Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization – TWSHO


TWSHO is committed to reforming the walking horse industry to protect the wellbeing of walking horses, while maintaining the integrity of the sport.

For far too long, the industry has not followed through on its talk of reform with real action, and we hope to change all that.  We understand that, if we don’t rid the industry of its few soring trainers, there will be no industry to speak of.

We are making major strides to reform the system, and have implemented or support the following:


TWSHO fully supports continued education through farrier, owner, and DQP clinics.  Through presentations by industry and equine experts, walking show horse lovers and advocates can stay up to date and informed on key issues within the industry including aspects of the HPA, scar rule interpretations, digital imaging, general horsemanship, etc.

Industry Compliance

TWSHO firmly believes self-regulation can ensure HPA compliance and rid the system of soring trainers.   To do so, industry-wide compliance is necessary.  Across the industry we support:

  • Decertifying HIOs after their failure or refusal to correct instances of noncompliance
  • Modifying HIO rulebooks to eliminate loopholes, inconsistencies, and areas of ambiguity


The walking show horse industry has done so much to enhance its inspection process that the USDA has replicated some of its actions.  The way to end soring is to look for it.  TWSHO supports an aggressive inspection system including:

  • Requiring DQP affidavits affirming no conflict of interest
  • Administering revamped inspection process including “time-outs”, videotaping, roping off inspection, warm up areas, etc.
  • Continued use of action devices and pads, but prohibiting horses found with materials other than permitted material within package
  • Implementing a science-based inspection initiative to swab the pasterns of horses in competition, in order to detect substances that harm the horse or mask substances that have harmed the horse


Penalties must be issued and violators must be held accountable to eliminate those who harm horses from the industry.  We support instituting serious punishments for those who break the rules and those who fail to report instances of noncompliance.  TWSHO supports the following:

  • Increased penalties
  • New penalty matrix
  • Independent hearing process
  • Permanent disqualification, based on objective testing, from all horse showing activities for those who repeatedly violate the HPA
  • Judging penalty matrix

Research and Possible Future Intitiatives

TWSHO is continuing to enhance the inspection process through research and new initiative exploration to ensure it is complete, comprehensive, and all horses are compliant with regulations.  Some of these projects include:

  • Pre-show blood testing protocol that will help detect chemicals on the horse and in the bloodstream, chemicals that are often undetectable by swabbing and have been applied to the horse weeks or months prior to the show
  • Micro-chipping of horses for the purpose of identification and record-keeping
  • Radiography
  • More inclusive hoof-testing
  • Pressure shoeing study

Show Ring Protocol

TWSHO is committed to eliminating the sore horse from the show ring through enforcing:

  • “Standards” for walking horses in show ring
  • Dismissal of cited horses from participating in another class
  • Horses dismissed from the arena to report directly to inspection area