Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization – TWSHO

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An Update from TWSHO

January 23, 2013 | TWSHO Board of Directors

Happy New Year!  The 2013 show season is just around the corner.  Before we turn our attention to 2013 we wanted to take an opportunity to update the supporters of TWSHO’s accomplishments over the last several months.  After a successful Celebration, TWSHO committed to pulling the industry together and has met several times with industry groups and associations presenting a plan to unite the industry around a unified inspection protocol.

The plan has always been a draft plan and the details would be finalized by the new representative board, including members from TWHBEA, WHOA, WHTA, TWHNC and TWSHO along with independent veterinarians.  The plan was developed after meetings with several nationally renowned veterinarians, state and national political leaders and public relation and affairs experts.

The concept has not met the board approval of TWHBEA and WHOA, although both have voted to keep open the lines of communication.  The WHTA and TWHNC have voted to accept the concept.  The concept centers around the following goals:

  1. One HIO; One Set of Rules; One Inspection Protocol led by independent veterinarians with regional representation
  2. Elimination of soring by utilizing objective inspection methods in addition to the existing HPA requirements for inspection
  3. Independent judging program centered around established breed standards
  4. Socially acceptable gait and equipment

At this point in time, the one HIO concept has not been achieved.  It is our strong opinion this must be achieved in order to implement effectively the plan.  It is important to note, the plan is for there to be one HIO that inspects both performance and pleasure horses, not a merger of those HIOs that don’t allow performance horses.

Lawsuit

The lawsuit is complete and awaiting a ruling from the Federal Judge in Fort Worth, Texas.  The briefing on the case was extensive and far more than was anticipated.  Many of the funds you donated were used to pay the fees to fight this vital case.  The lawyers are confident in our arguments however until the judge rules we will not know.  Either side can appeal the decision.  A decision is expected within 90 days however there is no definitive timeline.

Legislation

The legislation to eliminate HIOs and all weighted shoes, pads and action devices introduced by Congressman Whitfield (KY) is no longer active.  Congressman Whitfield will re-introduce the legislation, potentially with changes, in the new Congress in the coming months.  In the meantime, Congressman Whitfield has met with industry representatives and is willing to listen to compromised legislation introduced by the industry.  Currently, paid representatives from TWSHO are meeting to determine the best course of action and meeting with industry leadership to stay informed of developments in the industry.

Our hope is to put together legislation that is acceptable and helps in the reforms of our industry.  TWSHO has learned that any proposed legislation to eliminate soring in the industry will need to entail a unified HIO and inspection protocol.  This has been one of the many factors influencing TWSHO to state so strongly its endorsement and mandate of one HIO.

It is crucial at this point with Congressman Whitfield’s legislation being introduced again the next month or so that the industry remain as engaged as possible with members of Congress on both sides of the issue.  For most members of Congress the only concept or understanding of the industry comes from the Humane Society (HSUS).

Also, the industry must engage in a more constructive manner with APHIS and the Secretary of Agriculture.  Everyone needs to understand that APHIS and the Department of Agriculture could move forward and implement a number of the sections of Congressman Whitfield’s legislation through the rulemaking process.   That is why these discussions and interactions are so important.

TWSHO finds itself in a position where it has done a tremendous amount of research and discovery to formulate the best suggestions to move forward.  TWSHO urges and remains hopeful that those in positions of authority will consider the plan of action, tweak it to meet the objectives desired and implement a comprehensive plan to move the industry forward.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support, whether it be financial, volunteering time or lending a helping hand.

Sincerely,

TWSHO Board of Directors

Proctor Dean, NC
Terry Dotson, TN
Frank Eichler, TN
Nancy Groover, TX
Bruce MacDonald, GA
Lee McGartland, TX
Duke Thorson, OH