Register of Merit

If you are finished showing for this season ------- IT IS TIME TO SEND IN YOUR "Register of Merit" POINT BOOK.

Please send the ROM Booklet to:

Sis Osborne
3079 Pulaski Hey
Cornersville, TN 37047

By sending your ROM directly to Sis you save both time and postage for WHOA as the WHOA Office will have to redirect your package thus delaying your return.

Thanks for your help thru out the year and don't forget to send SIS your current email. Send it even if you feel she has your email.

To reach Sis email her at:

If you would be interested in having a WHOA VERSATILITY SHOW in your area please let Sis know. Please include in your email, who might be willing to help in your area. There is always need for many workers such as; gate men or woman, ribbon girls, runners for sheets to the DQP, people to help take entries, AND of course folks to do the local pre-show work such as scouting out arenas and show and show facilities. All of these things are much needed and have to be decided on before the show.

With you being familiar with the local area you could help in this way.

How to Renew Online

Several members have experienced confusion regarding how to renew online.

To avoid this confusion, take a look at your WHOA membership card from last year.

If your membership number begins with an X, you do not yet have an online account, as you did not provide an e-mail address with your registration. To renew your membership and create an online account, click JOIN WHOA on the homepage, then choose the correct membership type and complete the process.

If your membership number does not begin with an X, an online account has ALREADY been created for you. You received your account information (username and password) last year in an e-mail. To renew your membership, DO NOT CLICK JOIN WHOA. This will create a whole new account and causes multiple problems. Instead, click MEMBER LOG IN at the top. Log in with the same username and password from last year, and you will get a message that says "Your membership has expired." and a button to RENEW NOW. Click this button, then follow the instructions on the Renewal page. Your username will always stay the same. Your password will not change unless you change it.

These instructions, and answers to other common questions, can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum

WHOA Officers, Board of Directors, Judges and Friends,

One of our goals for 2013 is to increase the public and industry awareness of the Museum and the benefits we feel it brings to the Tennessee Walking Horse. At the heart of our mission is educating the public about the rich agricultural, social and economic contributions the Tennessee Walking Horse has made to America over the past seventy-five plus years. This story is crucial in presenting the most positive image of the breed possible.

A concerted effort is being made to broaden participation in our organization by telling stories through artifacts of the incredible versatility of the Walking Horse. We are looking for artifacts related to all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse. We are also looking for people interested in serving on the Board of Directors and volunteers to work on various tasks at the Museum.

As Walking Horse Owners and Judges, you know some of the most colorful and interesting aspects of the Walking Horse story. Your input and participation is essential to the Museum’s success; after all, without you there would be no story to tell. We are currently trying to plan entertainment events which would feature story tellers and experts on the breed’s history. WHOA’s participation in this program would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us to schedule an event date.

The Museum was relocated to Wartrace in late 2010 and after many months of building renovations and fund raising, we finally opened the doors to the public in November of 2012.We receive no regular financial support for operating purposes from any breed interest group, private individual or public agency. We depend on small admission fees and donations to pay the cost of keeping our doors open.

The adverse publicity the Walking Horse has received during the past few years has hurt everyone in the industry including the Museum. We need your help to increase the awareness of the Museum by sharing our story with your members and by making any donation you can to help us continue our mission and maintain and grow the Museum in Wartrace, Tennessee which is known as the “Cradle of the Tennessee Walking Horse”. We need your help with collecting, preserving and providing public access to artifacts, documents and photographs which document the rich history of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Please help us and use us as a tool to promote your business.

Your donation can be made by sending a check to our address below.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Philip D. Gentry, President


501 (c) (3) Public Charity

TWHN Museum

PO Box 572

27 Main Street

Wartrace, TN 37183

WHOA Board votes not to accept TWSHO Proposal

The Walking Horse Owners Association Board of Directors met December 27, 2012 and voted not to accept the proposal recently submitted from TWSHO as written. WHOA also voted to keep the lines of communication open and to work on a counterproposal.  Another topic of discussion was the National High Point Awards Banquet scheduled for February 9, 2013. The weekend will also include a Judges training seminar scheduled for February 8.  Anyone interested in applying should contact Tommy Hall at 615-484-8822.

