THETA, TN – There are rumblings that The Tennessean may finally be about to cover the Tennessee Walking Horse story in some depth.
Here is an article written today by the Politics and Government Editor Scott Stroud.
Stroud is apparently being given bogus information about the impact that the elimination of the pads and chains would have on the Tennessee economy. He isn’t being told how much it is costing Tennessee to be known as a “Horse Abuse State”.
And Stroud entirely misses the story angle on the impetus of why U. S. Senator Lamar #OUTOFTOUCHALEXANDER is trying to stop the PAST ACT which would stop the soring of Tennessee Walking Hores. #PASSTHEPASTACT
And like other Tennessean writers, Scott doesn’t seem to understand the anatomy of horses.
Scott refers to “ankle chains”.
Scott, horses do not have ankles.
They have front feet.
The chains are put on the horse’s front feet.
Scott refers to “tall horseshoes”.
Scott there are no such things as “Tall Horseshoes”.
There are “Stacks” or “Packages” weighing 10 – 15 lb per foot which are nailed on the hoof on the horse’s front foot. The shoe is the metal on the bottom of the “Stack” or “Package”. If you notice, the 10-15 lb contraption is secured the Horse’s Hoof by a metal band which can be tightened with a screwdriver. If that foot/hoof breaks off, the horse can die. It is a horrific crippling injury. And it happens a lot.
Senate, House walking horse soring bills have a chance
Tennessee Walking Horses aren’t especially rare, but you don’t see them too often in New Hampshire.
That might explain why the effort to regulate horse soring more vigorously suddenly has a fighting chance.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, pushed a bill on soring “” the practice of inducing the high-stepping “big lick” by pouring caustic chemicals on horses’ hooves or putting painful devices there “” through the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation earlier this month.
Her bill bears an uncanny resemblance to legislation offered in the House by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. Both are much more aggressive about inserting the federal government into regulating the Tennessee Walking Horse business than the counterproposal offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood.
But here’s the news that jumped off the page the day Ayotte’s bill moved forward: She says her bill had 50 Senate co-sponsors, while Whitfield’s has 268 in the House.
Those are big numbers. And that’s a serious threat to the folks who thought it was safe to go back to letting the walking horse industry regulate itself.
Ayotte didn’t name the co-sponsors, but Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee clearly isn’t one of them.
Tennessee’s senior senator is working on alternative legislation that takes Blackburn’s proposal “” which leaves the power of regulation largely in the hands of folks in the walking horse industry “” and strengthens it in three ways: 1) by requiring equine veterinarians to be given an advisory role on testing methods and procedures and to have them certify test results; 2) by establishing suspension periods for horses found to be sored; and 3) by requiring term limits for a newly created oversight board.
But the core remains self-regulation. And Alexander’s bill doesn’t do anything about the use of ankle chains and tall horseshoes, which the humane society says are used in soring, too.
The guess here is that Alexander has been doing quite a bit of talking to his fellow senators since he saw the number of co-sponsors on Ayotte’s bill. Perhaps the importance of the walking horse industry to Tennessee’s economy required some explaining. His colleague to the north, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., might well be doing the same.
But we can go out on a limb here and say that senators from other parts of the country might not find that case so persuasive.
That’s especially likely if they have seen the secretly recorded videotape of trainer Jackie McConnell and his staff using the age-old training technique of beating a horse with a stick “” and surely the energetic folks at the U.S. Humane Society have made sure that footage has made its way around Capitol Hill.
None of this is intended to minimize the impact strict regulation of the industry would have on the Shelbyville economy. There’s a good chance it would be devastating.
It’s also true that in the current state of dysfunction prevailing in Congress, no legislation of any kind, even if it had a majority of the body as sponsors, would be anything like a sure thing. It’s far easier to kill a bill than to pass one.
Certainly no one would be surprised. The walking horse industry has weathered many attempts to regulate it, in climates of mortal horror over what some trainers do to get horses to perform, and it always seems to bounce back.
But so does the cheating.
