published Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Walking horse poll pans use of pads

This Tennessee walking horse is fitted with pads but not chains.
This Tennessee walking horse is fitted with pads but not chains.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Some weeks ago, the nation's largest Tennessee walking horse group locked in an uproar only slightly less acrimonious than the government shutdown after an executive committee member sponsored her own poll to see how 6,945 members feel about the use of padded shoes and ankle chains — instruments horse advocates say hide evidence of soring.

Soring is the use of chemicals and contraband items to encourage Tennessee walking horses to step higher and farther to exaggerate the breed's natural gait. The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association's executive committee voted in May to support a federal bill that would ban the much-debated pads and chains, but the association's full board of directors voted not to ratify that action.

Supporters of the bill say the equipment encourages soring and that banning it will restore public confidence in the industry. Detractors say pads and chains are harmless, and removing them will cause fans to turn away from horse shows.

Pat Stout, of Cookeville, Tenn., the association's vice president for horse shows, took the poll question into her own hands. She paid to mail out postage-paid polling cards and asked members to mark yes or no to the statement: "I am for passage of HR 1518/S 1406 -- 'Prevent All Soring Tactics Act' -- to remove the pads and chains in order to end the public perception of soring and abuse presently associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breed, to eliminate HIOs (organizations with lay inspectors rather than federal inspectors) and to increase penalties for soring."

The cards were to be returned to a certified public accountant in Arab, Ala., by Oct. 15.

On Thursday, Stout released an Oct. 16 letter from that CPA, who certified tabulation of the poll results: 1,795 people, or 26 percent of the TWHBEA members, voted. A majority 63 percent, or 1,132, said they support the bill to ban pads and chains. Nearly 37 percent, or 663, voted "no."

On Friday, the Tennessee Walking Horse Report, a magazine and online trade publication owned and operated by the David Howard family, active members in the Tennessee walking horse industry, sent out an email titled "TWHBEA Comments on Recent Membership Mailer."

"In the coming days, you will most likely see the publication of results of a post card mailer that was previously sent with the TWHBEA logo, which was not authorized by the executive committee nor is it a work product of TWHBEA," the email states. The unsigned message states, "TWHBEA makes no request or requirement that you answer this mailer or do anything whatsoever with the mailer, and you can certainly throw it away if you want."

The message indicates the card's mailing is under investigation and the organization suggests "irregularities" in the card's distribution.

"The bill ... has many parts, and we feel that an adequate survey would have addressed the individual components of the bill, giving our members an opportunity to express their true feelings on the various aspects of the proposed legislation. ... Please be aware that any publication of the results is not a TWHBEA product," the email reads.

Stout and her CPA have documents verifying the mail-out numbers, and a 26 percent response to any poll is considered outstanding.

It would seem the members of the Tennessee Walking Horse group that provides the breed's birth lines and registry have spoken. They want a cleaner sport, and they believe the way to get it is to outlaw pads and chains and make soring a felony.

It's about time.

Now let's hope that Congress can find something to agree on with this bill and get the vote made.

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icemotown said...

The picture in this article is a picture of a TWH with bands and a shoe and no pads.

October 23, 2013 at 9 a.m.
Peaches said...

This vote was not legal, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) explained to all members that this was not sent out by them and we should throw them away, so there for the numbers are in correct.

October 23, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.
Peaches said...

it did not discuss any part of the bill it was a yes your for it or no your not, a simple yes or no is not a discussion, if you really want to know how people feel about this issue contact them quit listening to propaganda by a select few. Isn't that what a reporter is suppose to do or is everything just one sided. Do your job.

October 23, 2013 at 9:06 a.m.
Peaches said...

pads and chains don't sore horses people do!!! There are as many sore flat shod horses as there is padded. They don't want to discuss that! This bill removes ALL weighted shoes from horses, It is breed specific legislation if its going to be done it should apply to all breeds not just specific ones. DO YOUR HOME WORK!@!!!! At least read the freakin bill!!!!

October 23, 2013 at 9:11 a.m.
SueNH said...

They tried letting the walking horse industry police itself. It became a big farce. The bill is much needed or the walking horse will remain the pariah of the horse world. The bill is a starting point and that starting point is where the abuse is the worst.

