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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Walking Horses May Have a 2006 World Champion After All

The Associated Press reported this afternoon that the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association has organized a last-minute championship show for Thanksgiving weekend. The news was first reported in, oddly enough, the International Herald Tribune. One can only imagine what people in Paris and Prague and Stockholm thought of the report.

Only three of nine finalist horses at the recent Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee were allowed to compete; the other six were turned down by USDA veterinarians and inspectors, who said that their inspections found that the horses' feet or pasterns showed signs of "soring" and were in violation of the Horse Protection Act.

The three horses that did pass inspection never made it into the ring because an angry owner of a disqualified horse offered to pay them not to go in. Earlier in the show, classes had been cancelled for more than 24 hours after disagreements between trainers and inspectors erupted.

Called the Tennessee Walking Horse Invitational, the new show will be held at the Tennessee Miller Stadium, which I think is in Nashville; it will have 50 classes and a purse for the grand champion of $15,000. Horses must first pass inspection before they can compete.

Check the archives for August 2006 to read more about the fireworks at the Celebration.

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