TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBRATION CHAIRMAN DAVID L. HOWARD LOSES HIS COOL AND ATTACKS THE ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE – THE CELEBRATION’S “VAC” VETERINARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE COMES UNDER HEAVY FIRE AND IT ALONG WITH SPOKESPERSON TOM BLANKENSHIP FACE SERIOUS QUESTIONS

SHELBYVILLE, TN – When you touch a worm with a hot nail,  it wriggles.

"I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU - WE'LL NEVER GET THERE" - CHATTANOOGA FEDERAL COURTHOUSE STEPS - JACKIE MCCONNELL GUILTY PLEA - MAY 22, 2012

“I’LL BE HONEST WITH YOU – WE’LL NEVER GET THERE” – CHATTANOOGA FEDERAL COURTHOUSE STEPS – JACKIE MCCONNELL GUILTY PLEA – MAY 22, 2012

When touched with a few pertinent questions about the Celebration’s $250,000.00  public relations gimmick called “VAC” (Veterinary Advisory Committee),     Celebration Chairman David L. Howard did a lot more than wriggle.  He  went ballistic and took off like the Mother of all bottle rockets in a rant and tirade against the All American Walking Horse Alliance:

DAVID L. HOWARD - THE MOTHER OF ALL BOTTLE ROCKETS

DAVID L. HOWARD – THE MOTHER OF ALL BOTTLE ROCKETS

Mr. Howard’s crowd invented the “VAC” to take the public’s attention off the fact that the Celebration’s Horse Inspection program,  S.H.O.W. HIO,  is presently being decertified by the USDA for failing to properly enforce the Horse Protection Act.  Another purpose was to provide U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander a “dog and pony” show based on “VAC” data to shore up Alexander’s  forlorn “Self Regulation” alternative to the PAST ACT.

Here is an account of Mr. Howard’s mud slinging virulent attack on the All American Walking Horse Alliance, and the class responses of the members of the  All American Walking Horse Alliance,   and those who support its cause overseas.

ARMY OF "CAT LADIES" LEADING THE CHARGE TO VICTORY

ALL AMERICANS LEADING THE CHARGE TO VICTORY

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2014/08/21/celebration-begins-new-evaluations-soring/14421499/

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  • Clant Seay

    Mr. Wilson, the All American Walking Horse Alliance, organizers of the historic “Walk On Washington” on June 18, 2014, respectfully take exception to that part of your story where you say, “Veterinarians with no ties to the walking horse industry will inspect horses after they compete in their respective categories.” Mr. Wilson, the head Vet Dr. Jerry H. Johnson has been associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration since 1972 according to his CV. He states that he “Officiated” at the Celebration for several years in the 1970s whatever “Officiated” means. He needs to explain what he did at that time. The “VAC” Spokesperson Mr. Tom Blankenship is a sore Big Lick aficionado of approximately 25 years. The “VAC” is costing the Celebration about $250,000.00 and it is not clear how much of that, if any, that  Mr. Blankenshp is being paid. In 2006, Mr. Tom Blankenship was entrusted to lead a $600,000.00+ campaign to eliminate the “Scar Rule” and redefine “Soring” at the behest of the sore Big Lick interests. Mr. Blankenship enlisted Dr. Jerry H. Johnson in that effort. Mr. Blankenship has now resurfaced as the Spokesperson for a three person Celebration “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee. Sir, your readers have the right to know the truth – and it is definitely not true that “VAC” Head Vet Dr. Jerry H. Johnson nor “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship have no ties to the Tennessee Walking Horse business. To the contrary, these two gentlemen appear to be highly paid to do the bidding of the “Big Lick Big Lie” stained Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration chaired by David L. Howard of Shelbyville. Mr. Wilson, I respectfully suggest you owe it to your readers to please get the other side of this story, and question Dr. Johnson on what he “officiated” over at the Celebration during the 1970s? And please ask Mr. Blankenship to please come clean on how all those moving parts fit together on the “VAC” PR gimmick to try and make the public believe that the Tennessee Walking Horse is being adequately protected which it is not. It is a fact that the Celebration’s owned S.H.O. W. HIO is presently being decertified by the USDA for violating the Horse Protection Act. ” Sincerely, Clant M. Seay, Spokesperson, All American Working Horse Alliance.
    • David L. Howard   ·  University of Tennessee (Memphis)