WHOA Endorses One Organization Concept

The Walking Horse Owners Association's Board of Directors met on Thursday November 29, 2012. The Board voted to move forward and endorse
the one group, one voice concept in response to the request from TWSHO earlier this month.  As an organization that represents owners from all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse, WHOA looks forward to working diligently toward the success of the One Organization concept.

HPA Final Rule – Penalty Protocol

United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737

July 19, 2012

Re: Final Rule, Docket #: APHIS-2011-0030

Dear Horse Industry Organizations and Associations:

On July 9, 2012, the final rule requiring horse industry organizations and associations (HIOs) to assess and enforce minimum penalties under the Horse Protection Act (HPA) became effective. APHIS notified the HIOs on June 8, 2012 that they must adopt the minimum penalty protocol as well as the appeals process described in this final rule and submit evidence of their compliance no later than July 9, 2012.

As of today, the following HIOs have submitted amended rulebooks showing that they will be following the new regulations: Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA), National Walking Horse Association (NWHA), FOSH (Friends of Sound Horses), Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA), International Walking Horse Association (IWHA), Oklahoma Walking Horse (OKA), Western International Walking Horse Association (WIWHA).

APHIS has not received amended rulebooks from the following HIOs: Sound Horse, Honest Judging, Objective Inspections, Winning Fairly (SHOW), Professional Regulation and Inspection for Dedicated Equestrians (PRIDE), Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (SSHBEA), Heart of America Walking Horse Association (HAWHA), Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA). Until the decertification process set forth in 9 C.F.R, § 11.7(g) is completed for the noncompliant HIOs, affiliation with them will not increase show management's liability. Please be advised, however, that USDA will continue its own efforts to enforce the HPA by conducting unannounced inspections at horse shows and focusing its inspection resources at unaffiliated shows and oversight of HIO Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) that pose an increased risk of noncompliance with the HPA.


Chester A. Gipson
Deputy Administrator
Animal Care

Cc. Dr. Rachel Cezar; National Horse Protection Coordinator

Click here to view the original memo. 

USDA Mandated Penalty Structure

The new USDA mandated penalty structure for 2012 will go into effect July 9, 2012. Click here to download this post as a PDF document.


Type First Offense Second Offense Third and Subsequent Offenses
Bi-lateral Sore 1 year 2 years 4 years
Unilateral Sore 60 days 120 days 1 year
Scar Rule 2 weeks 60 days 1 year
Foreign Substance Pre-Show Dismissed from show
Foreign Substance Post-Show 2 weeks and dismissed from show (except heel toe ratio - no 2 weeks)
Shoeing Violation Dismissed from show
Unruly/Fractious Dismissed from class but can return for inspection later in show
Suspension Violation 6 months additional suspension


For the violations listed in paragraph (c) of this section that require a suspension, any individuals who are responsible for showing the horse, exhibiting the horse, entering or allowing the entry of the horse in a show or exhibition, selling the horse, auctioning the horse, or offering the horse for sale or auction must be suspended. This may include, but may not be limited to, the manager, trainer, rider, custodian, or seller, as applicable. In addition, if the owner allowed any activity listed in this paragraph, the owner must be suspended as well.

HIO’s are required to have an approved appeal Process. For all appeals, the appeal would have to be granted and the case heard and decided by the HIO or the violator would have to begin serving the penalty within 60 days of the date of the violation. This would mean that an appeal would need to be filed and a decision made with respect to that appeal within 60 days. HIOs are required to submit decision of all appeals to the Department within 30 days after completion of appeal.

USDA Publishes Final Rule to Provide Greater Protection for Horses

Action Will Require Horse Industry Organizations to Assess Minimum Penalties for Violations

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012— The U.S. Department of Agriculture has amended regulations to require horse industry organizations that license certain people to assess minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act. The move by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which administers the Animal Welfare Act, is meant to help eliminate the inhumane practice of horse soring—a practice primarily used in the training of Tennessee Walking Horses, racking horses and related breeds to accentuate the horse’s gait. Horse soring may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals or the use of mechanical devices.

