Skip to content

Walking Horse Meeting Proves Fruitful

By U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon 
Posted March 1, 2002
I have worked closely over the years with owners, trainers, and participants, as well as officials in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help find a balanced approach at sustaining a vibrant Tennessee walking horse industry.  

In fact I recently met with newly appointed Agriculture Undersecretary William Hawks to discuss regulatory issues concerning the walking horse industry. We made substantial progress on many fronts during the meeting. 

Also present at the meeting were Craig Evans of the National Horse Show Commission; Bill Young of the Walking Horse Trainers Association; Ron Thomas of the Tennessee Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association; Bobby Acord, associate administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and Ron DeHaven, assistant deputy administrator of the Inspection Service’s Animal Care division. 

Last year, working closely with these people and others, a three-year regulatory agreement was finally reached. This operating plan represents years of hard work involving officials from all aspects of the industry, including horse owners, trainers and show participants. Its completion gives me great confidence in the future viability of the walking horse industry. 

Some issues of contention still remain. During the meeting with the newly appointed undersecretary, regulatory issues concerning the equitable testing of horses, the implementation of appropriate training and qualification standards for all inspectors, and the fair administration of rules and violations were addressed. I have confidence in Mr. Hawks’ willingness to work with the industry and his desire to see these issues resolved. 

But to ensure the equitable resolution of these matters and the success of the new operating plan, the application of regulations must be fair. There must be a mutual trust between industry and USDA inspectors. Undersecretary Hawks shares my desire to see all department inspectors held to the highest standards of conduct. I look forward to working with Mr. Hawks on finding mutually acceptable regulatory solutions and ensuring that individual inspectors do not jeopardize the quality of our walking horse shows. 

Some of my fondest childhood memories, after all, are from the walking horse shows I attended in Middle Tennessee. These shows, while important to family and community, also provide an important outlet for charities and civic organizations. I will continue to work toward a consensus on the remaining unresolved regulatory issues and other matters so the walking horse industry will continue to thrive.  

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  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