Time to evolve people!

October 23, 2013 at 9:29 a.m.

Hmm, Peaches, can I come to your barn and see all your teenage, previously padded but currently 100% sound walking horses? Didn't think so. There are so few. Even if you don't "sore" a padded horse ... Pads on a young horse not only damage the hooves, they put tremendous strain on the hind end - hocks, stifles, hips, that are still growing. (A horse doesn't finish growing until he is 5, but TWH's are often started between 16-18 months). Front pasterns often fuse and permanently turn out from being on pads or weighted shoes as a BABY. Horses on pads can't be turned out in a pasture because heck, they could tear half their hoof off. Then, you add chemicals, chains, and other techniques of soring to the mix, you have horses that carry scars on their legs through however many owners they might have in their lifetime - meaning potential elimination from the show ring, potential fines, lost profit ... nevermind the physical harm to the horse. So, a law to firm up what the HPA originally tried to do, can't be considered a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Have you ever rehabbed an ex-padded horse? I have. And anyone else who has can see the huge benefits in the PAST act. Furthermore, Ms. Stout, as VP of Horse Shows for TWHBEA, went above and beyond to poll the paid membership of the organization she works for and whose membership she is supposed to represent, in asking for the members' opinions. Every thriving breed organization seeks comments from its members, and yet TWHBEA's board continues on without seeming to care that more than 1700 of its paid members weighed in on the issue. It's a shame for the breed. Hopefully NWHA can continue to establish itself as the alternative registry for those who love and enjoy to show the naturally gaited, sound horse - maybe they'll gain another 1100 members who have been told their current breed organization doesn't care what they think.

There is plenty of accuracy on the internet. Try looking for it, instead of the propaganda spewed by the executive board of TWHBEA - and you might check the collective HPA violations of those in charge, while you are at it. Nice thing is, with a federal law designed to try to eliminate soring, those who have sored a horse are listed in a federal database that everyone can access if they are the least bit curious.

October 23, 2013 at 11:09 a.m.
walkinman said...

Peaches and the like will never admit their horses are sored. I spoke with a gentleman at the Celebration who said to me that he felt 85% to 90% of the padded horses were clean. I asked him if he ever sored and he never did answer my question but he knows as do every padded horse owner that to be competitive they have to sore them. Everybody knows it they just can't admit how horrible it is to the horse, to their horse, to the horse that they say they love.

It's the same as saying they abuse their children. No one who has ever abused their child in any way would admit it, and it's the same for soreing.

They are in denial and they will end up on the short end of the stick.

October 23, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.
walkinman said...

icemotown, what the heck are those big blocks under the hooves, if they aren't pads? The horse has no chains but it sure does have pads.

October 23, 2013 at 12:58 p.m.
Peaches said...

Facts regarding hoof bands on horses, please feel free to share.

The Whitfield/Cohen letter “explaining HR 6388”, claims that hoof bands cause horses’ hooves to be shorn off at the band, causing great pain to the horse and risking serious, potentially permanent, and sometimes fatal damage. It eludes to this being a common problem in the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. Extensive research with several equine veterinarians and farriers has determined that this statement is both unfounded and unscientific. The hoof capsule, or hoof wall, is an insensitive structure as there are no nerves there. A farrier can nail a shoe to the hoof capsule or wall, with no pain to the horse, as there are no nerves to that part of the shell. Veterinarians or farriers under the supervision of a veterinarian will routinely remove a section of the hoof capsule, or wall, in a process known as “resectioning” when trying to correct for disease or avulsions in saddle horses. A Veterinarian or farrier may drill into the hoof wall to allow for draining of an abscess or allow air to digress the formation of anaerobic bacteria. A horse’s hoof grows back naturally in nine to twelve months with no permanent damage. With the administration of vasodilators, this process may be sped up. A hoof band is a support structure used on horses wearing shoes weighing as little as one pound. It is extremely uncommon to have a horse lose part of their hoof due to a properly applied band. The only instance I have found was due to a horse being handled by a novice that released the horse to run down the road unattended. That horse broke of a section of the hoof and the hoof grew out fine with no lasting damage to the horse. Several breeds of horses other than those three listed in this breed specific legislation and the referred to letter use hoof bands and I have found zero instances where any horse has been permanently damaged or died from the use of properly applied hoof bands.

