The SHOW HIO is hosting an industry stakeholder meeting this Friday, February 18, 2011 at the Blue Ribbon Circle Club on the show grounds of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.  The meeting will begin at 5:00PM CST.  The meeting will include presentations by Dr. Doyle Meadows, CEO of The Celebration and Frank Eichler, attorney for SHOW HIO.  After the presentations, there will be the opportunity to ask questions of Eichler, Meadows, SHOW President Dr. Steve Mullins and SHOW DQP Coordinator Tony Edwards.

SHOW asked WHOA, TWHBEA and WHTA to submit questions in advance of the meeting from their memberships and the questions and answers are listed below.  These questions and answers will also be handed out in the meeting and can be discussed more if needed at the meeting’s Q&A session.

1. Who is not invited to this meeting? Everyone is invited.

2. Is SHOW the only one talking? It is SHOW’s forum but that is the reason for the questions.

3. Can people bring their video camera to record it? We are in serious discussions with the USDA and prefer no (as Dr Gipson said to the Trainers in TN and KY) but your call.

4. Since it’s during dinnertime, who's bringing the snacks? Seriously?

5. How many horse shows has SHOW signed up this year? Will provide ytd at meeting but as in years past, most shows don’t give notice of affiliation until about 30 days prior to a show.

6. Will SHOW show some video from the KY sale they checked so everybody can see what’s passing this year with SHOW? Same inspection process as last 2 years.

7. Who’s bringing the booze, everybody's probably gonna need it. Same as 4.

8. On what grounds does SHOW rely that would support their contention that they are not subject to the supervision and mandates of the USDA? SHOW has never said it is not subject to supervision and mandates that are required by HPA. SHOW believes the mandate for “mandatory penalties” goes beyond the HPA and Rulemaking authority. For instance if the USDA can mandate penalties can they mandate 1 year for any ticket next year - for any scar, foreign substance, etc.? Can the USDA mandate a 6 month jail sentence?

9. With the pending de-certification of SHOW, what avenue of appeal does the SHOW personal intend to pursue to regain the ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of a working HIO? IF the USDA decertifies SHOW it will follow the appeal process under the HPA and Federal Procedures.

10. In said appeal, what points of law does SHOW intend to rely on to have the Court circumvent the power that the USDA has held for the last 40 years, with regard to the enforcement of the HPA? Most have been disclosed to the USDA in Response to HSUS Petition and others will be disclosed at appropriate time. Lawyers are not in the habit of pre-disclosing their strategy during the pre-hearing stages of a conflict.

11. During the period of de-certification, and while pursuing it's appeal, will SHOW refer it's Show Mgrs. to WHOA in order that the shows themselves can survive while SHOW is searching for new life via their appeal? Absolutely NOT. We believe, if WHOA has accepted the mandatory penalties, that it would be a huge disservice to the trainers, owners exhibitors and custodians to subject them to penalties that SHOW believes go beyond the HPA and Regs. SHOW will provide a process to support the Show managers to allow them to continue to affiliate with SHOW.

12. During the litigation period, who will provide the funding for SHOW to litigate their appeal through the Federal Appellate system? The same group that has provided the services to date at no charge to anyone in the Industry– no one on the Chat, or any other owner, trainer, exhibitor, custodian, association, or Organization has provided anything or any funds to date.

13. Who is paying Dr. Mullins salary? SHOW Inc. At no time has Frank Eichler or anyone else committed to, or paid $.01 of Dr. Mullin's salary.

14. What happens if a HIO is decertified? It can appeal that decertification. If after all appeals it is deemed still decertified it is no longer an HIO under the HPA.

15. Does a show have to use an HIO? No and this will be explained more fully at the meeting. It is a lengthy explanation.

16. When can SHOW become separate from the Celebration? Will be explained further at the meeting along with a Unity Proposal, that was initially discussed with the Presidents of WHOA, WHTA, and TWHBEA last Friday afternoon.