      Mr. Wilson, instead of listening to personal attacks on nationally recognized and honored veterinarians by a less than reputable source like Mr. Seay, we invite you to come to the Celebration and visit with them personally.
    • Margaret Raimo Gordon   ·    Top Commenter

      David L. Howard Just so sad that people with a history of HPA Violations and abuse, from Vets, to PSHA wealthy NJ bankers, are helping you keep this abuse going. What you really don’t realize, is that there are many people across America that support The PAST Act and are actively supporting it’s passage. The Big Lick IS the Big Lie.
    • Laura Ousley   ·   ·    Top Commenter

      David L. Howard That horse in the picture is sore – anyone who knows horses can see it.
  • David L. Howard   ·  University of Tennessee (Memphis)

    Mr. Wilson, you are more than welcome to come to the Celebration and see first hand what the Celebration is doing to eliminate any soring. Members of the Veterinary Advisory Committee will be more than happy to meet with you and answer any questions that you have as well as observe their protocol for examining horses. I find it deplorable that a less than credible source and a disgraced attorney would attack nationally recognized veterinarians who are helping this horse show in their continuing efforts to eliminate soring. At the Celebration you will have free and unencumbered access to the show grounds and the horses on it. You will be allowed to observe the inspections by the SHOW Horse Industry Organization as well as interview Mitchell Butler, who heads up the program. If they will grant permission, you will be allowed to observe the USDA inspections and talk to both Dr. Chester Gipson and Dr. Rachel Cezar, the two USDA officials charged with enforcing the Horse Protection Act. In all fairness, I would ask you apply the same level of scrutiny to the author of these personal attacks, Clant Seay, including his past history in the walking horse business, his professional legal difficulties and the formation of his All American Horse Alliance. I urge you to come to the Celebration and we will assist you in getting any of your questions or concerns answered.
    • Billygoboy

      Mr. Howard, you are presiding over a sinking ship of the sore Big Lick. According to your post in the Walking Horse Report which you own, you said that last night the USDA turned down 21 of the 38 horses the USDA Vets inspected. That’s 55% of the TWH that were found to be “in violation of the Horse Protection Act”. You are Chairman of the Celebration. The inspection program the Celebration owns is S.H.O.W. HIO and it is presently being decertified by the USDA in legal proceedings for violations of the Horse Protection Act for failure to properly enforce the law to protect the horses. The “VAC” Spokesperson is Mr. Blankenship who has a long and vivid history of defending the sore Horse interests and working to revise existing laws and regulations resulting in less stringent enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to protect  the horses. Mr. Howard, please tell the public how much the Celebration is paying the so called “Independent” “VAC” Committee? How much is Mr. Blankenship being paid? Please explain what Head “VAC” vet Dr. Jerry H. Johnson did in the 1970s when his CV said he “Officiated” at the Celebration. And what his role was in 2006 when he worked hand in glove providing Vet credentials to Mr. Blankenship in THEIR efforts to change the meaning of the word “Sore” in the HPA and eliminate the Scar Rule so it would be ineffective. Now the public also needs to know what you posted privately this afternoon on your WHR Message Board:
      “Clant Seay viciously attacks the Veterinary Advisory Committee in response to an article in the Nashville Tennessean, that was factual for a change. You can comment on the article and Seay’s trash as I did a few minutes ago. Please read these article and the comments and respond civilly and factually”
      Mr. Howard, how can you use the words “viciously” and “trash” in private, then urge your followers to write civilly and factually in public where their actions can be seen. Isn’t this another example of the “Big Lick Big Lie” mentality. Has it ever ocurred to you that when YOU, as Chairman of the Celebration, use this language you may incite persons to take the law into their own hands and perhaps resort to violence because someone happens to disagree with them. Sincerely, Clant M. Seay, Mississippi Bar #6695, Member in good standing since 1972. And I am proud to be the servant of the wonderful people thoughout the United States who support the All American Walking Horse Alliance.
    • Margaret Raimo Gordon   ·    Top Commenter

      There are many people that are very grateful for the information Clant Seay provides to the American public. What you fail to understand Mr Howard is that the American public objects to soring, chains, stacks and the Celebration which supports the Big Lick. It’s over, mr howard, Take your money and support horses that are NOT Big Lick. The Big Lick is a Big Lie. Didn’t you see the billboard? Not large enough?
    • Karen Barker   ·   ·    Top Commenter

