THETA, TN – The first thing you must understand:
“A compliant horse is a sore horse that made it through inspection.”
For three days last week, the USDA showed up in Shelbyville at the 46th Annual National Trainers Show with the idea of enforcing the Horse Protection Act, instead of just “regulating soring”.
They did the best job they could do understanding that the other side is an entrenched established order of institutionalized soring which has been going on for decades. The Celebration Chairman David L. Howard who owns The Walking Horse Report has made millions of dollars in ad revenues from the sore Big Lick. A couple of weeks ago, Celebration Board member Pat Marsh of Shelbyville lobbied against the PAST ACT on Capitol Hill. Marsh was quoted as saying, “People come to the show to see the fancy, high-stepping horses, and we need to keep the industry going strong. The way Walking Horse Trainers produce the “fancy high stepping horses” is to sore them.
The “Big Lick” falsely claims a 98.6% compliance rate. It was “manufactured” at the 2013 Celebration. To give you an example, on Friday, August 30, 2013, the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO inspectors inspected 138 Horses and found -0- HPA violations and did not disqualify any horses. The USDA spot checked behind them, approximately 75 horses, and found 11 HPA violations and disqualified 11 horses. On the same night, the Celebration inspectors were “0 for 138″³ , the USDA Vets 11 for 75. This is a 85% compliance rate – not 98.6%.
And at the National Trainers Show in Shelbyville two weeks ago, inspection figures show that the “compliance rate” was again nowhere near 98.6% that the sore Big Lick crowd tries to claim.
Again, it was about 85% which means about 2 of 10 horses inspected were sore.
Here’s how it went down:
The 2014 Trainers Show had 255 horses inspected.
The 2013 Trainers Show had 520 horses inspected.
TOTAL NUMBER 0F 2014 TRAINERS SHOW DISQUALIFICATIONS
10 S.H.O.W. HIO Disqualifications – 96% Compliance Rate
27 USDA Disqualifications
37 Total HPA Disqualifications – 85.5% Compliance Rate
255 Horses Inspected with 37 Disqualifications = 14.5% NOT “COMPLIANT”
“Compliance” = 85.50%, NOT 98.6%.
Then things get more interesting:
227 Horses Shown (Made It Into The Show Ring) Over Three Nights:
227 TOTAL Horses Shown
–42 Flat shod, Halter, Lead line, Model
185 Big Lick Horses Shown
Hypothetically, there were 37 disqualifications on 255 total horses inspected, then USDA data shows that based on its 2013 Inspections, 81%* of the Horses disqualified from showing were wearing pads and action devices. Applying that percentage to the Trainers Show, that would be 30 of the 37 violations at the Trainers Show were on Big Lick horses (padded and chains) and resulted in their being disqualified.
This would result in a 88.25% compliance rate – far, far from 98.6.
And despite all the inspecting, these two bad image horses are example of the numerous ones which got through. You can draw your own conclusion if they were “compliant but sore and got through inspection”.
The next test for the USDA is the Mississippi Charity Horse Show. There will be 96 classes from Thursday – Saturday. The Jackson Show has hired a former USDA inspector John Powe, DVM as Show Veterinarian. It will be interesting to see if he is as busy as Dr. Randy Baker was at the Trainers Show answering “emergency pages” to the inspection area.
The USDA can continue the trend set at the Trainers Show in Shelbyville or it can go back to business as usual.
All eyes will be on the USDA this weekend in Jackson.