“Requiring minimum penalty protocols will ensure that these organizations and their designees remain consistent in their inspection efforts,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Rebecca Blue. “USDA inspectors cannot be present at every horse show and sale, so we work with industry organizations and their designees to ensure the wellbeing of these animals. Our goal, together, is to make horse soring a thing of the past.”

The regulations currently provide that such penalties will be set either by the horse industry organizations or by APHIS. This final rule does not change the penalties set forth in the Horse Protection Act, or HPA. Rather, it requires all APHIS-certified horse industry organizations, which have already been administering penalties as part of their role in enforcing the HPA, to make their penalties equal or exceed minimum levels. The penalties in this final rule increase in severity for repeat offenders to provide an additional deterrent effect for people who have already shown a willingness to violate the HPA.

The final rule will also help ensure a level playing field for competitors at all horse shows.  Previously, as some horse industry organizations have declined to issue sufficiently serious penalties to deter soring, those shows have attracted more competitors than shows where horse organizations have used APHIS’ minimum penalty protocols. With this final rule, competitors now know that inspections and enforcement will take place consistently at all shows they and their horses attend.

Designated qualified persons are trained and licensed by their horse industry organizations to inspect horses for evidence of soring or other noncompliance with the HPA at horse shows, exhibitions and sales. USDA certifies and monitors these inspection programs. For over 30 years, USDA has encouraged self-regulation in the industry by allowing individual organizations to assess penalties for soring violations. But a September 2010 Office of Inspector General audit found that APHIS’ program for allowing the industry’s self-regulation has not been adequate to ensure that these animals are not being abused. One of the recommendations in the audit report was for APHIS to develop and implement protocols to more consistently issue penalties with individuals who are found to be in violation of the HPA.

This final rule requires that suspensions for violating the HPA be issued to any individuals who are responsible for: showing a sore horse; exhibiting a sore horse; entering or allowing the entry of that horse in a show or exhibition; selling, auctioning or offering the horse for sale or auction; shipping, moving, delivering or receiving a sore horse with reason to believe that such horse was to be shown, exhibited, sold, auctioned or offered for sale. This includes the manager, trainer, rider, custodian, seller or owner of the horse, as applicable.

An individual who is suspended will not be permitted to show or exhibit any horse or judge or manage any horse show, horse exhibition or horse sale/auction for the duration of the suspension.

Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but in order to be successful in competition their natural gait is often exaggerated.  The exaggerated gait can be achieved with proper training and considerable time; however, some horse exhibitors, owners, and trainers have chosen to use improper training methods to achieve their desired ends.

In September 2010, USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found deficiencies in APHIS’ horse protection program. One of OIG’s recommendations was that APHIS develop and implement protocols to more consistently penalize individuals who have violated the Horse Protection Act. APHIS developed a minimum penalty protocol and, in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on May 27, 2011, proposed requirements to ensure all horse industry organizations follow it.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

David Sacks    (301) 851-4079
Lyndsay Cole  (970) 494-7410


WHOA Responds to ABC World News & Nightline

In response to recent reports on ABC World News and Nightline, the Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA) reaffirms its opposition to any violation of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) or any other mistreatment of any horse. WHOA continues to support and promote the use of humane training principles in all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and strongly supports fair and equal enforcement of the HPA to ensure only sound horses that are in compliance with government regulations are permitted to be shown, exhibited, or sold.

WHOA has been in existence since 1976, representing the interests of all Walking Horse Owners throughout the country and takes a strong stance against horse abuse of any kind.  The owners are the ultimate custodians of the horse, and as the owners group, we condemn any inhumane training practice.  We have made that very clear and will continue to reinforce that with our owners, trainers, and all other industry stakeholders.   WHOA is committed to cooperating with other industry groups to continue to promote professionalism, education and enforcement throughout the industry to this end.