Shelbyville, TN – Saturday night at the 2016 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration found 7 horses competing for the top prize: TWHNC World Grand Championship. One of the horses, a known sored horse named Honors, was being ridden by trainer Larry Edwards. As previously reported in June, Honors was fresh off a win at the Spring Jubilee where he won the top prize.
A Tennessee Walking Horse, named Honors, was found to have been sored in 2013 by USDA inspectors at the Shelbyville National Celebration with unilateral sore and inconsistent sore on the other foot, and scar rule on both feet. The crowd was visibly upset when Honors never entered the show ring and began leaving the stands in mass before the show was even over.
In 2014, Honors was found sored by USDA inspectors as he was coming out of the show ring. Reports indicate that Honors had received laser surgery to remove the scars on his legs after his 2013 disqualification.
The first time Honors was disqualified was in 2010 as a 2-year-old. Inspectors noted scurf on Honors legs and disqualified him from showing. Scurf is flaking skin that is the result of chemicals being applied to the horse’s legs to sore them. To prevent scurf from being observed, trainers take a very fine tooth metal comb and remove all the scurf they can.
In preparation for the 2016 show season Honors owner’s, Keith and Dan McSwain, were able to find a sympathetic judge. Just days before the Spring Jubilee in Columbia, TN, U.S. District Judge Richard Story ruled that the USDA could not disqualify Honors without a hearing where the McSwain’s could challenge the disqualification. The USDA did not attend the Spring Jubilee and no inspectors were present.
With Honors winning the World Grand Championship, those who are inclined to sore horses for the win are emboldened to do so. With enough money and power, a judge will be swayed into overriding the USDA’s inspectors and forcing the USDA to allow sored horses to compete at shows.
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773
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