Horse soring inspection. HSUS image.

AVMA and AAEP urge strong enforcement of HPA at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

Horse soring inspection. HSUS image.
The AVMA and AAEP urge strong enforcement of the Horse Protection Act at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Inspections are being conducted by the USDA and certain approved horse industry inspectors, some of which decertification is pending for reporting inaccurate numbers of incidents of soring. Extra vigilance is being called for by everyone connected with the show. HSUS image.

By American Veterinary Medical Association

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Aug. 23, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) urge veterinarians, owners, trainers, riders, event spectators, media and the public to redouble their efforts to identify and report sored horses at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. This includes reporting suspected soring activity in barns and training facilities in the Shelbyville area.

The AVMA and AAEP are urging vigilance because of concerns that sored horses will be participating at the Celebration.

For more than 40 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has worked diligently to enforce the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which prohibits soring. The USDA recently took another step toward ending soring by instituting mandatory penalties for violators.

SHOW, a horse industry organization (HIO) that will be inspecting horses during this year’s Celebration, is one of three HIOs for which the USDA is pursuing decertification, citing failure to comply with USDA mandatory penalties.

Despite SHOW’s claim of a 98.5 percent compliance rate with the HPA at events they inspect, USDA swab tests on 52 horses at the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration resulted in 52 positive findings for foreign substances.

According to the USDA, 37 of the 52 horses tested positive for one or more anesthetic agents. Anesthetic agents are frequently used to mask pain from soring during inspections.

In addition, three of the seven individuals listed as judges for this year’s Celebration have been cited for soring violations in years past.

“Soring is a federal crime in addition to being a felony offense in Tennessee,” said Dr. Doug Aspros, president of the AVMA. “It is up to each of us—veterinarians, inspectors, judges, owners, trainers, riders and even spectators at these shows—to take responsibility for ending soring. There must be zero tolerance for this abuse. While soring clearly violates the Horse Protection Act, failing to report soring is also ethically and professionally indefensible. We urge anyone with concerns to contact the USDA and local law enforcement officials.”

To heighten awareness and address failures in industry self-policing, the presidents of the AVMA and AAEP are issuing a joint call-to-action encouraging all veterinarians to aggressively identify and report violators of the Horse Protection Act and supporting strong USDA enforcement.

Related resource materials are available on AVMA and AAEP websites at and

Report suspected cases of sored horses to:

Dr. Rachel Cezar USDA/APHIS Horse Protection Coordinator 301-734-5784


Shelbyville/Bedford County CrimeStoppers 931-685-4300


Source: Press Release

HSUs image. Image not filed with Press Release.

4 thoughts on “AVMA and AAEP urge strong enforcement of HPA at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration”

  1. Just saw a piece done by The Tennessean about Winky Groover getting ready for the Celebration 2012 giving a detailed description on the shoes and pads these horses wear……Showing him ride one of the horses with a big lick if he tells anyone that the horse has not been sored then is a lying piece of dirt…..His father Wink Groover was and probably still is one of the most ruthless horse trainers ever Wink Groover worked at a barn in Clarksville, Tn. and tortured horses like Jackie McConnell………The whole industry needs to be brought down and wiped out and I hope those of us who are not afraid to take a stand can accomplish just that! I was once ask to go undercover to expose these worthless pieces of shit but I’m sure my husband was correct in worrying about my safety.. He said I would either be raped or killed and I’m sure he knew how ruthless these people are…..It’s all about money!!!!! If you don’t care about an innocent animals life why would they care if they harmed a human that got in their way…Really speaks well for their characters doesn’t it……THEY ARE A WASTE OF OXYGEN ON THIS EARTH!


  2. As usual, the AVAMA and AAEP are late to the party when it comes to inhumane treatment of horses.

    Mpclark, you hit the nail on the head, and Peggy, thank you for naming names in your description of these stomach-turning activities..

    The horse world is rife with abuses, like a self-seeding weed. We just have to keep plucking away at the offenders until they are contained.

    Don’t stop fighting the A-hats!


  3. I would strongly urge anyone and everyone to report any type of abuse..Along with the soring I know first hand it is not limited to Tennessee there are numerous barns in Kentucky that make it a practice of soring. …….I went to a barn in Bowling Green, Kentucky the trainer was Scotty Brooks…….I was with a retired veterinarian that was looking at a horse to use for field trails when I went in they had Hispanic workers that where putting oil of mustard on the horses on cross ties that had twitched noses they a, were forcing horses to walk that could hardly stand….It was horrible and it was nothing to them I had even ask why they did that and there response was ” To get the son of bitches to walk” how horrible ….Another barn in Clarksville Tn. Bow Tie Stables owned by James Corlew… Another barn that when a farrier that I know was ask to place nails in the frog of the horses foot he refused and was fired…….Big money owners that get the stable hands to do the dirty work so they and their family’s can get on the horse for ten minutes and “PLAY THE ROLE” at the expense of the abuse and cruel acts that are inflicted on a helpless loving creature of God that can’t speak out…I hope and pray that anyone that participates it the act of soring or anyone that withholds information gets prosecuted to the fullest extent…..Let’s make an example of Jackie McConnell to start with who cares about his age or his health he didn’t care about the animals that he and his low life help abused and tortured and he has been abusing horses most of his life and I know this to be true as long as I can remember since back in the late 70’s just think how many horses have suffered at the hands of this piece of shit low life!!!!….One is to many!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. It’s nice that they seem to want even the few remaining spectators (who will be composed of the people who seem to enjoy watching horse torture) to find obvious and glaring problems and report them. Instead of taking the appropriate action, which is to remove the notorious individuals involved in this horrific activity, the USDA will just amass some reports and allow this to continue?

    What other show has this going on? I wish the Quarter Horse Congress had offered this reporting event, since we would have reported quite a few people with no results as usual. Since the AQHA favors constant breeding, ruining and dumping/slaughtering Quarter Horses, we would have paid admission to report the usual hell the horses endure trying to imitate beaten dogs in classes which are a complete farce. That would have achieved nothing.

    In looking at this photo, I have to note the shoes on that horse are so extreme as to cause unsoundness even without the usual chemical torment we have all known about since the beginning of time. I wonder about the farriers who would participate in such a vicious torment to a horse and receive pay for that. They must be the same kind of low life that the “showmen” are.

    No horse could even walk or move normally with these absurd constructions on so anyone who uses these obviously can’t train or ride. The tendons in the horses legs have to accommodate these bizarre contraptions and it would not take long before that horse would not be able to walk normally.

    It appears that these excuses for human beings are in the business of destroying horses hooves and legs and therefore, rendering the horse useless for any discipline.
    The horse is off balance with these idiot things on and no one who pretends to ride on a horse which is crippled should be allowed to escape legal consequences or have any access to any animal ever again.

    These so called horse breeders and showmen are merely criminals who torture animals for kicks and cash. Like slaughter buyers/sellers, these idiots need to face immediate and severe consequences for animal abuse.

    How many reports does it take to stop this hell for these horses? Like Ohio, it appears that the good people of TN need the feds to come in and act directly. TN residents are paying taxes for services from the state and not getting them.

    I can now understand why residents of TN would want to clean out the current crop of elected officials and create legislation/enforcement that deals with this longstanding abuse. It is as disgusting as anything going on in Ohio. TN deserves better than this.


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