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Trainers' Letter Seeks Support of All Disciplines

The Walking Horse Trainers' Association (WHTA) remains committed to all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse and our members who care for those horses. The WHTA and its members take seriously the welfare of all horses under our care regardless of the discipline of choice for that horse and/or owner.

In recent years, some organizations have chosen to support only specific disciplines and in turn have not allowed or supported the performance division of our horse. The WHTA has no issue with the promotion of any discipline but is opposed to any policy that does not allow a specific discipline to be allowed. The WHTA encourages all of its members, customers and exhibitors to support those organizations that promote all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

The Horse Protection Act governs all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse and whether the horse is flat shod or has a pad and action device it goes through a pre-show inspection prior to showing. The United States Department of Agriculture has chosen to attend primarily those events that allow performance horses, yet the compliance rate with the HPA remains above 95%.

The goal of the WHTA remains 100% compliance with the HPA no matter the discipline and although we are proud of the strides our members have taken with regards to welfare we will continue to do more as we seek 100% compliance. The WHTA, along with the Celebration and Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association, is committed to objective, science-based inspections that will produce a predictable pre-show inspection that our members and their customers can have full and total faith in the results.

We have supported and complied with the recent addition of blood testing by the Veterinary Advisory Committee and at this year's Celebration our members will be subject to the HPA inspection of the SHOW HIO, the inspection of the USDA, which will include digital radiography and thermography and then also comply with the blood testing and digital radiography and pulling of shoes by the VAC. For any organization or news outlet to question the welfare of any discipline of our horse in competition simply implies their lack of knowledge of the commitment to welfare at all Tennessee Walking Horse shows and especially our World Championship.







It is also important to note that the equipment used by our performance horses, which includes the use of pads and action devices, is in full compliance with the law as well as veterinary science. Other breeds of horses utilize similar equipment and are not subject to the inspections of the USDA and HIOs that our members are at each event. To draw any conclusion or to infer because of the equipm'ent the horse has been abused or is not in compliance with the HPA is again simply a lack of knowledge.


The Tennessee Walking Horse is bred to demonstrate the unique, smooth gait exhibited by all disciplines of our great horse. The equipment used in the performance divisions simply serves to enhance the natural gait of our horse, along with the training received from our members. No matter the division of horse in the ring, the smooth ride of a Tennessee Walking Horse remains one of the attributes most sought by horse lovers.

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