Roy Exum: Horse Owners Connect The Dots

Friday, May 25, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There are approximately 500,000 registered Tennessee Walking Horses in the United States that are just like the sleek animals that a scurrilous trainer in Collierville, Tn., was shown abusing and torturing in a revolting Humane Society video last week. The great majority of these horses are gentle, majestic and gorgeous. What’s more, they are owned, trained and loved by people who, ironically, are a whole like the horses that they laughingly claim “own” them. The overwhelming majority of owners, trainers and riders wouldn’t harm an animal for all the money in the world. Sadly, Jackie McConnell, who now is awaiting sentencing in Federal Court in Chattanooga after pleading guilty on Tuesday to horse abuse charges, has shown he will do darn near anything for money.

McConnell has a filthy 30-year history of soring animals and much worse.

His latest atrocities, coming after he has been a known scofflaw for three decades, have viciously branded the entire walking horse industry and it is paramount for the unlearned public to know his actions are, in fact, a poor and misleading view of a now-staggered horse industry.

As I have delved into the walking horse industry this week, since learning “Jackie the Jerk” was coming to Chattanooga for trial, literally hundreds of what I believe are decent and concerned people have written me. Their emails are unanimous in their cry for help, begging for more information to be brought forward that will hopefully educate politicians to stiffen both state and federal laws that will put those who abuse animals in jail.

On Thursday I got email from 23 different states where those who love Tennessee Walking Horses are more determined than ever to clean up soring and related misconduct that has historically been seen anytime big money gets involved with animals. Many who own and ride “walkers” are beginning to connect-the-dots and one from Kentucky even wrote, “You want to know who are the biggest cheaters? Follow the money!” As a result, more and more fingers are being pointed at the walking horse elite who have turned a blind eye to the fact that there are 127 trainers and owners who are currently suspended for violating the federal Horse Protection Act and who have allowed Jackie McConnell – and other men like him – to have virtual free rein in walking-horse circles for four decades.

Seriously, the Celebration camp made a big show out of banning McConnell for life and booting him from the Hall of Fame after he pleaded guilty in Chattanooga, but – please -- for 30 years he and others have piled up violations of the Horse Protection Act like meaningless candy wrappers and the industry has – admittedly -- done very little to police its scallywags.

A quick review of two big shows, including one this weekend in Shelbyville, showed that every judge involved has had what is called “a ticket,” or received a violation notice from USDA, and a closer look at those who control the walking-horse hierarchy is even more unnerving. As one federal prosecutor quipped, “It looks like the foxes are guarding the hen house!”

While this is not to accuse a single soul or cast aspersion on any official, let’s take a look at several of the industry’s board of directors in an effort to show you why today there is some question regarding the leadership in the clearly-tainted walking horse industry – this based on information gleaned from two Horse Protection Act websites:

WALKING HORSE TRAINER’S ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Jamie Hankins, Paris, Ky.  – 1 Violation1st Vice President Mickey McCormick, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 12 Violations

2nd Vice President David Landrum, Fraklin, Tenn. – 4 Violations

Directors:

Jamie Bradshaw, Franklin, Tenn.  – 2 Violations

Wayne Dean, Lewisburg, Tenn. – 5 Violations

Philip Trimble, Pulaski, Tenn. -- 3 Violations

Dale Watts, Summit, Miss.  – 5 Violations

Billy Gray, Shelbyville, Tenn.  – 10 Violations

Brock Tillman, Shelbyville, Tenn.  – 4 Violations

Link Webb, Lewisburg, Tenn.  – 6 Violations

Larry Wheelon, Maryville, Tenn. – 12 Violations

Derek B. Bonner, Mooreboro, N.C. – 5 Violations

John Allen Callaway III, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 5 Violations

Bill Cantrell, Phenix, City, Ala. (Ex-Officio)  – 2 Violations

Total– 76 Violations

* * *

WALKING HORSE OWNER’S ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Vice President Tam Brogdon, Panama City, Fla. – 1 Violation

Treasurer Richard Greer, Lenoir, N.C. – 2 Violations

Jean Baum, Ixonia, Wisc. – 1 Violation

Betty Denton, Estill Springs, Tenn.  – 2 Violations

Sally Fleck, Shelbyville, Tenn. -- 5 Violations

Darden Gladney, Homer, La. – 3 Violations

Don Hancock, Princeton, Ky. – 10 Violations

Phyllis Langley, Sandpoint, Idaho – 3 Violations

Peggy Moore, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 1 Violation

Andy Rippy, Greenbrier, Tenn. – 1 ViolationIris Schuman, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 1 Violation