17.  Will Tony Edwards remain as Chief of the DQPs? Yes.
18.  Will the appeals process remain the same? Yes.

    a.  Will the Committee who hears the appeals be owners/exhibitors themselves?  (conflict of interest) No they have not nor will there be any owners, exhibitors or trainers on the Committee. 

    b.  Will the Committee produce the videos that they made which show the alleged violation?  (a trainer was denied this, after being assured that the videos would be produced) To the extent one exists yes. There have been times when a video malfunctioned or at smaller shows was not used. 

    c.  Will fair weight be given to DQP testimony without retaliation to said DQP? (one DQP lost his job because he testified on a trainer's  behalf) Yes. As always there are 2 sides to every story. SHOW has not terminated a DQP for testifying on behalf of a trainer.
19. Will SHOW allow owners/exhibitors to video the inspections of their horse(s) without retaliation and grudges being held? Under the Regs only the trainer, rider and groom are allowed in inspection area.  If another individual from those authorized under the Regs can video from outside the inspection area they are welcome to.
20.  How does SHOW justify  100% of appeals being upheld???? No need to “justify”. The tickets were issued and the independent Hearing Committee reviewed the evidence and upheld the violation.
21. Does SHOW use tickets and fines to make payroll????? No, but it is part of the revenue which goes towards all SHOW expenses.

22. How can we, or have we even tried to use the HSUS financial audit report (or any other means) to discredit the motives and credibly of the HSUS, when they attack us? Has anyone filed suit after their attack on the TWH industry after their video/mini documentary that's posted all over the internet that spreads lies and pure propaganda? Sorry, but not a focus of SHOW right now as part of trying overcome potential decertification and any upcoming Rulemaking. The Industry has not contributed to any legal support to date on the current problems so highly doubtful they would contribute to a lawsuit against the HSUS.

23. How can we get judges to tie the correct FLAT SHOD HORSE for the CLASS? Educate judges and hold them accountable. The Judging Committee will be in place this year to support the judging standards. Like everything else, it takes time to correct years of not complying with standards. However, everyone should please remember just because you didn’t get tied 1st, 2nd, etc. does not mean the Judge was wrong, crooked, etc.

24. I'm sure many will be asking, but how do they expect the show horse to survive if they continue to add costs in an already suffering economy? Will be more fully discussed at the meeting but how does the Industry expect the Celebration or anyone else to front and pay the expenses for a compliant HIO? No one is requiring anyone to exhibit at a SHOW event. But if you do, a horse card is required to help pay the expenses of SHOW.

25. Exactly which penalties don't they like that keep them from signing the penalty structure? The “mandatory penalties” are for the life of the trainer, exhibitor, owner and custodian. SHOW does not believe the USDA has the authority to require “mandatory penalties”. For further reasoning please read the response to the HSUS Petition and letters sent to Dr. Gipson in early December 2010.

26. What about a versatility show?  Will they make those horses have a SHOW card and require a DQP when one wasn't required in the past? No.

27.  Should owners remain confident about the horse industry in the event that HIOs are in the de-certification process due to not accepting the mandated penalties? Of course and why not? The horses are looking better than ever, the trainers are, for the most part, doing a very good job, the economy is starting to come back and it’s almost show season. Why let any potential conflict impact your sport or hobby? Let the lawyers fight or work it out – that’s what they are (not) being paid for.
28. During the de-certification process what year’s penalty structure will SHOW be working under?  2009 or 2010? Current 2011 SHOW Penalty protocol – identical to 2010 with a couple of minor changes.
29. What type of inspection environment can be expected if the USDA comes to a HIOs' affiliated show during that HIOs' de-certification process? We should assume standard USDA process.

30. How many show cards need to be sold to reach SHOWs revenue needs? Probably close to 3000-3500. Just like the NHSC needed to inspect approximately 51K horses in 2008 at a $6-10 per inspection fee to cover its cost. A good comparison would be based upon the # of horses inspected in 2010 the Commission fee structure for 2010 would have needed to be $13.50 - $22.50 per inspection.
31. Can WHOA reverse its agreement to accept the mandated penalties from the USDA? Ask WHOA. I would think it somewhat disingenuous to commit to the USDA to accept the “mandatory penalties” and then if SHOW is successful to say – sorry Dr. Gipson we were kidding and waiting for SHOW to be successful.

