June 9, 2006 — Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) has analyzed data from over 2,800 suspensions imposed by the USDA and Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) under the Horse Protection Operating Plans since 2002. Horse Protection Act (HPA) violations that resulted in the suspensions include soring, scarring, pressure shoeing and the use of foreign substances on horses’ legs.
Some interesting facts have been highlighted through analysis of the data:
- The actual number of violations was 35 percent higher in 2005 than in the previous three years’ average.
- During the four year period 2002-2005, over 450 people were suspended for multiple violations.
- Almost 70 percent of the reported violations resulted from shows held in four states. Tennessee shows had the most violations, with 39 percent, followed by Kentucky shows with 14 percent, Alabama with 9 percent, and North Carolina with 6 percent.
- Sixteen of the directors serving terms during 2005 for the national breed registry, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA), were suspended at some point during the 2002-2005 period. (Note: Under 2005 TWHBEA by-laws, only USDA suspensions disqualify seated directors; HIO suspensions do not result in disqualifications.)
- Twenty-two of the 25 trainers honored as 2005 top performers at the Riders Cup competition, a combined program with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and Walking Horse Report, were suspended at some point during the 2002-2005 period.
- The violations most frequently leading to suspensions were scarring (35 percent) and soring, including violations involving one or both front legs (52 percent).
Of the Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) reporting this data, 93 percent of the violations were reported by two HIOs. The National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) had 72 percent of the violations. NHSC is the dominant Tennessee Walking Horse show organization, reporting just under 50 percent of the show entries during this period. Although TWHBEA recently discontinued its alliance with NHSC, the breed registry is one of three industry organizations that formed and managed the NHSC from 1990 through 2005. The Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA) had 21 percent of the violations.
Specific data about the HPA and soring violations can be requested from the USDA APHIS Horse Protection Coordinator, Dr. Todd Behre, 4700 River Road, Suite 6A02-7, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-5784.
FOSH is a national leader in the promotion of natural, sound gaited horses and in the fight against abuse and soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. For more information, visit www.fosh.info.