SHELBYVILLE, TN – It would probably never occur to Knoxville Channel Six Television Reporter Jill McNeal that the guys representing the institution of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration or the Walking Horse Trainers Association would sit before her and tell her such a “sincere” version of their side of the story while possessing such a sordid history of Horse Protection Act Citations.
But it happened.
Ms McNeal probably thought that surely, the Celebration, one of Tennessee’s treasured institutions, would never hire a person as its CEO who had a record of HPA citations. Or that a group under fire like the Walking Horse Trainers Association with Hall of Fame member Jackie McConnell on ABC Nightline or former Ethics Chairman Larry Joe Wheelon being charged in Maryville, Tennessee with animal cruelty, would ever authorize a trainer with 18 HPA citations to be a Spokesperson.
But, yes, they did.
CELEBRATION CEO MIKE INMAN
Here is MIke Inman’s HPA Citation history:
Inman went into his famous Baghdad Bob mode and cut loose with some good ones:
CELEBRATION CEO MIKE INMAN’S COMMENTS
- “But taking away those weighted shoes would wipe-out most of the walking horse industry”, says Celebration CEO Mike Inman.
The truth is there were only 569 Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horses at the 2013 Celebration, and there are approximately 200,500 Tennessee Walking Horses according to a USDA report.
At the 2013 Celebration, there were 569 Big Lick Horses. (503 BL, 17 harness, show pleasure).
The Big Lick is a rich man’s game the time of which has come and gone. 2014 society will no longer accept or tolerate the soring integral to it.
That would be “2/10th of 1%” if you eliminated the Big Lick horse. And those horses, when you remove the pads and chains, could be used for other purpose, none of them involving institutionalized soring.
Such as this former Big Lick mare exhibited at the 2012 University of Tennessee Homecoming football game:
- “We think this is a history and a tradition and certainly a horse that’s worth fighting for,” Inman said.
The entire country is lined up against the sore Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse. The Tennessee Walking Horse breed is being fought for by these people – not folks like Mike Inman who have Horse Protection Act citations. Mike Inman is paid to fight for the Big Lick horse which is created by soring.
Tennesseans like Donna Benefield, John C. Haffner, DVM at MTSU and W. W. “Bill” Harlin have all endorsed the PAST ACT to remove the pads and chains to eliminate the soring.
- Inman says the industry is against soring and supports an alternate bill that will be filed soon. It would allow the weighted shoes, but sharpen the inspection process to catch soring.
Inman and his crowd have been spouting this propaganda since 1969.
- “Our bill will ask to go to a strict, scientific-based objective testing method, such things as blood tests and swabbing,” Inman said.
The Celebration/Trainers spent $300,000.00 on a much bally hooed swabbing initiative in 2012, and it was an abject failure. The Trainers played games with the results, and the public was falsely informed that all horses shown were being tested, when it was two for each class.
WHTA – WINKY GROOVER WINS THE “PILED HIGHER AND DEEPER” AWARD
“Winky Groover operates some of the biggest stables in Shelbyville and has been training walking horses for 40 years.
- “A really good Tennessee walking horse, he likes what he does and it’s easy for him to do it,” Groover said. “He is a true athlete.”
If a really good one likes all that, why does it take pain to create the Big Lick.
- “Groover is also against the PAST Act and for a more objective form of inspection. He’s faced multiple soring violations over his career. All but the very first one, he says, were false.”
With 18 HPA citations, Winky Groover would give Pinocchio a run for his money.
- “With a subjective test, what that tells you is that horse moved it’s feet when somebody mashed on them,” Groover said. “It doesn’t tell you he was sore.”
- As for that first violation, “It was more young and dumb and somebody said try this, it’ll work,” Groover said. “I never found that it really worked that much.”
- Over the decades, Groover says he learned the key to a champion Tennessee walking horse is natural talent combined with gradual training, and that soring isn’t necessary, but the weighted shoes the HSUS wants outlawed are.”
For the record, the same Winky Groover who said the all of the above also owns all of the below:
WINKY GROOVER HPA CITATION VIOLATIONS RECORD ““ 18 OFFENSES
|Winky||Groover||1803 Hwy 64 W||Shelbyville||TN||TN130147-AC||Ritz’s Doctor||7060||7/26/2012||########||19th Annual Dickson County Saddle & Bridle Club Horse Show||Foreign Substance||Sulfur|
|Winky||Groover||not listed||not listed||not listed||TN130394-AC||Sweet Swing||7060||8/27/2011||8/20/2013||73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration||Foreign Substance||Isopropyl myristate and cholesterol|
|Winky||Groover||not listed||not listed||not listed||TN130282-AC||Off Duty||7060||8/30/2012||4/24/2013||74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration||Foreign Substance||Cholesterol|
|Horse or Person on Suspension||First Name||Middle Initial||Last Name||Title||City||State||Zip Code||Horse Name||Horse Registry||Type of Finding||Second Finding||Detail Other Type of Finding||Suspension Start Date||Suspension End Date||Fine Amount||HIO||USDA Present?||Notes|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||Unilateral Sore||01/07/2009||02/05/2009||NHSC||conflict case|
|Winky||Groover||Shelbyville||TN||Unilateral Sore||00/00/0000||06/08/2002||NHSC||Probation Ends|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||Scar Rule||07/08/2002||07/21/2002||NHSC|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||My Private Label||Scar Rule||05/25/2009||06/07/2009||SHOW|
|Winky||Groover||Trainer||Shelbyville||TN||Command & Control||Other, Define In Next Field||ticket # 28616||08/05/2010||08/05/2010||SHOW|
|Winky||Groover||Train/Exhi||Bell Buckle||TN||Sweet Swing||Scar Rule||ticket 29629||08/24/2011||09/03/2011||SHOW|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||Unilateral Sore||Foreign Substance||04/22/2002||05/05/2002||NHSC|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||Unilateral Sore||03/10/2004||03/23/2004||NHSC|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||Scar Rule||2nd Finding||12/16/2002||02/15/2003||NHSC|
|Winky||Groover||Bell Buckle||TN||37020||Scar Rule||2nd||08/01/2002||09/30/2002||NHSC|
|Winky||Groover||Shelbyville||TN||10 Karat Dumas||Scar Rule||10/26/2003||11/08/2003|
There are 264 U. S. Representatives and 44 U. S. Senators that sponsor the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to remove the pads and chains.
Just like the Big Lick folks kept the earnest television reporter in the dark while they were holding themselves out to be the bedrock of integrity once again making promises they have no intention whatsoever of keeping.
The Tennesseean newspaper, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Knoxville News Sentinel, the Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga televisions and other media outlets need to all look into this issue in depth. They need talk to Tennesseans who can tell them the truth about the sore Big Lick.
SOUND HORSE ADVOCATE – DONNA BENEFIELD
TESTIFYING FOR THE PAST ACT BEFORE THE U.S. CONGRESS
As Donna Benefield said, “Their time is up.”