32. How come we can not get a gauge or shoe rules that will measure factory stamped keg shoes and Trail Pleasure Walking shoes within reason?  Every time we get our horses shod, we are paying extra to have them ground down to fit into the gauge no matter what brand of shoe we purchase.  I understand this a little with the Trail Pleasure Shoes as they are a handmade shoe and may vary from pair to pair, but the factory stamped keg shoe for Country Pleasure is a little silly and hurts many of the backyard horse owners who might want to come to a local TWH show and compete in this entry level division.  Rules requiring that pleasure shoes be ground down is an abuse of good sensibility.  Maybe someone could explain to me why we are doing this?  To many, this seems like another way to make money selling the gauge??? First, the shoeing rules were passed by the rules committee which consisted of a large cross section of this industry. The CP class has the stamped keg shoe as required by the rules committee and backed up by the judge’s panel in 2011. There is a “cheater” keg which will not measure known as a St. Croix. However, the Diamond Classic will measure and can be taken off the shelf and placed on the hoof. Next time you contact the tack shop ask for a Diamond Classic. Shoe gauges are available from the SHOW office at 931-684-9506.
33. When the weight limit was eliminated on pleasure shoes and the new dimensions put in place along with the use of the gauge, no one accounted for the tungsten "loaded" shoes being used in non-tungsten divisions like Country Pleasure, Trail Pleasure, and Lightshod.  For clarity I am speaking about pleasure shoes which meet the dimensions, but have been machined out and tungsten welded in for additional weight.  I am not speaking about a full tungsten fabricated shoe, which is easy to spot, I am talking about tungsten loaded shoes.  These would be undetectable without pulling and weighing shoes.  Without the weight limit and penalties to go with it, these loaded shoes if caught only face an illegal shoeing fine of $100.  They provide a huge unfair advantage in the show ring.  I am fine with tungsten shoes or even loaded shoes in their own division but still would appreciate a level playing field.  First, shoes were pulled post show at the Celebration and will continue to be pulled. Many other shows do not have official farriers available. This problem is a real concern to SHOW and we have added a new penalty for the “loaded” shoe in the 2011 penalty matrix.
34.  Is there any relief in sight for the removal of the saddle requirement in inspection?  This is a requirement that really makes showing not too fun.  I believe I hate this rule more than any, especially when showing western.  I understand why it was put in place, but after a few years of good behavior, can we get some relief on this?  This makes prepping a pleasure horse a real task as many of them take a good amount of warming up before showing.  It also causes a great deal of wear and tear on an expensive western show saddle and our backs.  Not to mention the additional labor expenses for many performance trainers with multiple horses.  Any help or insight on this would be greatly appreciated. Sorry but not on the top ten list of things to challenge. Unfortunately some historical behavior caused this rule and like many things that have occurred in this industry the few cause pain for the rest.
35. If we pay for our $150 card and the SHOW HIO is de-certified, will they refund any of our money?  I understand SHOW automatically issues the horse a card after you pay for four $50 individual inspections ($200 total).  Do you think in this time of uncertainty they could lower that to three $50 inspections (the cost of the card)?  No. That would eliminate the risk of losing money to many exhibitors during negotiations with USDA and might solve SHOWs problems with uncertainty in the market place during the early part of show season. No. SHOW will provide a process for shows to continue to affiliate shows.

36. Why don’t the Trainers or TWHBEA start their own HIO like the Owners or restart the NHSC? Each entity can request to start and certify their own HIO. The NHSC was disbanded and it can not be started again.

