More on the walking horse industry by Roy

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More on the walking horse industry by Roy

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    07-02-2012, 03:40 PM
Green Broke
More on the walking horse industry by Roy

Roy Exum: What Happened To Horse Sense? - 06/30/2012 -

Roy Exum: What Happened To Horse Sense?

Saturday, June 30, 2012 - by Roy Exum

Roy Exum

A smoke-and-mirrors show that is being touted as “The Tennessee Walking Horses of Today Equine Conference” is being held this weekend in Murfreesboro and the most noticeable absence at the Embassy Suites Convention center will be what is commonly called “horse sense.” Everybody there is praying it will be one of the most glorious celebrations of the embattled Tennessee Walking Horse industry ever – Lord knows it needs it – but until the estimated 500,000 owners of registered Tennessee Walkers join hearts with the half-million YouTube viewers who have now watched the sadistic undercover tape of sheer depravity obtained by the Humane Society, the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, as we know it, is crying harder than the whimpering horse that you saw get whipped with that electric cattle prod.
What’s that you say? Just Tuesday Frank Eichler wrote an impassioned opinion piece in the Nashville Tennessee begging for public understanding. It touted a new group – the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization – and Frank promised “all four performance-horse industries have expressed an initial willingness to support the protocol” to end soring and abuse.
Please, I’ve never seen a stall that needed to be cleaned out any worse in my life. For starters, TWSHO was just founded last month and – already – a husband of one of the initial seven board members has filed a suit against the Humane Department of the United States. Talk about quick thinking? And – get this – six of the first seven hand-picked plums now on the new TWSHO podium have been “ticketed” in the past for violations of the federal Horse Protection Act.
That’s not funny, not to the 98 percent of good and wonderful and honest Walking Horse owners who are about to founder on the chronic misdeeds and stumbling antics that now have the Walking Horse reputation too smelly for a barn pitchfork. As Chicken Little would yell, “The sky is falling” because, brother, there’s a bigger mess every day. In Memphis this week the organizers of the prestigious Germantown Charity Show are trying to eliminate Tennessee Walking Horse – the whole breed – after over 40 years of competition. It was learned 27 of 38 exhibitors (or their families) had violated the federal Horse Protection Act but competed last month and some of the horses made spectators want to cry. It was so bad do you know what they call the petition? “No more crippled horses for crippled kids.” That makes me want to weep, too.
Nobody is saying just who exactly picked the new TWSHO board members but they – and their trainers -- can easily be traced on USDA websites or They are Proctor Dean of North Carolina, Terry Dodson of Tennessee, Frank Eichler of Tennessee, Nancy Groover (Winky’s mother) from Texas, Bruce MacDonald of Georgia, Mrs. Lee McGartland of Texas, and Duke Thorson (of NASCAR truck fame) in Ohio.The truth is everybody knows who picked the newest board because the same fingers picked the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, in sponsorship with The Walking Horse Report. Are you kidding me?
You can compare the intertwining and overlapping to either cancer or the Rotary Club but, in fairness, about four or five slick guys in Shelbyville control the whole shebang. Soring horses, making the front hooves take the “Big Step,” has been going on for 50 years and sheer “horse sense” will tell you the organization’s top leadership has finally “looked the other way” too long.
New USDA rules, three huge veterinarian groups, state and federal legislators and – worst of all – “we, the people” – are actively descending on what insiders call “the Shelbyville country club” like the fruit flies on sweet feed. Four industry villains have already pleaded guilty to federal charges and will be sentenced on Sept. 10 and federal investigators are, it is safe to say, still quite active.
The most famous rogue, the notorious Jackie McConnell, has 14 counts of state charges pending and, curiously, his trial in Sessions Court in Fayette County (Somerville) has just been moved back to Sept. 25. By already pleading guilty in Federal Court, those proceedings will be interesting, especially since animal abuse and soring become a felony instead of a misdemeanor in Tennessee this Sunday.
Kathy Zeis, who is the secretary/treasurer of the Foundation for the Advancement and Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse, will be something of a celebrity at this weekend’s gala in Murfreesboro after she petitioned the Breeder’s and Exhibitors board to kick off Keith Dane, the head of equine protection of the Humane Society when the famous abuse tape when platinum.
Kathy, of course, withdrew her petition when TWHBEA president Marty Irby identified her and said she was betrayed. But she told the Murfreesboro newspaper this weekend wouldn’t include any discord. “This is about getting to know our people, our trainers, our owners. This is a multi-industry conference,” she said.
Yeah, just one little tea party after another but to the half-million who own Tennessee Walking Horses and the other half million who are now infuriated by the proof that McConnell’s sadistic act was hardly an isolated one, how does it smell that six of seven new TWSHO board members have allegedly violated the federal Horse Protection Act or that Lee McGartland’s husband, Mike, is already taking the U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture to court?
Please, lighter on the peanuts and heavier on the horse sense.
SueNH and Elizabeth Bowers like this.
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    07-03-2012, 08:50 PM
Keep up the pressure!
    07-29-2012, 10:22 AM
Green Broke
Roy is keeping up the pressure.

