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TWSHO's Swabbing Initiative Produces First Round of Results

(Shelbyville, TN) – Today the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO) is announcing the release of its first round of swabbing results in the new organization’s Enforcement Initiative.  Launched on June 15th, with agreement from Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, TWSHO is implementing and funding a science-based inspection initiative to swab the feet of horses, in order to detect substances that harm the horse or mask substances that have harmed the horse, at all horse shows affiliating with Heart of America (HOA), Kentucky HIO, PRIDE and SHOW HIO.

“TWSHO has launched a serious and aggressive reform effort to rid the system of soring trainers and today is a significant first step in producing results needed to achieve that goal,” said Frank Eichler, TWSHO Chair.

The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) will be imposing penalties on three individuals.  For information about the suspensions, use the following link:

WHTA will enforce the suspensions using the following guidelines:

”Any entry testing positive for a foreign substance violation through the enforcement initiative will result in the trainer receiving a two-week suspension of their trainers’ license and all violations will be made public on the WHTA web site. Any entry refusing to participate in the swab initiative will result in a two-week suspension of their trainers’ license.  All violations will be made public to industry HIOs accepting the protocol. The new enforcement initiative of the WHTA will be administered by independent veterinarians and/or veterinarian technicians.”

“The results will be sent to the independent lab identified by the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO), who has helped administer and fund the initiative. Those results will be reviewed by an Independent Commissioner outside of the Horse Industry for imposition of the appropriate penalty in conjunction with the TWSHO and WHTA representatives.”

“Swabbing is just the beginning,” said Eichler. “For far too long, the industry has not followed through on its talk of reform with real action.  We understand that if we don’t rid the industry of soring trainers, there will be no industry in the near future and we won’t stop until we know that soring trainers are out of business.”

Since its inception three months ago, TWSHO, along with 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 they can rid the industry of soring trainers. TWSHO is hopeful that the USDA will agree to work with the organization to reform the system.  TWSHO is also hopeful that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) will partner with the organization to achieve needed reforms that will protect the wellbeing of the horse.

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