      Mr. Howard, how do you think those horses are lifting their hooves so high? Do you think they are being trained with carrots? Seriously, all one has to do is watch those horses to know that abuse is involved. You can continue to deny it but it won’t change what is obvious to the rest of us, veterinarian credibility aside. If you are serious about cleaning up the show and ridding it of soring, you will show naturally gaited horses. Good luck to you.
  • Billygoboy

    I invite you please take a look at the following commentary on The Tennessean’s article on the Celebration’s “VAC” Committee and the controversy surrounding it. This matter is so serious that today the Celebration Chairman David L. Howard attacked by name Clant M. Seay, Spokesperson for the grassroots effort All American Walking Horse Alliance, because he dared ask fact based questions about Celebration’s “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee.
    • Billygoboy

      Could the Celebration Chairman David L. Howard, through his use of inflammatory language and personal attacks on the Walking Horse Report Message Board, directed toward those who disagree with him incite others to commit acts of violence?
    • Kaye Jones   ·  Albany Business College, Fulton, Montgomery Community College

      It’s just another attempt to keep on with the Big Lick and try to make everyone think it’s okay. I find it so amazing that they are so “blinded by the light”
    • Billygoboy

      Isn’t it all summed up by the words ‘Big Lick Big Lie?
  • Sharon Loomis Corr   ·    Top Commenter

    Thank you for writing this column Mr Wilson. It allows the light to shine on a horrific problem that has plagued the Walking Horse industry for over 50 years. This creation of a 3 member VAC seems to be nothing more than a smoke screen to make people think something is being done to end this problem.. However, the testing they are doing comes after the horse has performed.. It doesn’t explain WHAT the tests are for or what happens if a horse fails these tests. Who gets the results and when and what will be done with them. I fail to see how this expensive effort is protecting the horse at all. It’
    s merely an effort to protect the industry and maintain the status quo.. The horses and the citizens of Tennessee deserve much better than is being offered by this so-called “independent” committee.
  • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

    This ‘VAC’ was formed to provide cover to dirty politicians in Washington, paid for with campaign contributions, in dollars earned by torturing this kind and gentle breed. The good people of Tennessee deserve better representation than that and the horses deserve the protection of the PAST Act.
  • Evelyn Perreault   ·  University of Southern Mississippi

    It’s easy to see it’s just another smoke and mirrors tactic that is similar to the failed swabbing initiative. Where are the published findings on that? Time for the past act to end this charade.
  • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

    The phrase “Veterinarians with no ties to the industry” is factually incorrect. Dr. Jerry Johnson, along with defender of horse abusers Tom Blankenship, traveled to Washington, DC in 2006 to strong arm the USDA into eviscerating the Scar Rule. This influence peddling by Dr. Johnson hardly qualifies as “no ties to the industry.”
  • Laura Ousley   ·   ·    Top Commenter

    I’ve been following the ongoing saga of the arrests and dirty politics concerning the big lick victims – the defenseless Tennessee Walking horses that are forced to walk with that extremely unnatural way. Part of the most convincing testimony has come from the American Veterinary Association, who has stated that the only way to make a Tennessee Walking horse perform the big lick is to inflict devastatingly, constant pain. This is fact and has been proven time and time again by horse experts. Anyone who claims that these horses are not subjected to abuse is being paid to do so, either directly or indirectly.
  • Janice Nodine   ·   ·  Landrum High School

    If the twh horse has that high unnatural gait is sore. No natural horse will walk that ezy
  • Jeannie McGuire   · Works at  All American Walking Horse Alliance