Still, unless Alexander can make the case to his fellow senators that they should have a more visceral reaction to the loss of jobs in Tennessee towns than to the torturing of horses, Whitfield’s and Ayotte’s stab at stricter regulation has a better chance of passing than ever.”
Scott Stroud is politics and government editor. Reach him at 615-726-8930 and on Twitter @scottstroud1.
Scott, you are being fed a bunch of baloney about the loss of jobs if the pads and chains, necessary for soring, are removed from the sore Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horses.
The economy would be just fine. Only David L. Howard, The Walking Horse Report Editor might not be so rich. Please read: Follow The Money – David L. Howard’s Empire http://www.billygoboy.com/2014/04/25/the-walking-horse-report-catch-from-the-kick-off-classic-aka-the-david-l-howard-portapotty-invitational-classic-is-extremely-sparse-this-doesnt-appear-to-be-shaping-up-as-a-30000/
And if Shelbyville has based part of its economy on the institutionalized criminal enterprise of presenting sored horses for family entertainment, Shelbyville will just have to CHANGE and proudly embrace the non-sored Tennessee Walking Horse, and do it all it can to promote it.
Scott, there is a native Tennessean, 90 year old W.W. “Bill” Harlin whose family has owned Harlinsdale Farm since 1935. Mr. Harlin’s family also employed a lot of Tennesseans in manufacturing industry.
Here is what Mr. Bill Harlin recently said in an article in your newspaper:
“Self-regulation will never work,” he said. “It hasn’t for over 40 years. There needs to be a super enforcement agency, independent and out of the hands of breeders, exhibitors and trainers, where money can change hands.”
Harlin supports H.R. 1518, a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act, “to save our breed.”
The bill, known as the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky, would ban chains and pads that are used to sore horses, improve enforcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and strengthen penalties on trainers and owners who violate the law.
COMFORTABLE RIDE IS NATURAL
Harlin says, Eliminating soring and restoring the horses’ flat-shod gait would allow the natural features and abilities of the Walking Horses “” their endurance, good temperament and comfortable ride “” to shine through.
“The whole industry would be broader, but it would not have the peaks,’‘ Harlin said, referring to the big money generated by the annual Walking Horse Celebration.
Scott, here is some more information you need to consider which factually rebuts the bogus information you have been fed:
- Passage of the PAST ACT would only affect 8/10th of 1% of the 200,000* living Tennessee Walking Horses.
- The other 99.20% of the Tennessee Walking Horses will be fine, and actually, the 8/10th of 1% will be too because they will no long be institutionally sored to created the sore Big Lick.
- According to a 2012 USDA survey* there are approximately 200,000 living TWH.
- There are only 85 dues paying members of the Walking Horse Trainers Association.
- There were only 569 Big Lick Horses at the 2013 Celebration
- Assume each Trainer has an average of 10 horses in training.
- Assume 850 total Horses.
- Then give it the benefit of the by doubling it 1,700 Big Lick TWH.
- 1% of 200,000 = 2,000
- 1,700 = 8/10th of 1%
And Scott, you are missing and failing to write about the real story here:
STEVE SMITH EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ““ 7 HPA CITATION HISTORY
President Steve Smith ““ (HPA CITATION HISTORY)
Sr. VP Walt Chism
Secretary Loren Anderson
Admin/Fiscal Christy Lantis
Marketing Ashley Wadsworth
Performance Ford Gates (HPA CITATION HISTORY)
VP Pleasure Jessica Hieback
VP O/E Int’l Denise Bader ““ (Husband ““ HPA CITATION HISTORY)
VP Trng/EquineWelfare Linda Montgomery ““ (HPA CITATION HISTORY)
VP Breeders David Williams ““ (Employer Has HPA Family Citation History)
VP Youth Sherry White – (HPA FAMILY HPA CITATION HISTORY)
VP Bylaws/Enf Tom ‘I’M A PROUD HPA VIOLATOR” Kakassy ““ HPA CITATION HISTORY
Scott, as The Tennessean Politics and Government Editor, please talk to this man in the green suit who knows quite a bit about Horse Soring, Politics and Government.