Skip to content

SHOW Suspends Joe Cotten



Trainer Joe Cotten has been suspended for 7 ½ years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO), subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee.  The suspension is effective immediately, will last until December 21, 2019 and was announced by SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins.

“This is one of the longest suspension ever issued to a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, even longer than what is required by the federal government,” said Mullins.  “We take these violations seriously, and we are relieved to put this very troubling incident behind us.” 
 
The penalty stems from Cotten’s action at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. on June 15.  Cotten is charged with violating Section VI B 3 (a) (b) (c) (k) of the SHOW rulebook.  Cotten knowingly filed false entry information while on suspension from one HIO and on probation with another.
 
In 2010, Cotten was issued a 6 month suspension, 2 year probation and a $2,500 fine for threatening a judge.  The probation was from July 26, 2010 until July 26, 2012, and thus the incident at the Liberty Lions Club Show was a violation of that probation. At the request of his doctor, SHOW waived a portion of the 2010 penalty contingent upon Cotten attending anger management classes and seeking medical help.
 
Cotten also violated a suspension from the PRIDE HIO for a post-show scar rule violation.  His PRIDE suspension ran June 11 through June 24.
 
At this year’s Liberty Lions Club Show, Cotten hired Marvin North, a full time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take his horses through inspection and put them in the ring. Cotten used North’s trainer’s license number and told North that he would pay any fines the horses received. This is the same violation which caused the indictment of Jackie McConnell and three of his employees.
 
Cotten entered five horses and falsified all of the entries, which is a violation of the Horse Protection Act.  In addition, he was verbally abusive to SHOW officials and sent a vulgar text message to Dr. Mullins later in the show.
 
Days later, Cotten posted on Facebook graphic pictures of Jose’s Wine and Roses, a horse under his care, in which the horse’s front feet were badly injured. The Facebook posting has drawn widespread attention on the Internet and unfortunately casts a bad light on the walking horse industry.

The owner, Deborah Murphy, has corresponded with Dr. Mullins and denies that the horse was in the condition displayed on Cotten’s Face Book page when her husband picked the mare up from Landrum Stables and arrived at Cotten’s establishment. It appears that horse may actually have been shaved or clipped. Mr. Murphy picked up the horse immediately and took her to Dr. Brian Wright for treatment.  Jose’s Wine and Roses has not been shown in 2012 and was shown only once at the 2011 National Futurity.  
 
SHOW also suspended Marvin North for one year, fined him $1,000 and placed him on 4 year probation subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee.

More Stories

  • Equine Obituary - The Land Shark

    World grand champion and multi world champion The Land Shark passed away on December 6, 2017. The five-year-old stallion was owned and loved by Larry and Pam Russell of Pontotoc, Mississippi... Read More
  • Walking For The Angels and WHTA give back

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association teamed up once again with Walking For The Angels and Christmas In July Horse Show to give back to those in need at Christmas time. Over 300 children across Bedford County received help this year... Read More
  • KWHA Ladies Auxiliary celebrate a great year

    The KWHA Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon was held on December 9, 2017. The event was held at Malone’s Event’s and Catering in Lexington, Kentucky. 18 members joined to celebrate a wonderful year in the horse industry and participation awards and ended the day with a dirt Santa gift exchange... Read More
  • Office Holiday Hours

    The office will be closed for Christmas holidays beginning Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, and will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. We hope you enjoy that time with your families as we will be... Read More
  • Walking For Cancer show announces date

    The 2018 Walking For Cancer show will be held April 21 at the Champions Arena in Shelbyville. The start time is still pending however organizers are aiming for 5 p.m. Further details will be announced as they become available... Read More
  • Youth Council awards

    New this year for the Youth Council, a point system was put into place to help encourage all youth members to participate in different events and horse shows. Throughout the year members earned points by helping to raise money for the FAST Legal Fund and for assisting at horse shows... Read More
  • Two new faces join TWHBEA Executive Committee

    The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’s annual meetings were held last weekend in Lewisburg, Tennessee with two new faces joining the Executive Committee (EC) following the annual elections, held Saturday... Read More
  • Birth Announcement - Knox Lucas Robbins

    Paul and Jennifer Robbins welcomed their second son, Knox Lucas Robbins, on December 4, 2017. He weighed 8lbs., 6.5 oz and measured 20 inches in length. Read More
  • GWHEA High Point Banquet schedule

    The Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitors' Association High Point Awards Banquet will be held January 27, 2018, at the Monroe Golf and Country Club in Monroe, Georgia. Happy hour will be from 5:30-6:30, with a short business meeting to follow. Read More
  • WHTA presents Lifetime Achievement Award

    Starting in 2015, the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Lifetime Achievement award is presented each year to the person or persons who have made a lasting impression to both the WHTA and the Walking Horse world in general. This year’s honoree certainly embody those credentials... Read More