One can only imagine the reaction of the crowd at the Walking Horse Celebration on Saturday night (September 2, 2006) when it was announced that there would be no grand champion class after ten days of showing.
The world's largest show for Tennessee Walking Horses had already been shut down for more than 28 hours the week before following a confrontation between USDA inspectors and trainers. The show had resumed, but the inspectors had the last call, so to speak, when inspectors rejected the majority of finalists for the grand championship on the grounds that they could not pass federally-mandated regulations defining how to identify a horse that has been made "sore" with chemicals or treatment to the pastern and/or pressure shoeing.
The three horses that did pass inspection were not shown. Whether this was voluntary or they were bribed is possibly a bigger concern right now than the condition of the horses themselves.
According to the Walking Horse Report newspaper, several trainers of horses that had been declared sore then went into a schooling arena and had a mock show for assembled fans.
One trainer said he took his horse directly back to the barn because he feared for his safety. Show ring officials had to be escorted by law enforcement, according to the WHR.
Reports from The Tennessean and Walking Horse Report were used to compile this summary. The New York Times even reported on this embarrassing event in the horse show world.