Roy Exum: Senator ‘Just Like Lance’

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Robin Webb, a Democratic state senator from Kentucky, just became “the Lance Armstrong of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry”  after it was revealed two of her horses were ticketed with violations of the federal Horse Protection Act at a North Carolina horse show in October. There was evidence of scar-rule violations on both horses, which means the horses had been sored and, in the Walking Horse world, to sore is to cheat.

As unbelievable as it may appear, Senator Webb (D-Grayson) was even lauded as the 2012 Performance Horse Ambassador by the industry’s Breeders and Exhibitors group in December ,but now she has been shown to be “just like Lance” after two of her horses, Showstopper and Air Force One, were found in violation of the scarring rule and banned from competition last fall in Creedmoor, N.C.

In a scathing story that appeared 10 days ago in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Webb was portrayed as a typical “Big Lick queen” who still favors the scurilous padded hooves and action devices that the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and many other animal rights organizations want to ban.

Of course, Senator Webb denied everything at first, telling writer Janet Patton, “I don’t sore my horses.

I love my horses, and they love me.” But as she was interviewed, Webb called pending Congressional legislation to end soring as “extreme” and even defended the horrifying tape that showed Jackie McConnell, who is now a felon, beating and torturing horses.

Webb had the audacity to tell the newspaper the tape that has now been viewed by millions of horse advocates around the world “was taken out of context” and that Tennessee Walking Horses are “dangerous” animals. “You don’t know what happened five minutes before or five minutes after the tape was made. These are animals that are very dangerous. Every breed has training techniques that animal rights groups find offensive.”

And this woman was just chosen as the Performance Horse Ambassador of the Year? Sweet mother of pearl! Lance wouldn’t have said something that stupid to Oprah! Asked about the violations, Webb said “the scar rule is very subjective,” but her trainer, Donald Stamper of Richmond, hung up on the reporter rather than demonstrate his ignorance. But he was also ticketed for violating the Horse Protection Act.

Asked why she didn’t challenge the tickets, Senator Webb said she was unaware she had been ticketed and, as far as she knows, she has not been suspended. But the Lexington newspaper article left no doubt she is a proponent of the padded, or “performance,” horse and that her Ambassador award was for her work in the discussions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Webb, now a lawyer at age 52, worked as a coal miner until the age of 25 before obtaining her degrees. She claimed that the many groups calling for bans on the action devices were “agenda-driven entities” and heavily criticized the veterinary groups in particular that are trying to stop the sale of performance horses in Kentucky.

Needless to say, the Kentucky state senator has quite suddenly made a name for herself. Walking Horse blogs are now whirling across the country and proponents of a “sound” Tennessee Walker are livid. In an Op-ed piece that appeared in Tuesday’s editions of the Lexington newspaper. Pam Rogers of the Humane Society of Kentucky blasted the senator.

“Webb has taken the path most traveled by many in the Big Lick industry — deny, deny, deny. She has also made an appalling attempt to defend the actions of an admitted violator of the Horse Protection Act, Tennessee walking horse Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell.

“The real demons are trainers like McConnell, and he is not alone. There is no question that the cruel practice of soring is widespread in the Big Lick horse show industry. Unscrupulous trainers apply caustic chemicals to horses' ankle area, then ride them with chains on their ankles that hurt their sensitized skin with every step.

“’Stacks’ — like high-heeled horseshoes — are nailed to the horse's front hooves to add weight and height, and are frequently used to conceal objects and methods used to inflict pain to the soft tissue of a horse's hoof," she explained.

She added, “These practices force the horse to snatch his feet off the ground in an attempt to relieve the pain, creating the Big Lick that is rewarded by judges. Major veterinary groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, have called for a ban on these devices.

“Instead of defending horse abusers like McConnell, Webb should be working to protect horses by supporting stronger laws to crack down on such criminals. Soring has no place in Kentucky, the Horse Capital of the World and the heart of Tennessee walking horse country.