Beth Sims, Bell Buckle, Tenn. – 2 Violations

Gail Walling, Wartrace, Tenn. – 1 Violation

Total– 33 Violations

* * *

TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE BREEDERS & EXIBITORS ASSOCIATION

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Marty Irby, Murfreesboro, Tenn.  – 1 Violation

Sr. Vice President Margo Urad, Rockwall, Texas – 1 Violation

Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery, Hurtsboro, Ala. – 1 Violation

Training Vice President Wayne Dean, Lewisburg, Tenn. – 5 Violations

Secretary Alie Napier, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 1 Violation

At-Large Directors:Curtis Rosemann, Cave Creek, Ariz. – 2 Violations

David Mullins, Good Hope, Ga. – 1 Violations

Sam Sorrell, Lexington, Ky. – 1 ViolationsRobert Stannard, Lebanon, Ky. – 1 Violation

Ronnie Vincent, Lexington, Ky. – 2 Violations

Darden Gladney, Homer, La. – 3 Violations

Tom Kakassy, Gastonia, N.C. – 4 Violations

Ronald Mosley, Mt. Airy, N.C. – 7 Violations

Sally Fleck, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 5 Violations

Ty Irby, Shelbyville, Tenn. – 6 Violations

Nancy Groover, Longview, Texas  – 2 Violations

Ann King, Kaufman, Texas – 2 Violations

Sandra Hankins, Tazewell, Va. – 3 Violations

Total: 48 Violations

* * *

The Top 20 Trainers in the Rider Cup program have 164 Horse Protection Act violations in the past two years.

The SHOW (organization) has 140 certified judges who have a combined 312 HPA violations.

The PRIDE (organization) has 100 certified judges who have a combined 182 HPA violations.

* * *

Once again, how about them apples?

royexum@aol.com


Roy Exum: Lucado: Want A Partner?

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Does Only One Political Party Care For Us?


This may be a bit personal but I’m not going to apologize. Some of my best buddies are “going through the fire” right now and, while I dare not give examples or share names, this gives me the ... (click for more)

Hooray for The Saturday Funnies! Before we begin with some wonderful one-liners from some of history’s greatest people, let me remind you we don’t write the Funnies. Instead they are gleaned ... (click for more)

There is a great deal of discussion dismissing the death toll of COVID-19. The number varies and is now close to 700,000. Pandemics historically have done considerable damage to the world population, ... (click for more)



Opinion

Roy Exum: Lucado: Want A Partner?

This may be a bit personal but I’m not going to apologize. Some of my best buddies are “going through the fire” right now and, while I dare not give examples or share names, this gives me the avenue to forward this column along. “Hey, here’s a piece I wrote for Sunday that you might enjoy.” I do that every now and again, when I write something I think is funny or when I write something ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Hooray for The Saturday Funnies! Before we begin with some wonderful one-liners from some of history’s greatest people, let me remind you we don’t write the Funnies. Instead they are gleaned from the emails we gather from those that are sent to us each week. If you have a great funny, please send it to royexum@aol.com and we’ll share it. * * * GREAT ONE-LINERS FROM THE WORLD’S ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Game Ends In Chaos As Kiffin Returns To Knoxville And Narrowly Wins

The long-awaited return of Lane Kiffin to Neyland Stadium ended in chaos as many in the crowd of over 102,000 tossed hundreds of bottles and other debris onto the field, causing a 25-minute delay and injuring some fans who were hit in the head by flying objects. Tennessee still had a chance at a comeback in the final 54 seconds, but two final efforts to get into the end zone ... (click for more)

Injured Motorcyclist Rescued On Lookout Mountain Saturday Evening

An injured motorcyclist was rescued Saturday evening on Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga Fire Department Squad 20, Squad 13, And Battalion 1 Chief (Red) assisted in rescuing the driver from an embankment. (click for more)

Sports

Tennessee Comeback Falls Short As Kiffin's Ole Miss Rebels Prevail, 31-26

Heisman candidate Matt Corral completed 21 of 38 passes for 231 yards and threw two touchdown passes, but the story of the night is what he did with his legs. Corral had a career-high 195 yards on the ground as Ole Miss silenced a hostile Tennessee crowd and left town with a wild 31-26 victory over the Volunteers. In total, Corral made up 426 of 510 total yards for the Rebels. ... (click for more)

Maxwell Leads Defense As Mocs Prevail, 21-16

Devonnsha Maxwell lined up shaded just outside the right tackle’s shoulder. He blasted out of his stance and knocked the Buccaneer blocker backward. Maxwell bent around the edge, lunged toward ETSU quarterback Tyler Riddell, and brought him to the ground for one of his three and a half drive-killing fourth quarter sacks. Maxwell’s school-record 4.5 sacks on the day was a UT-Chattanooga ... (click for more)