The following rebuttal to the Chattanooga Times Free-Press story was received by the Walking Horse Report from PRIDE HIO President, Sam Hamilton:

Mr. Todd South

Chattanooga Times Free-Press

Dear Mr. South,

I am Sam Hamilton the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of PRIDE HIO. I have been involved in the Walking Horse Industry since before the HPA was passed. I started the KWHA-HIO and served on its oversight committee for over 6 years.  I am a previous member of the TWHBEA Board, KWHA Board, OVWHA Board and served as President for 5 years. I started the SSHAK and served as President for 3 years. I have held a judges license with NHSC, KWHA-HIO, RHBAA, PRIDE, and SSHBEA.I have been s show manager for some of the largest shows in the state of Kentucky.  I have been actively involved in the enforcement of the HPA for over 15 years.

PRIDE HIO is the second largest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified inspection service which inspects Tennessee Walking Horses under the direct guidance of the USDA. PRIDE adamantly enforces the HPA under USDA oversight. The USDA attended over 35% of PRIDE shows in 2011. PRIDE unequivocally condemns the behavior of Barney Davis. PRIDE also fully supports the letter submitted to you by Dr. Steve Mullins in response to the poorly researched article written about Mr. Davis.
PRIDE, in cooperation with SHOW and the USDA recognizes SHOW’s lifetime suspension of Barney Davis for this egregious violation.
Dr. Mullins pointed out some very important facts about the Barney Davis case that your article seemed to have overlooked. Although PRIDE was not involved in this case we fully support any efforts by any individual to enforce the HPA.

Please do not categorize the entire industry with the words of someone who is not a trainer of walking horses or a member of any of the breed’s organizations. Mr. Davis has no knowledge of this issue at PRIDE affiliated shows because he has never been a participant at any show affiliated with PRIDE. PRIDE and the entire walking horse industry condemns Mr. Davis’ behavior. PRIDE, SHOW and all other major walking horse inspection services work in cooperation with the USDA to identify and eliminate individuals such as Mr. Davis who do not follow the HPA.

Mr. Davis has been under a lifetime suspension and is a convicted criminal and not a credible source for your story.

Sam Hamilton
Chairman PRIDE HIO