The “Licker Crowd”, headed up by Celebration Board/TWH media mogul David “Herr” Howard and PSHA(Performance Show Horse Association) Chair Terry Dotson have refused TWHBEA’s request for SHOW HIO(Celebration) to affiliate the four padded performance classes for the 2013 TWHBEA Futurity. The “Lickers” and WHTA (Walking Horse Trainers Association) are trying to keep padded TWH from being shown at the Futurity. In exchange for PSHA “recommending” SHOW HIO to affiliate the four classes, the “Lickers” demand TWHBEA go back on its May 2013 endorsement of HR 1518 (PAST) “Whitfield Amendment”.
The WHTA, which is part of PSHA, in March came up with a Herr Howard Celebration approved idea of penalizing any trainer member who shows at any horse shows not using SHOW HIO (backed by Celebration). SHOW HIO has refused to accept and enforce the “Mandatory Penalties” section of the federal regulations. SHOW HIO has sued USDA in Texas trying to reverse the “Mandatory Penalties” section of the federal regulations.
IF TWHBEA will do that, then the “Lickers” will “let” the classes be affiliated so the ordinary people who breed Tennessee Walking Horses can have their Trainers show their horse at the 2013 Futurity set for July 28, 2013.
Herr Howard’s Lickers are mad at TWHBEA because TWHBEA didn’t use SHOW HIO, but instead chose WHOA HIO which HAS accepted the USDA “Mandatory Penalties”. Herr’s Lickers are also mad at TWHBEA because it chose to have the Futurity at the Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, rather than at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville. Until the last two years, the Celebration festivities began with the Futurity being held at the Celebration’s Calsonic Arena the day before the official Celebration started.
The ruckus is about in May 2012, the TWHBEA Executive Committee endorsed the “Whitfield Amendment” because of the soring and abuse stigma associated with the “Big Lick” and the “Lickers”.
TWHBEA President Tracy Boyd said:
“We can’t hide any longer. It is clear to me that our past has finally caught up with us and the image currently conveyed by our performance horse is no longer accepted in 2013.” … “Sadly, we have no more friends outside our industry. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) no longer supports us. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) no longer supports us. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will not recognize our padded show horse. The American Horse Council, whom we’ve cultivated a close working relationship with for many years, has turned away from us, declining our annual sponsorship this year. The World Equestrian Games refused our sponsorship and returned it to us. The Kentucky After Christmas Sale had no performance horses this year. Last fall, the University of Tennessee featured a flat-shod horse rather than a padded show horse to perform at its annual homecoming football game.”… “I believe our modern-day padded show horses are cleaner than they’ve ever been. The problem is that nobody outside our industry believes it. And when you’ve lost the public you have lost it all”¦ and we have clearly lost the public.“
Since TWHBEA endorsed HR 1518, the “Lickers” have gone into a “state of denial” and refused to recognize the TWHBEA Executive Committee endorsing the HR 1518 – “Whitfield Amendment” which would remove the pads and chains.
The “Lickers” have attempted to “spin” things by saying the TWHBEA action was not official because the Board of Directors attempted to countermand the action of the Executive Committee. Under TWHBEA By-Laws, the vote of the Executive Committee is FINAL and the Board has no authority to overrule it.
TWHBEA is on record, whether the “Lickers” like it or not, that it supports the “Whitfield Amendment” which, if enacted, will remove the pads and chains.
To understand how things fit together:
The “Lickers” are the padded performance “Big Lick” folks.
Celebration (SHOW HIO) – David “Herr” Howard calls the shots.
Walking Horse Report – owned by David “Herr” Howard. Sells ads to Trainer’s customers
PSHA (Performance Show Horse Association) – this is pretty much the TWSHO bunch in new form.
TWSHO (Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization) – formed to fight USDA over Mandatory Penalties.
WHTA (Walking Horse Trainers Association) – sort of like a labor union. they train horses and customers.
TWHBEA (Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association) – a member driven organization which is the breed registry which is the face of the Tennessee Walking Horse to the world.
HPA (Horse Protection Act) – enacted in 1970 to stop soring and abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses
In June 2012, the USDA decided to get “serious” about soring and implemented the “Mandatory Penalties” which put teeth in eliminating trainers and owners who sore horses. It provided stair-stepped penalties which would eliminate trainers and owners over time if there were repeated HPA violations.
The “Lickers” considered this a threat to their way of doing business and decided to fight.
Jeffrey “Young Herr” Howard invited some rich folks to serve on TWSHO and they along with WHTA raised money to “fight” for the Big Lick.
In June 2012, the “Lickers” SHOW HIO (backed by Celebration) and TWSHO guy Mike McGartland sued the USDA in Texas federal court trying to stop the “Mandatory Penalties”. Federal District Judge Terry Means didn’t go along with the “Lickers” cries for immediate relief and denied their requests for a Temporary Restraining Order and an Injunction. Means offered an immediate Trial, but the “Lickers” didn’t want a “live” trial, so the case has involved a lot of lawyer briefs, and it is pending being decided.
Following the 2012 “Licker” lawsuit, Congressman Whitfield filed HPA Amendment to remove the pads and chains. The bill attracted about 60 co-sponsors and then expired when Congress session ended.
In 2013 Kentucky Congressman Whitfield filed HR 1518 (PAST – Prevent All Soring Tactics) and the Bill has a head of steam with about 130 co-sponors.
TWHBEA’s endorsement of Congressman Whitfield’s HR 1518 (PAST) act has put a big “fixing” on the Lickers.