SHELBYVILLE, TN – The 76th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is fast becoming the worst in the history of what U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander euphemistically refers to as a “TENNESSEE TRADITION”.
Public attendance is down more than an estimated 60% from 2013, and the USDA has turned down a disturbing 50% of the Horses its Vets are inspecting for not being in compliance with the Horse Protection Act.
The issue overshadowing the entire 11 day Celebration is a growing controversy which has resulted from Celebration Officials Board Chairman David L. Howard, “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship and “VAC” Chairman Jerry H. Johnson, DVM perpetrating a fraud by lying to the public and horse show patrons that distinguished veterinarian Dr. Dallas O. Goble was one of three “World Class” Vets on the “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee. Dr. Goble took care of the Budweiser Clydesdales for many years, and “VAC” officials touted this fact every chance they got trying to enhance the gravitas and integrity of the “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee.
So it registered high on the seismic scale this past week when Dr. Goble made it crystal clear that he was not involved at any time as a member of “VAC”.
“THE ONLY THING MY NAME IS ON IS MY DRIVER’S LICENSE” said Dr. Dallas O. Goble when questioned last week in his disavowing any connection with the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee.
U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has now become engulfed in the growing scandal due to Alexander’s Campaign Finance Chair Steve Smith‘s previous Tennessee Walking Horse related associations with “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship and “VAC” Chairman Jerry H. Johnson, DVM. In 2006, Smith helped in paying Blankenship and Johnson thousands of dollars as key partisans in an effort to amend the Horse Protection Act to redefine “soring” and render the “scar rule” meaningless.
It’s ironic that in 2006, the name of the group advising the National Horse Show Protection Society in trying to enact the amendments to solidify the sore Big Lick which was – what else – the “VETERINARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE”.
It’s impossible to make this stuff up.
The 2014 Celebration is facing a decertification Complaint which was filed by the USDA in January 2014, and public unrest about horse soring, It came up with what else – another “VETERINARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE”. The Celebration’s “VAC” scheme is an attempt to restore some degree of respectability to a tarnished image related to the sore Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse.
The 2006 Steve Smith led effort failed when The Tennessean newspaper became aware of the scheme and exposed the plot. At that time, Smith was trading off a campaign contributor/personal friendship with U. S. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN).
In 2014, Steve Smith again attempted to throw money at the sore Big Lick problem by enlisting the help of U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander to stop the PAST ACT. Despite claiming to be “Independent”. It has now become apparent that Dr. Jerry Johnson consulted with Senator Lamar Alexander in Fall 2013, and advised Senator Alexander on the PAST ACT. Dr. Johnson apparently misinformed Senator Alexander on the issue which has caused Senator Alexander to be “out of touch” with the Tennessee Tradition of Horse Soring.
Speaking of the PAST ACT, here is what Senator Alexander told The Tennessean Editorial Board on December 8, 2013,
“I am told by veterinarians and people who show horses that it would decimate the tradition of the Tennessee Walking Horse.”
It’s appearing more and more that these two gentlemen are the ones who gave Senator Alexander “poor advice and misinformation” regarding the PAST ACT:
The Celebration has claimed that the “VAC” was independent, said the amount being paid is a “significant amount”, but the Celebration won’t come clean with the public and disclose how much the “VAC” is actually costing.
Another controversial matter is when horses finish showing in the Celebration ring, then they have to leave the show ring and walk down to Barn 9 to be examined by “VAC” personnel. At the Celebration, the inspection area is directly connected to the Show Ring. When a Horse finishes a Celebration class, the horse is still in the Calsonic building for post show inspection. For the “VAC” inspection, the horse leaves the Calsonic Area and walks to Barn 9. It is so easy for Trainer Boyz to “switch” horses during the “walk” from the Show Ring to Barn 9.
CELEBRATION BARN MAP
There are two days remaining at the 2014 Celebration.