37. Does the USDA have to inspect horses if they show up at a show or is it Show Management’s responsibility? This will be discussed in more detail on Friday but Under Section 4 of the HPA “The management of any horse show or horse exhibition shall disqualify any horse from being shown or exhibited (1) which is sore or (2) if the management has been notified by a person appointed in accordance with regulations under subsection (c) of this section or by the Secretary that the horse is sore.”(emphasis added). Show mgt required to have someone inspect to disqualify “sore” horse or otherwise in violation of the Act or Regulations – foreign substance, shoeing violations, high band, heavy chain, etc. They must ensure that only allowed lubricants are used, inspect all first place horses, ensure horses that are disqualified are not re-entered, keep records, provide information under HPA/HPR and reason for disqualification. In section 4 (e) it states that “the Secretary, or any representative of the Secretary duly designated by the Secretary, may inspect any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction or any horse at any such show, exhibition, sale, or auction.” (emphasis added.)

The USDA is not required to inspect horses at a horse show. It is still show management’s responsibility to inspect and disqualify sore horses or for other violations of the HPA/Regs whether the USDA shows up or not.

38. The question(s) I have relates to the SHOW card and finances in general.  Based on discussions with many people, the $150 SHOW card and the associated $50 increase for 2011 is the biggest issue for most.  Did SHOW look at either leaving the fee at the same 2010 price or perhaps lowering it to $75, with the hope that more people would buy in?  In other words, could SHOW obtain their revenue target by having more people purchase the card than did in 2010?  What is the SHOW card revenue target for 2011?  Was analysis done to see if the total revenue target could be obtained without raising the card price? SHOW and its Board looked at numerous variations for funding. Costs were decreased where possible. The total budgets for the NHSC in 2008 and SHOW in 2011 were close with different categories plus or minus. The total expenses for the NHSC in 2008 were approximately $500K. The total estimated expenses for SHOW for 2011 are approximately $575K. Unfortunately there are numerous differences and a side by side comparison is difficult if not impossible. Unfortunately whether it is the economy, or past problems, or whatever, the fact is that the number of inspections in 2010 were approximately 23k as compared to 51K in 2008. A good comparison would be, based upon the # of horses inspected in 2010, the Commission fee structure for 2010 would have needed to be $13.50 - $22.50 per inspection.

39. Is SHOW set up as a 501 (c) 3 for tax reporting purposes? Yes.

40. While in the appeals process of decertification, what set of rules will the HIOs operate under? Will they go back to rule sets prior to 2009 when the POE's first popped up? According to the Regulations “Any horse industry organization or association whose DQP program certification has been revoked may appeal such revocation to the Administrator in writing within 30 days after the date of such revocation and, if requested, shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing. All DQP licenses issued by a horse industry organization or association whose DQP program certification has been revoked shall expire 30 days after the date of such revocation, or 15 days after the date the revocation becomes final after appeal,…” As is typical in most litigation or conflict resolution procedures the underlying decision is stayed until final appeal. SHOW will operate under the same set of Rules, including those POE’s that are in concert and comport with the HPA and Regs, as it has previously stated.

41. Will SHOW do anything to help Show management if they are decertified? SHOW’s lawyers will agree for 2011 to defend, at no cost, any show manager who affiliates their show with SHOW even if it is decertified, and receives a ticket from the USDA, so long as show management follows the SHOW Rulebook and or any request by a SHOW official at the show regarding any HPA or Reg requirement.

42. If SHOW is decertified and the USDA shows up at a show and starts giving out tickets, do those tickets count towards my yearly totals under the USDA Mandatory penalty matrix? NO. The USDA does not have a “mandatory penalty” matrix. If they give tickets to anyone at a show using a decertified HIO or other inspection entity, they must do exactly the same thing they do today – take information and decide internally to proceed to prosecution or not.
43. Last week on the Nashville news station it was reported that new Tenn. Congresswomen Dianne Blackburn was going to hold a meeting at the TWHBEA building in Lewisburg.  Did any members from SHOW, WHOA, TWHBEA, or WHTA try to meet with her and ask for help in Washington? We will not win this thing in court without help from our Reps. in Washington. Do we have that help?  SHOW did not. At this time SHOW has not pursued any political support.