Vet advisory council steps up scrutiny of walking horses

An inspector checks a horse for signs of soring during last year’s Spring Fun Show, the first big event of the Tennessee Walking Horse season. (Photo: File / The Tennessean )
An inspector checks a horse for signs of soring during last year’s Spring Fun Show, the first big event of the Tennessee Walking Horse season. (Photo: File / The Tennessean )

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SHELBYVILLE – A lingering rain Saturday night was enough to quiet but not halt the first weekend show of this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Despite gathering storm clouds and a brief downpour right before the show began, organizers didn’t stop the events at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville.

In ponchos and rain gear, hundreds of fans cheered on their favorite horses and riders.

They stuck through the rain, which became the talk of the show, even as expanded, independent inspections of the horses were going on outside the stadium walls.

A team of veterinary inspectors was testing select horses for signs of soring, a practice where chemicals or other forms of abuse are applied in order to exaggerate a horse’s higher, long gait.

Celebration officials agreed to allow an independent veterinary advisory council to come into the 10-day event this year and conduct blood tests and X-rays on two horses in each competition.

RELATED: Lawmakers call for stricter Celebration oversight

Those horses were taken to a standard-issue barn that had no signs or indications that it was a testing ground.

Those tests were conducted by veterinarians with few reported ties to The Celebration and would show whether horses were given any chemicals to mask possible soring or if the horses had illegal objects in their shoes to influence their gait, said Tom Blankenship, a spokesman for the organization.

He said no violations have been found to this point, though the results of blood tests would not be available for three weeks.

These tests came in addition to U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections across the complex from the advisory council’s barn.

Fifty-nine congressmen specifically called the Department of Agriculture to toughen its inspections during the 10-day show.

“We urge the Department to aggressively inspect horses in each class, both pre-show and post-show, not merely monitor the performance of DQPs (designated qualified persons),” the letter stated.


— HSUS Urges USDA to Close Loopholes in Penalties for Horse Protection Act Violations
by News Editor, EquiMed

3 thoughts on “Vet advisory council steps up scrutiny of walking horses”

  1. There should be NO cheering for any of these unscrupulous, evil trainers or riders or owners….The owners pay the scum of the earth called trainers to abuse and torture these beautiful creatures of God …The walking horse was bred to work with his owner on plantations to have a smooth enjoyable ride ….I would cringe at the thought of this money making business having any of my horses….They are evil torturous, greedy money hungry thugs …. there should never be another Walking Horse show that cost millions for the government and tax payers for these so called human beings to win ribbons, trophies , and a title of the Grand Champion…..The only champions here are the voices that are silenced by torture and don’t have a choice the horse that has to endure these horrible people called humans.


  2. POLL in the left hand column of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette … where the “Celebration” of torture is taking place. Saturday, August 30th, is the final day.

    How many nights do you plan to attend the Celebration, either as a spectator or to work?
    Every night
    Most nights
    4-5 nights
    2-3 nights
    One night
    Not at all
    Your COMMENTS about the poll question: (Optional)

    Somewhat unusual people can do more than vote. Time to give them a piece of our minds, but what to pick? “Not at all” would be a protest, but the other choices would mean we’ll be watching … and reporting abuse is something they definitely DON”T want.


  3. Mr. Heisman ONLY ENTRY in “A” division of stallion class; Gen’s Black Maverick wins “B” division

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    (Photo) Only one horse, Mr. Heisman, showed in the “A” division of Walking Stallions, 5 Years and Over during Saturday night’s performance of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
    Gen’s Black Maverick won the “B” division from among five entries.

    The stallion class, split into two divisions, is the traditional preliminary to the World Grand Championship which will take place on Aug. 30.

    There were eight horses listed in the program for the “A” division — I’m Copperfield, Jose It Ain’t So, Mr. Heisman, Swing Bater Batter Swing, A STRONG NEED FOR CASH (SOMEBODY is honest!!!), Star, Folsom Prison Blues and Honors. But only ONE entered the ring.

    Mr. Heisman was ridden by Brandye Mills for Randall & Sadie Baskin of Franklin. The horse was put through his paces as he would have been for a normal class, and THE AUDIENCE — which had expressed DISMAY upon realizing there would be only one entry (I bet SOME of them wondered if the others had either been withdrawn or failed the checks.) — enthusiastically cheered the horse’s solo workout and gave his victory pass a standing ovation.

    More at:


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