The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration runs Aug. 20-30 in Shelbyville. New this year:
• Horses must be stabled on the Celebration grounds for 48 hours before championships.
• Each participant must present his or her horse’s registration papers, current health certificate and negative test for equine infectious anemia.
• Participants agree to random digital X-rays and blood draws on-site.
NASHVILLE — The battle for loyalties around the Tennessee walking horse becomes feverish this time of year.
On one side, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is starting to pepper media with announcements about what it will do to make sure there are no abused horses in its show ring at the end of this month. The horses will face blood tests for agents used in soring — injuring their legs on purpose to make them step higher and longer — and X-rays to check for hidden irritants.
And on the other side, the Humane Society of the United States last week rolled out its latest weapon — Dutch, a scarred Tennessee walking horse that, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation, appeared at auction in New Holland, Pa., still wearing the tall front shoes that mark the breed’s performance class. A livestock dealer who typically supplies Canadian slaughterhouses sold him to a horse rescue.
Read more from our news partners at The Tennessean.