“A December 2012 Mason-Dixon poll indicates that the majority of voters support federal legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and state legislation making soring a felony offense.

“Soring also has no place at the Kentucky Horse Park, which Webb is lobbying to host a sale later this month that would showcase Big Lick Tennessee walking horses. Horse advocates are disturbed that this state-run park would provide a venue for a horse show discipline frequently associated with such extreme cruelty,” she also wrote.

Meanwhile, the movement to end cruelty to the Tennessee Walking Horse moved on unabated. Pending legislation will make it tougher and tougher and – in Tennessee – soring is now a felony punishable with up to five years in prison.

Somebody better tell Senator Robin Webb not to bring those horses she “loves” to Tennessee.

royexum@aol.com

Horse Soring
Horse Soring

Improperly Installed Fire Hydrant Causing Damage At N. Crest Road, Colyar Drive

Why Reduce Traffic Into Northgate To One Lane?

Roy Exum: Stupid Is As It Does


A fire hydrant that was installed just six weeks ago left an eight-foot-deep hole in the sidewalk. It is washing out under the street and larger limestone pillar and wall at the corner of North ... (click for more)

What brainiac traffic engineer decided it was a good idea to reduce traffic flow into Northgate from northbound Highway 153 to one lane? Must be affiliated with a front end alignment business. ... (click for more)

Governor Bill Lee, still in his first year as the leader of Tennessee, announced several days ago that he would award grants to state school districts that make civics classes, and other courses ... (click for more)


Opinion

Improperly Installed Fire Hydrant Causing Damage At N. Crest Road, Colyar Drive

A fire hydrant that was installed just six weeks ago left an eight-foot-deep hole in the sidewalk. It is washing out under the street and larger limestone pillar and wall at the corner of North Crest Road and Colyar Drive, Missionary Ridge. An 8' x 6' part of the sidewalk has already collapsed into the hole. It will all collapse if not repaired soon (very soon). There are already ... (click for more)

Why Reduce Traffic Into Northgate To One Lane?

What brainiac traffic engineer decided it was a good idea to reduce traffic flow into Northgate from northbound Highway 153 to one lane? Must be affiliated with a front end alignment business. Please respond and expand. Sam Lewallen, Jr. (click for more)

Breaking News

Erlanger Eliminates, Restructures Positions In Management Reorganization

As part of a management reorganization, Erlanger Health System officials announced the elimination and restructuring of 30 management positions, effective this month. In making the announcement, Erlanger President and CEO Will Jackson, M.D., said Monday’s management realignment effort at the Chattanooga-based health system will better position Erlanger to meet the changing landscape ... (click for more)

Commissioner Smedley Asks Meeting With Teachers Who Hit Commission Majority Against Wheel Tax Referendum

County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley said she would like an opportunity to address some 70 current and past county school teachers who signed a letter hitting her and four other commissioners who voted against a wheel tax referendum. She addressed an email to Kendra Young, a teacher at East Hamilton School, whose picture was shown on the Facebook page of the Hamilton County Democratic ... (click for more)

Sports

Vols Focused On South Carolina After Holding Alabama To Its Lowest Point Total

After a hard-fought battle in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the Vols held the top-ranked Crimson Tide to its lowest point total of the season in a 35-13 loss, Tennessee is looking forward to returning to Neyland Stadium to host a late afternoon matchup with South Carolina on Saturday at 4 p.m. (ET). "Neyland Stadium has been really an electric atmosphere this whole season," head ... (click for more)

Pat Benson: The NBA Is Back

The start of the NBA season is so close I can almost taste it. The harmonious squeaking of sneakers on the hardwood. The rapid thud of the dribble. The beautiful swishing sound the net makes after a perfect release. In the greatest sports movie ever made He Got Game , Ray Allen’s character said, “Basketball is like poetry in motion”. That poetry is exported all over the world. ... (click for more)