Here's his latest article.

Roy Exum: Horse Abuse? Just Dial 911 - 07/28/2012 -

Roy Exum: Horse Abuse? Just Dial 911

Saturday, July 28, 2012 - by Roy Exum
With all due respect to the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors who attend horse shows in Tennessee and those from the Humane Society of the U.S., the “Long Arm of the Law” is who those who continue to sadistically abuse and torture Tennessee Walking Horses better worry about all the way from Memphis to Johnson City.
On the first day of this month, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that makes the abuse of livestock – including all horses – a Class E felony. Jim Hammond, who is the sheriff of Hamilton County (where Chattanooga is located), left no room for doubt this week when he said if his office got word that a felony crime has been committed, he would “definitely respond and, if we found reason, we would immediately arrest the people responsible and take them to jail for booking.”
“We take felony crimes very seriously,” the sheriff said. “In a case of animal abuse, we would probably ask an Animal Control Officer, like somebody from our McKamey Animal Center or even a veterinarian, to help in an investigation but, if there was cause, we would definitely arrest and transport those responsible to the county jail right then.”
Here’s the rub: Last Monday the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization issued a news release that three men had been suspended after “swabbing” tests taken at a recent horse show proved positive. One man, Knox Blackburn, was cited twice and suspended for a total of four weeks while two others, Brad Beard and Marvin North, were each cited once and suspended for two weeks.
While some believe a two-week suspension is akin to a Florida vacation, had a scientific analysis shown that a positive swab for a caustic substance was found on the foreleg of a show horse in Chattanooga, there is a sheriff who says he’ll take anyone who abuses a horse to jail. As far as the two week suspension is concerned, that won’t be a problem – every Class E felony conviction results in an average of 1.2 years in state prison according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
Are you with me here? I asked Sheriff Hammond if he felt other sheriffs in Tennessee counties would take the same stance. He responded, “Frankly, they don’t have a choice. They have an obligation to uphold our laws. I know there is a strong walking horse presence in parts of Middle Tennessee but if a sheriff knows a felony crime is being committed, I think any of them would promptly respond to it.”
Whoo-whee! Had the felony law been in effect last year when the villainous Jackie McConnell abused the horses in the tape that has now been shown worldwide, the first graders who watched it would have been able to tell you what would happen! Federal laws against livestock abuse are woefully thin, but today in Tennessee, where violations of the federal Horse Protection Act are most rampant, the state’s sheriffs have a legal obligation to come down hard on suspected felons.
Worse, a sheriff doesn’t have to wait for a horse show. Any person in the state can report animal cruelty at any time and now the possibilities of catching the rogues are endless. When a sheriff’s deputy gets word some deranged horse trainer has slathered inhumane caustic substances on a horse’s legs and wrapped them with Saran wrap, the lawmen ain’t exactly going to call for an appointment at the rogue’s barn.
At the Dickson County Horse Show this weekend it has been learned that a USDA inspector found one horse with bilateral foot sores and issued two citations. You can’t help but wonder if Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe even knew about it and, if he did, what he would have done with the evidence and an Animal Control Officer already present.
Further, what is going to happen at the National Celebration in Shelbyville next month if a sored horse is discovered? Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce, as well as his deputies, have a legal obligation to arrest and book any persons – regardless where they are from – who appear to have committed a felony. Don’t worry about the trainer’s association levying any two-week tickets – animal abuse will be handled properly and succinctly by the state’s justice system.
In Germantown, where there is a new petition at one charity show to ban “crippled horses for crippled kids,” Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham can handle the problem quite easily, and in Collierville, where Jackie McConnell did his dirty work and is awaiting a Sept. 10 sentencing in a Chattanooga Federal court, Sheriff Oldham still has jurisdiction to seek out felons.
Don’t you see how delicious this is? What’s to keep a nauseated U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector from whipping out his cell phone and dialing 911? What happens if a barn worker can no longer watch as his boss puts an electric cattle prod on a Walking Horse’s lips? My gracious, a man wouldn’t rob bank if his boss told him to do it but a trainer will darn near kill a horse if the greedy owner demands it. All any of us need to do is dial 911, tell them there is a felony crime being committed, then stand back and watch.
If a trainer who does not abuse horses knows there is a cheater in a nearby barn and sees proof, doesn’t it stand to reason that the entire horse world would be a lot better if such a criminal were no longer in the game? My goodness, on the USDA website right now, there are five pages of names of those who have violated the Horse Protection Act and are now suspended, including some deranged Tennesseans.
I think it is inherent for everyone in Tennessee to help our county sheriffs finally bring an end to a sick practice after 50 years of nothing but talk. One of our most beautiful animals, the Tennessee Walker, is defenseless to protect itself and – in just the last six months – the breed and everyone who loves it has been defiled by a despicable group of those who will still torture a horse for monetary gain.
Let’s stop Tennessee’s alarming Walking Horse sickness. Just dial 911.
HagonNag and Elizabeth Bowers like this.
    07-29-2012, 10:49 AM
In addition to the Statutes making cruelty a crime we find this:

§ 39-14-209. Horse shows; reports

(a) It is the duty of any person designated and acting as a ringmaster of any horse show or similar event to disqualify any horse determined by the ringmaster to be suffering from the causes set out in § 39-14-202(a)(5) from further participation in such show, and to make a report of the same, including the name of the horse, the owner of the horse, and the exhibitor of the horse, to the manager or chair of the show, who in turn shall report the same in writing to the district attorney general of the judicial district wherein the incident occurred for appropriate action.

(b) A violation of this duty is a Class C misdemeanor.

1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 1.

I don't have access to a full law library, but I'm unaware of any prosecution under this statute.

There is some problem in terminology. I don't know of too many shows that designate "ringmasters." If I were to suggest a revision it would be modified to place the burden of disqualification on the Ring Steward or Judge, whou would report same to the Show Manager, and the Show Manager having the duty to notify the district attorney general. Further, I would require that a report of a disqualification by the DQP also be sent formally to the Show Manager, who would then report same to the district attorney general.

A Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of a $50 fine, court costs, and 30 days in the county jail.

Elizabeth Bowers likes this.
    07-29-2012, 11:23 AM
Green Broke
Anyone that registers or transfers registration of a TWH with the TWHBEA, is guilty by association and contributing to the problem.
Cintillate likes this.
    07-29-2012, 01:35 PM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
Anyone that registers or transfers registration of a TWH with the TWHBEA, is guilty by association and contributing to the problem.
I wouldn't go that far Joe. There are a lot of backyard TWH owners who registered their horses because that's what you do when you buy a horse. They don't go to shows and have no idea what kind of practices go on in the show world. Are they helping support the industry? A bit but the person who buys a horse every once in a while isn't exactly contributing a lot.

You also can't charge guilt by association for a practice most are not aware of. Do you know over here on the west coast there hasn't been one mention of Roy Exum and his articles? The video of the walker being abused has not been shown on the news either. Matter of fact, about the only horse event ever mentioned on the news around here is a couple of well known rodeos (Pendleton roundup and St. Paul rodeo) that are generally covered on opening day only. The only people who know of the problems where I live are the ones who actually follow what's going on in the horse world and there isn't that many of us.
arrowsaway likes this.
    07-29-2012, 02:04 PM
Green Broke
I would go that far. Every single one of the officers and directors of that organization has been cited at one time or the other for horse abuse. Stop giving them money, shut the organization down.
    07-29-2012, 02:18 PM
I don't disagree with you that they are rotten to the core and need to be shut down. Then all the directors, officers, etc need to be tossed in jail so they can't be part of the new organization that takes over. I just can't and wont blame members who don't participate in showing and have no clue what goes on. I do blame our media for not pounding the war drums on this. If they did public outcry would put a stop to soring right now.
    07-29-2012, 05:28 PM
Originally Posted by Darrin    
I don't disagree with you that they are rotten to the core and need to be shut down. Then all the directors, officers, etc need to be tossed in jail so they can't be part of the new organization that takes over. I just can't and wont blame members who don't participate in showing and have no clue what goes on. I do blame our media for not pounding the war drums on this. If they did public outcry would put a stop to soring right now.
It's not a question of "blame." It's a question of cause and effect. When ever you pay a reg. Fee you enable the ongoing problem. I don't hold you morally or ethically responsible; but you do fund the the process and its continuation.

This puts you on the horns of a dilemma, which is unfortunate.

    07-29-2012, 07:02 PM
Green Broke
The celebration is only a month away.....still not sure if I'm going or not.

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