Skip to content

A Statement From The Celebration



Posted February 8, 2002

© 2002 Walking Horse Report

Editors Note: The following statement was released from the Celebration this morning.

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is very disappointed with the recent newspaper quote whereby an industry official has indicated that "people are more likely to sore horses when the stakes are higher" and "people feel the greatest pressure to cheat when the return is higher". "The clear implication is that at major shows the horses presented at inspection do not tend to be in compliance with the Horse Protection Act. Documented statistics disagree with this," according to Virgil Johnson, Chairman of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

97.3% of the horses presented at the inspection area in the past ten World Grand Championship Shows have been allowed to compete. This does not mean that 2.7% of the horses have been abused, it merely means they weren't in compliance. There are many regulations that would prohibit a horse from showing that have absolutely nothing to do with abuse to animals. If 97.3% compliance is not extremely close to an acceptable figure, then we seriously need to reevaluate our program. We are very proud of the results of the horses that are presented at the inspection area at horse shows throughout America.

At the largest show, namely the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, the very best Veterinary Medical Officers are sent to insure that horses are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act of 1970. Therefore, it could be concluded that since the very best Veterinarian Medical Officers are in attendance that the horses should receive the most competent, qualified inspection possible. Additionally, the National Horse Show Commission assigns its most respected Designated Qualified Persons (DQP's) to handle the inspection process in conjunction with the USDA personnel. To conclude further that 97.3% of the horses have passed inspection in the past ten years with this kind of scrutiny would imply that the trainers are doing and extremely good job of presenting clean, sound horses for competition.

There is no question that some people in any industry are going to try to take advantage of the system and try to gain an edge for competitive purposes. There has never been a law passed by Congress that eliminates a problem. The law merely controls the problem. There is no difference with regard to the Horse Protection Act. When Congress had the wisdom to pass this Act in 1970 they did not think that, effective immediately, there would never be any other abuse to show horses in any breed. They understood that the law would give inspectors the power to protect horses and to prosecute those who attempt to abuse horses. Despite our best efforts throughout America crime still continues. There are laws against every type of major crime but unfortunately those things are taking place at this very moment. The laws against crime merely control them; the laws do not eliminate them.

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has experienced a wonderful relationship with the Untied States Department of Agriculture and the National Horse Show Commission as we work together to protect our show animals. We have vigorously supported every endeavor to promote clean, sound horses at all shows.

According to Johnson, "anyone in a leadership role in our industry should not rest comfortably until we are satisfied that there is a 100% compliance rate at our shows. We should also, however, realize that obtaining perfection is not possible. We must continue to raise the bar on our expectations and work diligently to protect our most valuable resource, the show horse."

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • 2021 WHOA Banquet plan

    The Walking Horse Owners Association would like to announce that due to restrictions for Covid-19 the WHOA Banquet scheduled in February of 2021 has been cancelled... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Mr. Trump

    The Walking Horse Report has recently learned of the death of Mr. Trump. The 2xWGC, WC and 2xRWGC passed away unexpectedly following a routine workout on October 15 coming as a shock to owners Molly and Taylor Walters as well as to trainer Edgar Abernathy. Read More
  • Online entry system available for Alabama Jubilee

    The Alabama Jubilee, scheduled for October 23-24, will take online entries up until noon on Friday, October 23 and 11:30 am on Saturday, October 24. Entries can be made at entermywalkinghorse.com.  Read More
  • Obituary – Christy Kakassy

    The Report recently learned of the passing of long-time walking horse owner and exhibitor, Christy Kakassy, on Monday, October 19, after a difficult battle with acute myeloid leukemia... Read More
  • Latest Issue 10 19 20

    Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Pride's Jubilee Encore

    Sometimes a horse is destined for greatness and with the right group of people and a lot of hard work and determination, that level is reached. This was the case for 2001 World Grand Champion Pride’s Jubilee Encore... Read More
  • Dix River Fall Classic update

    The Dix River Fall Classic, scheduled for October 23-24, at the Brodhead Indoor Facility in Brodhead, Kentucky will be a SHOW–HIO show. The entry fee for flat-shod classes will be reduced from $30 to $15.  Read More
  • Thomas Seymore injured

    Thomas Seymore was injured during the Saturday evening performance of the Trainers’ Show. He was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center with a broken ankle and other minor injuries... Read More
  • Larry Wheelon hospitalized

    Larry Wheelon is in the hospital in East Tennessee battling pneumonia and several other health issues. We extend our prayers to Larry and his family.  Read More