NASHVILLE, TN –   In a world where something spoken for pure certainty one week, and a week later,  the speaker pretends it was never said,  is the norm in the Tennessee Walking Hose Racket.   The sore Big Lickers are getting extremely nervous with the continued investigative reporting by The Tennessean Reporter Paul C. Barton into the shenanigans of Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and his “High Paid Independent” operatives Tom Blankenship and Dr. Jerry Johnson.

Chairman David L. Howard said neither Tom Blankenship or Dr. Jerry Johnson had any substantial ties to the Walking Horse business, and then come to find out that both Blankenship and Johnson were Steve Smith lackies back in 2006 to put the “FIX” in for the sore Big Liick, and trash the “Scar Rule” and redefine “SORING” to suit the LIckers.

Howard also said Tom Blankenship and Dr. Jerry Johnson were “Independent”.

Hogwash and balderdash!

Spokesperson Tom Blankenship said “VAC” vets were independent because of a Contract, then it all came to light that the most credentialed of the panel, Dr. Dallas O. Goble, long time caretaker of the Budweiser Clydesdales:

  • Didn’t sign any Contract.
  • Wasn’t part of the “VAC”.
  • Hasn’t set foot in Shelbyville in over 20 years.
  • Was never paid a dime, and Blankenship said they were paid a “SIGNIFICANT” sum of money.


The lies of Celebration Chairman David L. Howard, “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship and “VAC” Chairman Jerry Johnson are coming home to haunt the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.The three “World Class” vets that David Howard said would be on the Celebration premises did not appear to be there at all. For sure Dr. Dallas O. Goble was not even part of the group – and after two days of crisis management with Howard about the lies being exposed, it appears that Tom Blankenship and Dr. Jerry Johnson made an URGENT trip to Knoxville carrying with them a letter designed to “spin” away the frauds that had been perpetrated.The “VAC” spin letter blew up in their faces when AAWHA Media Representative called and interviewed Dr. Goble and got the true story, and then made the audio and transcript of the interview available on
VAC_Chart_#6The article headline:
AAWHA INTERVIEW WITH DR. DALLAS O. GOBLE BLOWS CELEBRATION/”VAC” PR FIRM “SPIN JOB” SKY HIGH ““ LISTEN TO DR. GOBLE EXPOSE THE BLATANT LIES AND CHICANERY OF THE SORE BIG LICK  (Posted on August 30, 2014)The Celebration’s vaunted “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee lost all credibility when the lies perpetrated by Celebration Chairman David L. Howard, “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship and “VAC” Chairman Dr. Jerry Johnson were made public.
Sincerely,  Clant M. Seay, Media Representative, All American Walking Horse Alliance.

Claims on walking horse panel’s website draw fire


The website of the new Veterinary Advisory Committee associated with the walking horse celebration in Shelbyville promised the committee would provide “direct supervision” of lower-level staff who assist in testing horses for signs of soring.

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Critics now question how that squares with the statements by a committee spokesman that the committee’s “world class” vets didn’t have to be on the grounds of the Shelbyville event to do their jobs.

The  Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration  ended Saturday.

RELATED:Humane Society says article casts doubt on vet’s fairness in Walking Horse issue

In comments last week, VAC spokesman Tom Blankenship repeatedly said the high-profile vets didn’t have to attend the show to carry out their function of helping protect horses from soring.

The comments came as controversy arose over what, if any, part veterinarian Dallas Goble of Knoxville was playing on the new body.

“You cannot provide ‘direct supervision’ from your couch at home. You must be on-site,” Teresa Bippen of St. Louis-based  Friends of Sound Horses  said Monday.

RELATED:  Horse study once blasted by industry now trumpeted

And Donna Benefield, vice president of the International Walking Horse Association, said: “They bragged about these vets’ reputations. What difference does it make what their reputations are if it isn’t these vets that are present doing the tests and (providing) direct supervision?”

Blankenship and other walking horse industry officials did not respond Monday to phone calls and emails requesting comments.

Last week, Blankenship and Celebration officials insisted Goble was playing a role on the committee, even though in interviews the veterinarian said he decided weeks ago to not be a member of the VAC and was remaining at his home in Knoxville instead of going to Shelbyville.

Celebration officials established the committee and paid for it to reassure the public it was taking seriously allegations of soring.

In his interviews with The Tennessean, Goble said his only conversation with the committee had been a phone call with lead vet Jerry H. Johnson several weeks before the Celebration began. Goble said he told Johnson he didn’t want to participate because he would have had trouble getting malpractice insurance. He had been retired 11 years.

On its website, under “Frequently Asked Questions,” the VAC describes how it employs monitors, farriers (specialists in hoof care) and other personnel to implement its “protocols and recommendations.”

And then it adds: “These personnel shall perform their responsibilities under the direct supervision and auspices of the VAC.”

Keith Dane, who represents the  Humane Society of the United States  on equine issues, called the discrepancy another sign Celebration officials don’t deal honestly with the public.

“Direct supervision certainly suggests to me that the supervisors would be on site,” he said in a statement Monday.

“But these people twist and massage their words to leave the impression they desire, without actually living up to the letter of what their words say. They have mastered that tactic, and it’s the only way they have managed to keep on deceiving the public all these years.”

Contact Paul C. Barton at  and on Twitter @PaulCBarton.

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