    What equestrians do inherently know, regardless of their area of interest in the equine performance world, is that no horse preforms in the exaggerated manner Nick Named “THE BIG LICK” unless the horse has been subjected to unethical and inhumane methods. Many such horsemen and women comprise the All American Walking Horse Alliance. Experienced Equine Professionals of all types, Veterinarians, Certified Instructors and Trainers, Horse Show Managers and Equine Therapists all agree the Tennessee Walking Horse industry has been remiss in taking proper action for decades and that the only “sound” solution is passing the PAST act.
    Sadly the Tennessee Walking “BIG LICK” Horse has been banned from every major Equine Sporting event in the WORLD beginning with numerous American Shows such as, Los Angeles County Fair, Devon Horse Show, (Pennsylvania) Equine Affair (Ohio) and Horse World Expo (Maryland), Illinois State Fair, Hoosier Horse Fair (Indiana), The Big D Charity Show In Texas, Cavalcade of Horses in California, The World Equestrian Games (Held in Kentucky) and Many, Many more too numerous to mention including the National Horse Show in Washington D.C.. This summarizes the purpose of the All American Walking Horse Alliance and their support of the historic Walk On Washington on the Capitol lawn, June 18th, 2014. The AAWHA is a United Front indeed!
    • Jim White   ·  Owensboro Community College

      If these comments were being made in the 60’s & 70’s, most of you would be correct. The breed HAS been mistreated in the past. But I’ve watched the training techniques change and the way the horses are bred change over the past few years. Yes, you can get a horse to use it’s front end like that without being sore. If you knew anything about it, getting them to use their front legs is only part of what a TWH does. If you were close to the industry and had ever started one of these colts, they are bred to have loose, high front ends. A trainer cannot take a quarter horse and sore him enough to make him travel like a walking horse. Neither can they take a Lipizzaner Stallion and make him do the same. The gait is breed specific–just like most horses. Yes, they used to be sore, but the old guard is either dead or retired. The new breed of trainer is much more talented and knows to survive they must bring sound horses to inspection. Before you condemn this beautiful horse, watch an inspection process and what they put them through. Better yet, go to a horse barn and watch the horses up close.
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. White, with all due respect, that is an old tired song & dance from a person in KY, which has the second highest rate of Horse Protection Violations next to Tennessee. These 12,000+ violations can be found on the free public database  www.hpadata.us.
    • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

      Mr White, with all due respect (as I think you really believe what you just said), the USDA inspected 38 horses last evening and found 21 to be sored. SHOW officials found 4 horses sored out of nearly 300 (over 400 by alternate count) they inspected. Soring is rampant, on-going and pervasive within the TWH ‘show’ industry. Many ‘trainers’ excel in developing new methods of soring and at avoiding detection….but it’s a game, played out at events like the celebration. Some folks ‘win’ and some folks lose but the horses lose all day, every day. It’s time to call ‘game over’.
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. White, regarding the “new breed of trainer,” here are their 1,722 violations from 2013 alone:  https://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/acis_request/faces/DataRequest.jspx?output_type=1&request_type=801&sd=01-01-2013&ed=12-31-2013&request_id=ALL
    • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

      Sadly  Cynthia, that number only represents the number of violations recorded, mostly by ‘industry’ hired DQPs. SHOW disqualified only 4 out of 300+ during the same time frame at this year’s celebration while USDA personnel disqualified 21 out of 38 random inspections. Just imagine how many sored horses weren’t ticketed by this corrupt industry…
    • Jim White   ·  Owensboro Community College

      I don’t train or show horses anymore Ms. Lansing and I hold no office, nor do I have any financial interest in the TWH breed. I am a fan. I have nothing to gain by telling the truth other than to try and defend the slander of this breed. 12,000 violations? I’m sorry I just don’t believe that. I went to the site and when I saw it was a FOSH site, I didn’t bother to go any further. How many violations have there been in the past 3 years? I won’t argue things were bad in the past, but you cannot hold that against an entire industry who has a 98% compliance rate now. Do you go to horse shows or horse barns? Have you seen any of what you oppose first hand? I have stayed very close to this industry and I have seen they are now showing sound horses. Whomever it is that’s telling so many of you the opposite is perpet  See More
    • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

      Here’s some hard truth for you Mr White….the FOSH database is built on records supplied by the USDA. FOSH is widely respected throughout the equine world. The ‘compliance rate’ you quote is based on all TWH entered into competition, even at shows that do not allow stacked/chained horses to compete. Flatshod, sound horses are responsible for the high rate of compliance, not stacked/chained horses. In fact, 94% of all violations in 2013 were written on stacked/chained horses while the majority of violations are recorded at the (less than) 10% of events that USDA personnel attend. These numbers are readily available to anyone who wants a clear picture of the reality our breed is facing.
    • Jim White   ·  Owensboro Community College