October 23, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.
Peaches said...

Phase XI. Use of 2, 4 and 6 Ounce Chains The objectives of this study were to evaluate the use of 2, 4 and 6 ounce chains in Tennessee Walking Horses, without using any other chemical or mechanical technique to induce inflammation. Use of 2, 4 and 6 oz. chains did not cause any detectable pain, tissue damage. Thermographic and pressure evaluation did not change significantly. Thus, it was concluded that the use of 2, 4 and 6 oz. chains for a duration of 2to 3 weeks did not produce any harmful effects to the horses’ legs, with exception to some loss of hair from 6 oz. chains in the pastern areas

October 23, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
Peaches said...

Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced a bill into congress to alter the Horse Protection Act. To date it has gained the support of 22 other legislators. In summary it seeks to: 1. Eliminate the use of a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band, or other device or material at a horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction.

October 23, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.
Peaches said...

THE USDA ACCEPTED HIO FIGURES FOR THE YEARS 2007-2012 IN WHICH 520,750 ENTRIES WERE INSPECTED BY THE HIO SYSTEM AT NO COST TO THE US TAXPAYER. EXPRESSED AS PERCENTAGES 6 year HIO INSPECTION FIGURES 2007-2012 bilateral sore 331 entries scar rule violations 1519 entries not sore 518,900 entries 2007-2012 ENTRIES INSPECTED bilateral sore .064% scar rule .291% not sore 99.645%

October 23, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.
Peaches said...

2013 Celebration USDA Inspection Numbers Horses Inspected Pre and Post-Show – 1,952 Total Violations – 110 Compliance Rate – 94% There was a 33% drop in violations from 2012 when the USDA found 166 violations for a 9% violation rate. In 2011, the USDA found 203 violations for a 9.5% violation rate.

2013 Celebration Industry Inspection Results Horses Inspected Pre and Post-Show – 2,087 Total Violations – 31 (30 horses, 6 non-Horse Protection Act violations) Compliance Rate – 98.4% There was a 46% drop in disqualifications this year compared to 2012 in which 56 horses were disqualified at The Celebration. Walking Horse Inspections Background The following is some background on the inspection process: • Every horse at The Celebration is inspected by SHOW HIO’s Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs). The USDA can and does inspect horses that the department feels need to be inspected. • Horses can be disqualified for equipment that is the wrong size, existence of a scar or callous, evidence of a foreign substance, among other things. There are many violations that a horse can get that are not indicative of soring. • DQPs are trained and regulated by the USDA. • DQPs can issue a violation, which keeps the horse from showing. Violations can also carry penalties. • No other breed in the equine industry is inspected as thoroughly as the Tennessee walking horse and no other breed has a compliance rate as high as the walking horse. • Walking horses are one of the healthiest equine breeds showing longer than most breeds, living longer and also less injuries in the ring. SHOW is the HIO that manages inspections at The Celebration, in partnership with the USDA. SHOW HIO has the strictest inspections in the walking horse industry, and the harshest penalties, even tougher than the USDA. Last year, reformers in the industry set out to get as many shows as possible inspected by one HIO and this year, which SHOW did for more than 85% of the walking horse shows were.

October 23, 2013 at 2:20 p.m.
icemotown said...

walkinman said..They changed the picture after my comment!!! The original picture had a flat shod horse with bands.

October 24, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.
amyinsparta said...

The walking horse industry-and that is what it is-should be held accountable for decades of animal abuse. This is one of the most disgusting examples in this country. And to what end? to say my horse can step higher than yours, and if it can't,then I'll do something to to it so that it will HAVE TO STEP HIGHER IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE PAIN! Those that do it should all be serving time in prison.

October 25, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
jesse said...

What amyinsparta said:

Anyone involved in walking horse activity's is a simple minded oaf in the same class as people who own a dog for the sole purpose of beating on it to feed their own lack of backbone!!

October 25, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
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