA has identified horses that appear to have substances on their pasterns to camouflage tissue changes. When USDA asked these horses to return for post-show inspection, the scar rule noncompliance was easily identified by both USDA and the DQPs. A horse should not require camouflaging to demonstrate compliance with the scar rule during pre-show inspection, and the HPA prohibits the use of substances, other than certain lubricates show management makes available after pre-show inspection. Throughout the season USDA has selected a sampling of horses for post-show inspection, and will continue to do so moving forward.

• Equipment. This year, USDA heavily invested in learning opportunities aimed at promoting full compliance with the HPA’s equipment prohibitions by participating in two open clinics for trainers, exhibitors, and owners, and issuing guidance. Even so, both USDA and DQPs continue to identify equipment noncompliances (such has high bands, rough/heavy chains, and shoeing issues involving the 50% Rule and Heel/Toe ratio). These noncompliances are careless and 100% preventable. I strongly encourage trainers to proactively develop a process to double check all equipment prior to presenting a horse for inspection. Do not wait until you are at the show to think about how you will prevent equipment noncompliance.

As we enter the final stretch of the show season, I look forward to seeing improved performance from all industry participants and HIOs so together we can achieve the HPA’s dual purposes of ending soring and promoting fair competition.

Very truly,

Bernadette Juarez
Deputy Administrator
Animal Care

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 4 22 19

    Read More
  • Year In Walking Horses Dedication: Honey Badger

    Do you know what a honey badger is? If not, don’t worry about it … the honey badger really doesn’t care what you think because they know how awesome they are. A small, fierce mammal also known as a ratel, the honey badger was made famous after a video about it, narrated by Chuck Norris, went viral. Read More
  • Year In Walking Horses Dedication: Howard Hamilton

    Howard Hamilton has spent his entire life devoting himself to his family and the horse and he does it all for one very simple reason — love. He and his family literally love the horse with all of their hearts; Howard certainly plays his part in doing what he can to ensure the horse, the industry and the industry’s youth thrive. Read More
  • The Money Tree Classic selects Beard

    Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary is proud to announce that Rollie Beard will judge the 36th Annual Money Tree Classic on July 5, 2019. The show will be held in Champions Arena.  Read More
  • Bedford Cancer Foundation announces plans for spring show

    The Bedford Cancer Foundation has announced it will again be sponsoring its annual horse show, scheduled to take place Saturday, April 27 at the Champions Arena on the grounds of the Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The show will feature 30 exciting classes including both flat shod and padded performance classes.  Read More
  • Obituary – Keith Champion

    Walking Horse owner and exhibitor, Keith Champion, passed away April 11, 2019. Keith was known for his humble attitude and great personality. Keith owned and exhibited Go Boy on Parade, Collectors Director, and most notably The Real Deal, and Be Cool. Read More
  • Obituary – Frank Eichler

    Frank Martin Eichler "Fritz" 88, of Cincinnati, Ohio, father of popular Walking Horse owner, Frank Eichler, who owns Rising Star Ranch and whose wife Debbie is popular exhibitor, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Read More
  • Latest Issue 4 15 19

    Read More
  • Bennett Stables Relocates

    Kim Bennett Stables has relocated to the beautiful Grand Oaks farm located at  825 Great House Road, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Kim has been training professionally since the mid-seventies and is well known for his success with Amateur and Youth riders as well as in open divisions. Read More
  • A Thank You from Frankie Jo Bradley

    I would just like to say Thank You to everyone who has been so good and thoughtful to me during this time. I appreciate everything and anything that all of you have done!  Read More