TWH Celebration Advisory Committee Lists Rule Changes

The Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) has announced several rule changes for the 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) National Celebration, which takes place annually and is the premier event for the breed industry.

The new rules require all horses participating in championship events to be stabled on Celebration grounds 48 hours before the championship exhibitions take place. New rules also mandate that any digital X rays and blood samples taken are collected on site and under the supervision of VAC-appointed licensed equine veterinarians. Finally, the new rules require that registration papers, as well as a current health certificate and proof of negative Coggins testing, be presented before any horse is admitted to the Celebration grounds.

In a written statement, VAC Chairman Jerry Johnson, DVM, said the new rules are intended to protect the horses participating the Celebration: “Our primary mission is to protect the horse and set a gold standard which hopefully will be embraced and utilized by the industry for the future.”

However, Teresa Bippen, president of Friends of Sound Horses, does not believe the new regulations will have much impact on Walking Horse welfare.

“The most important step they could take to make a difference is to pull shoes and pads to check for pressure soring on the winners of all the performance classes,” Bippen opined.

Also, she said, the new regulations will be overseen by a committee hired by Celebration management: “The registrations, digital X rays, and blood draws will be in the hands of a veterinary committee hired by show management. Their independence has not been verified.”

The VAC recommendations can be viewed online

The 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is slated to take place Aug. 20–30 in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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