Copyright WHR 2006

Editor’s Note: Dr. Todd Behre of the United States Department of Agriculture responded via email to a post made on the Walking Horse Report Online Message Boards which claimed the USDA Veterinary  Medical Officers had inappropriately inspected horses at the Southern Championship Horse Show in Perry, Georgia.

Good Morning Bubba1-


I am a regular reader of the WHR online and in hard copy, and your comments below have me concerned.


I wanted to take a crack at your question:  "what are we to do"?


Please call me anytime so that I can help you understand the inspection process, including the following:


1.  USDA personnel do not write tickets

2. I don't know what a chicken pox scar looks like, but a "spot" or lesion of any type on one limb does not constitute scar rule violation.


        you can review (or read for the first time) the regs/OP, training manual,etc., at:



3. How could "all 5 of the USDA" check a horse, when only three VMOs were present?  Our videographer and investigator do not examine horses.

4. Please acquire all the video you can of what you believe are inappropriate inspections by USDA personnel.  I am responsible for their training and I can only work to fix what I know is fact.....your allegations about seeing "all 5 of the USDA"  examining a horse has me a little suspicious of the validity of the remainder of your assertions, such as the comb and the flashlight.  


Our VMOs have no problem with being videotaped by people standing outside of the designated inspection area.  I have been encouraging HIO officials and the public to share video that they feel is indicative of inappropriate inspection methods such as you've described for years, and I'm yet to receive any.  After his request for USDA's consent, I encouraged Jerry Harris of "whatahorse" to web cast the inspection area at the Celebration, but he chose not to-you may ask him why yourself.

Editor’s Note: The following is the post on the Walking Horse Report Online Message Boards which Dr. Behre responded to.

I was there the whole weekend and Thursday night was a great show! Then of course the you know who showed up and not everyone was so quick to give up. A lot of horses went up for the first few classes and so it all began. I watched them a while just to see if they were really as bad as everone says and they were and then some. They checked one horse over and over I think the regular DQP checked the horse first then all 5 of the USDA checked the horse. Horse passed.. He didn't move, didn't walk funny, the last guy who checked pushed his thumb to his nose and said the horse smelled funny, gave the people a ticket. I watched this with my own eyes. Some horses passed Friday night but didn't Saterday over the infamous "scar rule", I don't understand that. Another friend of mine had to lead around the cones eight times, have her horses hair parted with a comb and a flashlight. They found a spot the size of a chicken pox scar and "woop" she got a ticket. What is the true agenda of these people? They will shut the industry down no matter what. If you don't show, eventually shows will be shut down if you try to show they will break out the "sniffer- which is applying their finger to their noses" and all the flash lights and combs and find something to put you out for. What are we to do?