WHTA Advisory Committee Recommends Not To Sign

by Christy Howard Parsons
Copyright WHR 2007

Hal Newman presented the findings of the WHTA Advisory Committee to the general membership of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association at their meeting Tuesday. The committee met for seven hours on March 14, 2007, to review the proposed 2007-2009 Operating Plan to determine the changes in the proposal from the 2004-2006 Operating Plan. According to WHTA President Wink Groover, the Advisory Committee was the only organization of the three bodies he requested to review the plan.
After this presentation and some additional discussion, the general membership of the WHTA voted unanimously not to sign the 2007-2009 Operating Plan.

NEGATIVE (new for this year) additions to the Operating Plan

The Operating Plan for 2007 – 2009

It is important to remember that this Operating Plan only gives each HIO the “initial enforcement responsibility.” “Nothing in this plan is intended to limit APHIS’s enforcement authority under the Act and the Regulations.” (Page 2)

Probation – This Operating Plan has no Probation. The 2004-2006 Operating Plan “cleaned” the slate after one year with no additional violations.
Penalty Section – Should remain as it was in the 2004-2006 Operating Plan with the exception of the Pressure Shoeing Violation.
Pressure Shoeing – 1st offense-5 years; 2nd offense-Lifetime Suspension (keep)
Unilateral Sore – Return to two weeks instead of 30 days.
Bilateral Sore – We feel that this would only be for 8 months only if the horse meets all the criteria for a HPA violation which includes locomotion, appearance, and physical exam. We feel that a horse that only has a problem with one area should not be given such a severe penalty. (They should be disqualified from showing or a possible two-week suspension.)
The current Operating Plan can give you an 8-month suspension if the horse does not lead a figure 8 properly.
The current Operating Plan can give you an 8-month suspension if the horse doesn’t feel well that night and his appearance doesn’t suit them.
The current Operating Plan can give you an 8-month suspension if the horse moves his feet during the physical exam.
Technical Violations – If these are correctable, the horse should be allowed to show.

“Days” definition – Page 3. The definition of “days” should be removed completely. This plan makes it when the end of a period falls on a day, which is a weekend or holiday, the end of the period shall be the next business day. A day should be a day regardless of “when it falls.”
Bookkeeping – Pages 5-6. We have real concerns about the rules keeping section of the O.P. separating records on Flat Shod vs. Padded. If we do not get to negotiate a different plan for each, then why do we need to keep the records separate? Are they not ALL TWH?
HIO Board and Suspensions. Pages 8-9. “Individuals may not serve on a HIO Board while on suspension.” We feel this should be deleted.
Published Suspension List. Page 12 (4). Delete everything concerning the publishing of a HIO suspension list. Too much room for error, and would potentially become time consuming and costly. There is a potential for lawsuits if someone was “mistakenly” put on list in an error.
Plastic and 6-oz. chains. Page 17. Delete this section. No way to enforce. Plastic is often used for therapeutic care of the horse. A chain that weighs more than 6 ounces is not illegal unless you show in it. It would be impossible to enforce a 6-ounce chain not being allowed on the show grounds.
Figure 8. Page 18. Having to turn the cone is sufficient. Delete making a figure 8.
Physical Exam. Page 18. When checking for the Scar Rule, does the horse have to be palpated or can it just be looked at?
Conflict Resolution. Page 18. These horses should be given the benefit of the doubt and be allowed to show. (All the scar rules tickets at the Celebration 2006 were found in favor of the horse, yet none of those horses had the opportunity to compete for that World Championship, nor were entry fees and expenses refunded.)
Loss of Function. Page 20, #4/Page 21, #12. A medical definition should be attached in order for this term to not be abused or misinterpreted.
Horses on Suspension. Page 21. Delete horses being placed on 3 months suspension for Bilateral Sore Violation and 8-month suspension or Pressure Showing Violation. (Horses will go on suspension of owners that are found guilty.)

Scar Rule: An agreement should be reached on how the scar rule is going to be interpreted before signing a plan.


Statistics and Facts

The NHSC has taken the suggestions of the Horse Protection Society and has established a Veterinarian Committee to establish and implement plans to improve our DQPs and that program. They have also established an Oversight/Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the NHSC Board to strengthen it.
In 2003, with all HIO’s statistics, only 51 percent of all horses had ANY type of violation. In 2004, that number dropped to 41 percent. This means that our horses were over 99 percent in compliance with every rule. And, this is with EVERY single horse that shows, being checked.

We are the only horse industry that 100 percent of all horses showing are inspected!

These are the newest figures:

2006 NHSC – 55,602 horses inspected; 983 violations (all types) = 1.74 percent
98.26 percent of horses at NHSC events were in complete compliance.
2007 NHSC to date – 2368 horses inspected; 37 violations = 1.56 percent
98.44 percent of horses at NHSC events to date are in complete compliance.

When you remove the conflict resolution horses that found in favor of the horse, this number will drop.