GALLATIN, TNDonna Benefield, nationally recognized authority on enforcement of the Horse Protection Act,  Consultant to 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, World Grand Championship Owner, Exhibitor and Trainer, Expert Witness

Donna Benefield -  Nationally Recognized Equine Expert

Donna Benefield – Nationally Recognized Tennessee Walking Horse Expert

wrote the following letter to the TWHBEA Executive Committee

Donna Benefield –  TWHBEA MemberSeptember 24, 2013
TWHBEA  –  Attn: Executive Committee
P.O. Box 286
Lewisburg, TN 37091-0286

Re: Whitefield Amendment HR 1518/S.1406

Dear Elected Members of the Executive Committee:

First, I would like to commend our Vice-President of Horse Shows, Pat Stout for stepping up to poll the TWHBEA Membership in regard to the P.A.S.T. Act. Finally someone is allowing the general membership of TWHBEA to have a voice, and be counted, regarding the future of this breed.

Mrs. Stout’s willingness to utilize her own resources, and find a donor to help fund this poll, are true examples of putting the horse first, above herself. Secondly, I want to thank and commend Past President and Executive Director Tracy Boyd for leading the charge in unwavering form to support the P.A.S.T. Act in May. Tracy, you have proven to me you are a true leader, and please know you will be remembered for taking the largest step towards truly sound Tennessee Walking Horses that TWHBEA has ever made in its seventy-eight year history. I have waited over thirty years to see these events unfold.

Executive Committee members Denise Bader-Keyser, Linda Montgomery, Caroline Hoffman, Rick Weis, & Joyce Moyer should be honored, and recognized for their leadership, courage, and love of this horse, in having made tremendous sacrifices to stand up, stand strong, and vote to support the P.A.S.T. Act at the May meeting. In addition, I thank Mrs. Moyer for her exemplary display of strength and backbone in making the motion to support the P.A.S.T. Act. You are all heroes to thousands upon thousands of TWHBEA Members, sound horse advocates, veterinarians, and many others involved in the mainstream equine world. Having been in personal contact with many of the top professional equine organizations in the United States, I assure you, they recognize your bravery as well. You, as elected representatives, have set an example other directors should follow.

I would also like to commend and recognize Dr. Kasey Kesselring for stepping down from his position as International Director from Florida because of his pending federal H.P.A. violation case. This is an example of an honorable gentleman who recognizes the conflict of interest, and potential dishonor that could have soiled the name of our great association had he remained. Unfortunately, Vice-President of Training, Wayne Dean, and Member-At-Large of Bylaws, David Mullis, have refused to step down during their own pending U.S.D.A./H.P.A. federal cases. This is a classic example of why our breed has no credibility and has become an equine pariah around the globe. The disgrace these two individuals have brought upon TWHBEA, has tarnished the association and the breed’s name even further. As a longtime member of this association, and in the best interest of TWHBEA, and its future, I ask the Executive Committee, demand their immediate resignations.

Although I know little about our newly appointed President, Buster Black, I have been informed that he has a major concern with TWHBEA having a voice in the single most important issue that the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association has ever faced. It appears Mr. Black intends to remain a typical politician, and I have heard his “first rule of politics” is “never say what you are doing, and never do what you are saying.” I hope this does not prove to be true with the issue of H.R. 1518/S. 1406. If this is the case, he will be disallowing the membership their right to serve our horse, our association, and truly have a voice.

Mr. Black, please allow the membership to have their say.

I speak with personal knowledge that this breed has had numerous opportunities over many years to reform. For decades this breed has wanted to regulate soring rather than eradicate it. Unfortunately, it has become a reality that reform is not in the make-up of many people fighting this issue of abuse.

When many other organizations including your own lobbying firm, the American Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association (the largest veterinary medical organization in the world), the American Association of Equine Practitioners (the very organization the sore side has liberally utilized the name of in the past), the United States Equestrian Federation (previously the American Horse Show Association), and most of the other equine breed organizations in the United States recognize the plague upon this breed, and endorse the Whitfield Amendment, it is time TWHBEA lead the charge in its own fate.

Donna Benefield

Benefield reported that President Loyd “Buster” Black appeared to be against the TWHBEA the idea of the members express themselves in the Poll that Stout has initiated.  She called on him to not attempt to deny the members from having their say on  “the single most important issue that the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association has ever faced.

Benefield called on the Executive Committee to demand the resignations of  Vice-President of Training, Wayne Dean, and Member-At-Large of Bylaws, David Mullis, for refusing to step down during their own pending U.S.D.A./H.P.A. federal cases which has brought “disgrace” to TWHBEA and “tarnished the breed’s name.

Donna Benefield appeared and spoke to the December 2012 Annual Members/Directors Meeting at which time she inveighed against electing persons to serve in official positions at TWHBEA who have Horse Protection Violation Histories.


On July 25, 2013, Donna Benefield along with AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven, FOSH President Teresa Bippen, and Gaited Horse Clinician Gary Lane met for an hour with U. S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss a wide range of matters including the USDA’s enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, and other serious TWH related issues.

On July 29, 2013, United States Judge Terry Means ruled against the “Big Lick” interests in finding in favor of the USDA and the federal regulations to the HPA known as the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties”.

On August 19, 2013, Herr David L. Howard, Consigliere John T. Bobo and Celebration CEO Mike Inman travelled to Washington, DC to surrender to the United States.

On September 20, 2013, Pat Stout, VP-Horse Shows (TWHBEA) mailed 6,956 post cards polling the TWHBEA membership, “YES” or “NO” on the question of where they stood on the passage of HR 1518/S.1406.



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