The National Walking Horse Horse Association has clarified its position on H.R.6388.  The proposed legislation would eliminate HIOs and ban action devices and pads for Tennessee Walking Horses.  NWHA originally opposed the legislation in their October statement.

October 24, 2012

The National Walking Horse Association supports all efforts to ensure that the insidious practice of soring is eradicated forever. While HR 6388 would greatly strengthen the Horse Protection Act, NWHA cannot support the bill as written. The term “weighted shoe” is very ambiguous and could be interpreted as meaning any shoe heavier than a stamped keg shoe. Our Country Pleasure, Trail Pleasure, and Lite Shod divisions all have a maximum shoe size of 3/8” x 3/4”; under this law, as written, these shoes would be illegal. Next year we have a new division, Park Lite Shod, which will have a maximum shoe size of 1/2” x 1”; under this law, as written, this shoe would be illegal. Our Plantation Pleasure division has a maximum shoe size of 1/2” x 1-1/2”; under this law, as written, this shoe would also be illegal.

NWHA has a stellar track record of horse protection and we believe that these size shoes, when made of conventional steel, will not harm the horse in any way. NWHA strongly opposes the use of shoes made of metals heavier than conventional steel, such as tungsten. If this law were amended to state “weighted shoes made of any metal heavier than conventional steel,” NWHA could fully support HR 6388.

NWHA recently took action to clarify the above position statement and released the following clarification:

December 15, 2012

The National Walking Horse Association presents the following clarification regarding the position statement on HR6388. The original position statement of October 24, 2012, as written, has resulted in some questioning whether NWHA opposes the Bill: nothing could be further from the truth. Let there be no mistake; NWHA supports HR6388. However clarification from legislators regarding terms and definitions such as "weighted shoes" is vital to meaningful legislation. A written explanation of how “weighted shoes” will be determined from someone involved in the process at the government level would help ease concerns that many NWHA members have. We do not believe this is an unreasonable request.

We have contacted the sponsors of the Bill and with understanding that this is a very busy time of the year, we are awaiting a response. This is not just a concern for NWHA; other breeds and disciplines wear what could be considered “weighted shoes” including Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Reiners, Arabians, Morgans and even some Dressage horses. Even though these other breeds and disciplines are not necessarily covered under the HPA if this Bill is made law, without clarification, it could eventually impact them as well. NWHA has worked hand in hand with the USDA since its inception. Time and time again NWHA has been shown to be at the forefront of horse protection. Soon after our founding, we banned pads, action devices, and bands on our showgrounds. We have put hours of research into weight limits for our shoes to ensure that no horse will be exposed to the extreme weight of a shoe made of either full or partial tungsten.

We have been chosen many times to represent the walking horse in a number of situations because of what we stand for, the zero tolerance for abuse of this great horse. Our dedication to the protection of this breed will never falter. In conclusion, we at NWHA offer support and aid in any way possible to the US Government while they draft legislation and implement new procedures to protect the walking horse.