Tennessee Walking Horse Is The Most Inspected Breed In The U.S. - And Response (2)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The summer solstice brought with it something more than the longest day of the year. It also ushered in a summer of Tennessee Walking Horse shows throughout the United States culminating with the National Celebration in August. In the interim, thousands of horses, trainers, owners and riders will compete for local honors. Most horse enthusiasts know that. Even some critics know that. What they don't know, or tend to ignore, are the following facts: 

Every Tennessee Walking Horse that competes at a sanctioned show is inspected;

That inspection takes place every time the horse enters the show ring regardless of how many class competitions they enter; 

Each and every winner of individual classes inspected again after the winner is announced; and

This is all done without any cost to the taxpayers of the United States, unlike some proposed legislation in Congress that would put the burden for inspections-and some $20 million in bureaucracy-under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is the only breed that does this. Not Thoroughbreds, not Standardbreds, not American Saddlebreds, not even the different breeds that will compete in disciplines at the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

As a result of our industry self-policing, we can boast a compliance rate of greater than 96 percent according to the USDA's own data and records. 

We are the only breed that does this. And yet that's not good enough for some people, including powerful Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield or his wife, Constance, who lobbies for the Humane Society of the United States, which is responsible for the edicts included in the so-called PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics).

The PAST Act sponsored by Whitfield, and a companion bill sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, which is home to only 94 Tennessee Walking Horses, would jeopardize 85 percent of the equine athletes that support more than 20,000 jobs and a $3.2 billion economy.

That's why the Performance Show Horse Association supports alternative pieces of legislation introduce by Marsha Blackburn in the House and Lamar Alexander in the Senate. Both would also aggressively go after owners or trainers that promote soring. But just as important, the language of the bills would create one Horse Inspection Organization to provide consistency in training and inspections for Designated Qualified Persons. But even more important than that is that objectivity would be introduced in the inspection process. Believe it or not, under today's subjective testing, even some USDA inspectors disagree on whether a violation has taken place.

In fact, in 2012 a nationally renowned independent veterinarian inspected 30 horses after they were turned down and found an error rate in his opinion of 70 percent. Those 21 horses were unjustifiably not allowed to show because of subjective inspections. The objective inspections put forth in Blackburn/Alexander would rectify this type of injustice.

PSHA and the entire Tennessee Walking Horse industry and its thousands of participants, stand solidly in opposition to soring as a competition practice, but the Whitfield/Ayotte bills go too far. Let's introduce a measure of rational discussion and objective testing to our industry. Otherwise, it's an industry that will vanish right before our eyes. 

Phil Osborne

* * *
Thanks to Phil Osborne for his article on the inspection process used for Tennessee Walking Horses.

I had almost quit buying your paper on my trips through your area - due to Roy Exum's untruthful reporting on this issue.  Phil Osborne has renewed my interest in your paper.

Thanks again,
Debby Myers
Rockwall, Tex.

* * *

What a disgrace that you published an opinion by Mr Osborne without noting next to his name that he is a paid ($17,000 per month from PSHA) public relations director.

Truth should be told. The "opinion" was just a paid advertisement for the Sore Big Lickers in Shelbyville and the propaganda from the owners association called "the Performance Show Horse Association."

Margaret Gordon

Proud Of Desjarlais

As a constituent of Congressman Scott Desjarlais, I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Exum. Mr. Exum insinuated him to be one of the worst representatives in Washington. However, those in Scott Dejarlais' district, of which Mr. Exum is not, calls him one of the best, if not the best in Washington. That is why he was re-elected.  Joey Blevins Conservative ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)

Darrel Jones, 43, Shot And Killed On Central Avenue

Darrel Jones, 43, was shot and killed on Central Avenue on Thursday afternoon. Chattanooga Police responded to the 3600 block of Central Avenue around 3 p.m. on a report of a shooting. They located a single victim, who  succumbed to his injuries on scene. Witnesses to the incident declined to cooperate with the investigation.  Investigators continue ... (click for more)

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

A home was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.  The Chattanooga Fire Department received a fire call at  3:48  a.m.  and responded to 1825 Dixon Street with four fire companies. The family inside the home was awakened by a passerby knocking at the door. All of them quickly made their way outside the home to safety.  Once firefighters ... (click for more)

Joseph Goetz Outruns Alan Outlaw For Turkey Trot Title

It wasn’t as cold as it’s been in years past, but the temperature and overall conditions for the 2015 running of the Turkey Trot 8K at the Sports Barn East were almost perfect. Another record crowd showed up for what has become a popular Thanksgiving Day tradition.   And has always been the case, there were a lot of people out there smiling and happy, demonstrating their ... (click for more)

Jones Thankful For Resiliency, Resolve Of 2015 Vols

The day before families gather around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, Tennessee football coach   spoke about what he and the Vols are thankful for. "It's a time to reflect and we have so much to be thankful and grateful for in really the resiliency and resolve that this football team has shown, the growing of this football team and the growing of this football program," ... (click for more)