Skip to content

New Bill Promotes Soundness of Horses, Integrity of Sport



(MURFREESBORO, TN)— Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN7) has introduced new legislation that would bring more science and an objective testing process to inspect Tennessee Walking Horses. Blackburn’s bill—H.R. 4098—also would create one independent inspection entity instead of the current multiple HIO system managed by industry participants and would call for inspectors to be without conflicts of interest. 

Also, unlike other proposed legislation, which creates an additional layer of government bureaucracy with a significant cost to taxpayers, and eliminates 85 percent of horses competing today the Blackburn bill would require the industry to utilize the Independent Inspection entity that would implement objective inspection methods to improve the recent industry monitoring of itself, which has resulted in a sharp decline of soring practices in the last couple of years. Recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows a compliance rate greater than 96 percent.

The bill was met with immediate praise by those involved in the performance or walking horse industry, including Jim Cortner, Chairman of the Performance Show Horse Association.

“We have maintained all along that there are means of addressing the issue without the draconian measures outlined in the PAST Act,” Cortner said. “I’m glad to see that Congresswoman Blackburn and her staff have come up with a commonsense approach that puts objectivity and science at the forefront of our inspection program like most other equine breeds. This is a bill we can get behind.”

“Protecting the soundness of the horse and the integrity of the sport is a requirement,” Cortner added. “We’re moving from a situation where even USDA inspectors sometimes disagreed on whether a violation has occurred to an era where regulations and violations are based on science and technology that is proven, reliable and reproducible.”

Among other provisions of the bill are:
Objective inspections
Using science based protocols, that are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results
Create a single Independent Inspection HIO
Governed by an independent Board appointed by the heads of State Agriculture  agencies from Tennessee and Kentucky (4) , which in concert with the Industry representatives (2) will select 3 additional independent members 
The Independent HIO will only license qualified, conflict free inspectors  

Congresswoman Blackburn is the primary sponsor, but she already has secured additional co-sponsors, including members of the delegations in Tennessee and Kentucky, which have the most Tennessee Walking Horses in the country. Other cosponsors are expected to sign on in the next few days. 

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA), founded in 1935 with more than 7,500 members, Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC), founded in 1939 and crowning World Champion Tennessee Walking Horses for 75 years, and the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) all support the Bill. In meetings of the boards of directors and executive committees of the organization, the new legislation received a unanimous vote of endorsement by each one.
 

More Stories

  • The National results available online

    Complete results from The National are available for viewing online; however, they will not be printed in the October 23, 2017 edition of The Walking Horse Report. Read More
  • Regional Leaders Visit Horse Country

    Members of the Gattis Regional Leadership group, which represents 13 counties in South Central Tennessee, toured Bedford County Oct. 12 and 13. Gattis aims toward helping leaders of these counties learn from and work with each other, as well as further develop their skills as leaders... Read More
  • Obituary - Eula Mae Maack

    Long time walking horse enthusiast, Eula Mae Maack, age 77, passed away at her home in Goodson on October 16, 2017... Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Silverado Spirit

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of world grand champion Silverado Spirit on October 16, 2017. The 20 year old mare was owned and loved by Harper Grider of Columbia, Kentucky. Read More
  • Obituary - Judith Anne "Judy" Rockhold

    Mrs. Judith Anne' "Judy" Rockhold, age 83, of Naples, Florida, (formerly, Shelbyville, Tennessee) passed from this life on Friday, September 22, 2017. Judy was avid Horsewoman and active in the Walking Horse Industry several years ago... Read More
  • Walking For Angels releases class schedule

    The Walking For Angels Show, scheduled for November 11, 2017, has released their class schedule. The show will be held in Calsonic arena with Johnny Puckett serving as the judge for this year's event.  Read More
  • Obituary - Sonny Holt

    Albert Price “Sonny” Holt, Jr., age 72, of Shelbyville, died Saturday, October 14, 2017, in a motor vehicle accident, following a horse show in Cullman, Alabama... Read More
  • Madison County selects Becknell

    The Madison County Horse Show, scheduled for October 28th in Richmond, Kentucky, has selected Keith Becknell to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at the Madison County Fairgrounds, beginning at 5 pm. Read More
  • Latest Issue Oct 16 17

    Read More
  • Roger Latham Memorial start time

    The Roger Latham Memorial Walking Horse Show, scheduled for October 14th, will begin at 4:00 pm. It was incorrectly listed as 6:00 pm on the WHR Calendar. The show will be held in Baileyton, Alabama at the Baileyton Park.  Read More