(Shelbyville, TN) – On Friday, SHOW responded to the USDA taking the first step to decertify SHOW inspectors. Today SHOW issued the following statement:

"SHOW supports strict penalties and frankly, has enforced stricter penalties than even the federal government, but this rule was written in a way that allows soring trainers to continue showing their horses, something to which we are totally opposed,” said Dr. Stephen Mullins.  “The rule basically says, if you are soring horses, don’t go where there are inspectors, go where there are not.  This is unacceptable.  How can the USDA say they are protecting horses and basically create an incentive for soring trainers to continue hurting their horses?”

SHOW is one of the Horse Industry Organizations that manages walking horse shows.  Since its inception 3 years ago, it has instituted aggressive reforms to rid the system of soring trainers and protect the horse.  SHOW horses have achieved a 98.5% compliance rate with the Horse Protection Act and SHOW will not stop reforming the way it does business until it reaches 100% compliance, which includes fighting against government rules that will hinder the organization’s effort to do so.

SHOW will defend its actions to the USDA and we are confident that we will prevail and in the future, partner with the USDA on reforms.  In the meantime, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be inspected by SHOW inspectors and not be impacted by the USDA's decision to begin this process. The Celebration will go on no matter what efforts or rogue tactics are used, but obviously the success of the show and thus monies raised for charities could be drastically affected by USDA intervention.


In June, SHOW filed a lawsuit to stop the enforcement of the USDA’s new mandatory penalty rule.  We believe the rule is unconstitutional, requires consistent penalties before it addresses consistent inspections from the USDA and the other Horse Industry Organizations (HIO) the USDA certified.  In addition, in the USDA’s own words, the rule allows soring trainers who get in trouble at one show to just go compete in another HIO’s show.  Until a judge hears arguments from our lawyers as well as the USDA’s lawyers, we feel strongly the USDA should wait to enforce the rule.