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Tennessee Walking Horse Soring Issue Developments


Statement from TWHBEA President Tracy Boyd

On May 27, 2013, President Tracy Boyd of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) posted a letter to his constituents supporting the Whitfield Amendment to the Horse Protection Act.

 “This past weekend, I made perhaps the toughest decision of my life… that carries potential ramifications for many of my friends… for immediate family members as well. I, along with six other members of the Executive Committee, voted to support H.R. 1518, better known as the Whitfield Amendment. That was on Saturday morning. Before lunch, our vote was not ratified by the TWHBEA Board of Directors. Presently, TWHBEA has taken no official stance on the proposed legislation. …As president of TWHBEA, I represent the oldest and largest membership driven organization in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

“TWHBEA has lost members in droves, and the brutal emails I have received tell me why. It is our reputation. It is soring. It is our image. My responsibility lies with TWHBEA and its 8,300 remaining members…

“I believe our modern-day padded show horses are cleaner than they’ve ever been. The problem is that nobody outside our industry believes it. And when you’ve lost the public, you have lost it all.

“For most of us, our show industry is more about people and families than it is about winning blue ribbons. It’s about the people, the fellowship, the family fun, the friendly competition. Let’s not lose sight of that.”
Read Boyd’s full statement at:
On May 28, 2013, The Tennessean published an article on Tracy Boyd's letter: “Horse Soring A Black Cloud: Association president calls for dramatic industry changes.” Read the article at:
On May 30, 2013 Frank Eichler, representing a group of performance horse advocates, sent a letter to TWHBEA stating their intent to purchase from TWHBEA the portion of the breed, including the performance horse, that would be eliminated by passage of the Whitfield Amendment, H.R. 1518. TWHBEA’s Executive Committee voted to endorse the Whitfield Amendment; however, their actions were not ratified by their International Board of Directors.
Read Eichler’s letter at:
On June 2, 2013, The Tennessean published another article: “Tennessee Walking Horse industry faces uncertain future: Ban on performance equipment would destroy industry, critics say.”

Read the full article at:

The article contains a video of horses in pasture and training at Winding Creek Stables in Kingston, TN. “For Terry Dotson, whose family owns 60 walking horses at Winding Creek, it’s this simple: The industry will either keep the special equipment or lose his multimillion-dollar investment in the breed.

‘It would destroy the industry. It would economically damage a lot of people. And it doesn’t solve the issue,’ Dotson said. “There has been no one who ever proved that a six-ounce bracelet or a rubber pad sores a horse. It’s public perception.’

“But it’s that perception that prompted the Lewisburg, Tenn.-based Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association executive committee to take an unheard-of step and vote last weekend to support the Horse Protection Act amendment. Far from killing the breed’s economic viability, they argued, it would help it shed broad-brush suspicion that’s been reducing their association’s numbers.”

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