      Diana M Morehead Ma’am, I do believe what I said. With the statistics you just posted, it’s obvious the USDA believes soring is rampant. SHOW officials do not. Several times in the past, I know the SHOW DQP’s have been tougher on the horses than the USDA has been. And if I”m not mistaken, one particular VMO is turning down a high percentage of who he inspects. Do you have any idea why most of these horses are being cited? I believe I’ve read it was because of the scar rule. Do you know how they check for sensitivity? They squeeze the horse’s ankles. How hard? That depends on the inspector. Back in the 80’s I saw a USDA inspector pull out his ink pen to poke around on a horses foot. If I want to turn a horse down, I can EASILY do it. I can keep looking at their feet until I find a pimple and turn him down for scar rule, or I can squeeze until he flinches. I’ve seen inspectors bear down with their thumbs until their thumbnails turn white and then roll that thumb where just the tip is pushing. Lets be honest about this. The inspection process is flawed. There are scientific processes in place the horses are passing. But the sensitivity and scar rules tests are what they’re getting them on. Both tests totally flawed and totally subjective. Again, I can make a broodmare out of the field flinch. Just being honest here.
    • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

      The scar rule serves a valuable purpose….It has been challenged in court and upheld.
    • Jeannie McGuire   · Works at  All American Walking Horse Alliance

      Mr. White, also with all due respect, your comments appear to be based on the assumption people who support the passage of the PAST act are either in their 50s or 60s and recall the status of the industry 4 or five decades ago, or they are from other breed organizations and disciplines where they have no frame of reference. Nothing could be further from the truth. Countless people who have become involved in the recent movement have firsthand experience with the TWH Breed currently. They have observed young performance horse prospects being started, seen horses being trained and witnessed inspections at shows such as the Trainers show just this past spring. Your comments also question the motivation of people who support this legislation and suggest they are doing so from a perspective of “Animal Welfare Advocacy”. Again this is not solely the case. The aptitude and athleticism this breed possesses should predicate that the Tennessee Walking Horse could enjoy the same level of international success economically as the other popular American breeds. Alas this cannot happen because of the negative stigma surrounding the “Notorious Big Lick” which has successfully divided its own industry and decapitated its own future. Thousands of people have grown up with, shown, developed and trained Tennessee Walking Horses, this breed does not belong to just the select group of individuals who are invested at the “performance” level.
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Jim White, I think that is a fair question for you to ask how many violations have been reported in the last three years. I posted the DQPs reported violations for 2013. Here are 2,632 violations for 2012 as reported by DQPs:  https://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/acis_request/faces/DataRequest.jspx?output_type=1&request_type=801&sd=01-01-2012&ed=12-31-2012&request_id=ALL
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. White, here are the 3,430 violations of the Horse Protection Act as reported by DQPs for 2011:  https://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/acis_request/faces/DataRequest.jspx?output_type=1&request_type=801&sd=01-01-2011&ed=12-31-2011&request_id=ALL
    • Billygoboy

      Jim White Mr. White, according to Celebration Chairman David L. Howard on his WHR Message Board, he reports with his “first hand knowledge” that on Thursday night, August 21, 2014, that the USDA inspected 38 horses and turned down 21 of them. Sir, that’s a 55% “compliance rate”. Now what were you saying about 98% compliance rate and what went on the 50s and 60s?
  • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

    Mr. Howard, why is it that the United States Equestrian Federation does not permit stacks & chains on any horse under their penumbra and in fact does not even recognize the Tennessee Walking Horse as a separate breed?
  • Diana M Morehead   ·    Top Commenter

    The celebration is a carnival of cheats….the big lick is the game of cheats… judges who cheat reward those who cheat the best……’industry’ inspections are pay-back scams and ‘compliance’ has become a word used to fool politicians. Who believes the smoke and mirrors being hawked by the carney? Meanwhile, 55% of horses inspected by USDA personnel are disqualified as sored….in this game of cheats, the horses lose, every time.
  • Elizabeth L. Jones   ·   ·    Top Commenter ·  Composition Instructor  at  University of Illinois at Springfield

    Mr. Howard, that would be the All American WALKING Horse Alliance, not the All American Horse Alliance, and it does not belong to a single individual.

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Nephew Eugene says the All American Walking Horse Alliance is stronger than 20 acres of newly mown garlic.

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