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TWSHO Sends Update to Industry

The following email was released today to stakeholders in the Walking Horse industry detailing efforts conducted by TWSHO over the last several weeks.  In order to add your email address to the list send an email to  A new web site will be launched in the next two weeks

 Important Reforms and Announcements

Dear Friend,
We're writing today to update you on important reforms and announcements affecting the walking show horse community and to introduce you to the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO), a new group whose goal is to prevent cruelty within the sport while promoting the proud history of our industry.  And we'll be in touch each week to report on the progress of our efforts.
Latest Reform
On June 15, TWSHO created and began to implement an objective, science-based inspection initiative to swab the feet of horses in competition in order to detect substances that harm the horse or mask substances that have harmed the horse.   This season, TWSHO is funding the program fully, so that there's no cost to the exhibitor, horse show or stakeholder.  In the coming week, TWSHO will release the first round of results and will post the names of abusers online, for all the public to see.  Our hope is to release the results as quickly as possible after collecting data - keep in mind it takes the USDA approximately 6-8 weeks to do their swabbing analysis - but it is imperative that we make sure results are as accurate as possible.
TWSHO worked with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association to launch this swabbing program, and all four performance Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) have committed to participate.  The swabbing initiative is just the beginning.  Over the coming months, TWSHO will announce additional reforms that get rid of soring trainers and protect horses.
For over 3 months, TWSHO and the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO), one of the 12 HIOs in the industry, has asked the USDA to partner in developing a baseline for a swabbing initiative.  Working together, TWSHO believes the data collected by the USDA and TWSHO will help rid the industry of soring trainers that harm horses. To this day, the USDA has not provided the requested information, which undoubtedly could be useful in our swabbing efforts.
Late last week, TWSHO was dismayed to learn that the USDA does not have a baseline but instead identifies any substance (except for three stated in the regulations), even below 1 part per million, as an illegal foreign substance. Nor is there any allowance regarding any therapeutic use nor information as to established cut off limits and information to provide to the trainers and owners as to how long chemicals being tested for can be detected as the USEF establishes in their testing procedures. Clearly the masking agents are inappropriate but cholesterol and many other of the illegal substances can be found in a natural horse training environment and to refuse to allow for those in any swabbing analysis is concerning.
Tennessean Op-ed
The Tennessean recently ran an op-ed submitted by TWSHO, in which Frank Eichler outlined our sincere support for reform and proven track record implementing reforms that will ensure every horse, in every class, in every show is sound and healthy.
Board of Directors
This week, TWSHO announced our initial Board of Directors, which includes the following individuals:
 • Proctor Dean (NC)
• Terry Dotson (TN)
• Frank Eichler (TN)
• Nancy Groover (TX)
• Bruce MacDonald (GA)
• Lee McGartland (TX)
• Duke Thorson (OH)
Professional Public Relations Firm
TWSHO has also hired Purple Strategies, a national public affairs firm specializing in brand management, reputation, digital communications, and strategic campaign consulting, to guide the organization’s strategic communications efforts, conduct its media outreach efforts and assist in educating the public about garnering support for reform within the industry.
Response to USDA Rule Clarification
Last week, TWSHO released a statement in response to the USDA’s clarification on their mandatory penalties rule, 9 C.F.R 11.25 (b)(3), that would require HIOs to be responsible for managing the legal process surrounding penalties and allow those who harm horses in one HIO to still go to another organization and show.  We are deeply concerned that the USDA’s position on this issue sends a message to soring trainers that they can keep showing horses, even if they are found to be soring.
Join Us
We are an inclusive organization willing to work with any organization or individual who shares our goal of reforming the industry to protect the horse.  We invite you to join us in our efforts to advocate the sport and promote the safety of horses.  Initial funding will come in the form of donations.  Donations for TWSHO can be made through the Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse (FAST).  Contact FAST or Mike Inman for more information (
P.O. Box 259
Shelbyville, TN 37162

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