DGAHA Club News
DGAHA President Ben Smith releases statement concerning the event which occurred at the February 4 DGAHA Open Horse Show.Download PDF version of the statement here
February 19, 2017
To: Whom it may concern
From: Ben Smith
President Dixie Gulf AHA
Subject: Incident at the Baker Arena on 02/04/17
On February 4, 2017, at approximately 5:00 PM, an incident occurred at the pavilion of the Baker Arena, during the D.G.A.H.A. Open Horse Show. I was not present at the show on that date due to medical problems. I have heard several rumors about the incident and allegations being made that do not appear to be correct.
One of the rumors indicated that a civilian had been threatening someone with a handgun. In speaking with two of the Board of Directors from BARA, who were on the scene, that rumor is not correct. I was advised that no one was threatened and that there were three Deputies from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office on the scene to investigate the incident. Having served approximately forty three (43) years in law enforcement, I can assure everyone that had anyone displayed, threatened or harassed anyone with a gun, the deputies would have arrested that person on the spot.
I would also like to remind everyone that there is currently a criminal investigation in progress by the Sheriff’s Office concerning this incident. In the event anyone has any eye witness testimony they would like to provide to the deputies conducting the investigation, I would suggest that you contact Deputy Joseph D. Sarment, call #138, and provide the information to him for his investigation, reference to case #OCSO17OOFF001368.
One last thing, I want everyone to remember is that rumors are not necessarily facts and should not be spread. I also want everyone to remember that as long as there is an ongoing investigation, the information concerning the incident is, by law, confidential. Once all of the facts are known and the criminal investigation is finalized then, and only then, is the information made public. Again I would ask that all of the rumors, innuendoes and Facebook posts, concerning this incident, STOP.
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USDA Announces Changes Aimed at Ending the Inhumane Practice of Horse Soring
Below was published by the USDA Jan 13, 2017. See original official USDA website announcement here
January 13, 2017--WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced a final rule that includes changes that will help to protect horses from the cruel and inhumane practice known as soring and eliminate the unfair competitive advantage that sore horses have over horses that are not sore. The practice of soring is intended to produce a high stepping gait through the use of action devices, caustic chemicals, and other practices that cause horses to suffer, or reasonably be expected to suffer physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking or moving.
APHIS enforces the Horse Protection Act (HPA), a Federal law that makes it unlawful for any person to show, exhibit, sell, or transport sore horses, or to use any equipment, device, paraphernalia, or substance prohibited by USDA to prevent the soring of horse in such events. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to eliminate such inhumane practices and the resulting unfair competition they create at HPA-covered events.
The final rule addresses recommendations made by the USDA's Office of Inspector General following an audit of APHIS' horse protection program, which found the existing industry-led inspection program to be inadequate for ensuring compliance with the HPA. The rule also seeks to address the substantial noncompliance that continues to exist among Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses and the relationship that continues to exist between the use of certain prohibited items and soring in horses, such as the use of permitted action devices alone or in conjunction with prohibited substances.
Under the final regulation-
- APHIS will license, train, and oversee independent, third party inspectors, known as Horse Protection Inspectors (HPIs), and establish the licensing eligibility requirements to reduce conflicts of interest.
- To allow sufficient time to train and license HPIs and ensure an adequate number before the start of the 2018 show season, current Designated Qualified Person (DQP) licenses will remain valid until January 1, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2018, management of horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions that elect to use inspection services, must appoint and retain a HPI to inspect horses.
- Beginning January 1, 2018, the regulatory provisions applicable to Horse Industry Organization and Associations are removed and are no longer effective.
- Beginning 30 days after the publication of the final rule, all action devices, except for certain boots, are prohibited on any Tennessee Walking Horse or racking horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction. All pads and wedges are prohibited on any Tennessee Walking Horse or racking horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction on or after January 1, 2018, unless such horse has been prescribed and is receiving therapeutic, veterinary treatment using pads or wedges. This delayed implementation allows ample time to both gradually reduce the size of pads to minimize any potential physiological stress to the horses and prepare horses to compete in other classes.
- Beginning January 1, 2018, management of HPA-covered events must, among other things, submit certain information records to APHIS, provide HPIs with access, space, and facilities to conduct inspections, and have a farrier physically present to assist HPIs at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions that allow Tennessee Walking Horses or racking horses to participate in therapeutic pads and wedges if more than 150 horses are entered, and have a farrier on call if 150 or fewer horses are entered.
Congress passed the HPA to end the cruel and inhumane practice of soring horses and stop unfair competition. Strenghtening the HPA regulations and the enforcement of alleged violations is the best way to achieve this goal. In addition, the prohibitions on the use of action devices and pads (with certain exceptions) are consistent with recommendations made by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and leading industry standards for equestrian sports.
This final rule will be publish in the Federal Register in the coming days. A copy of the rule that was submitted to the Federal Register can be viewed here.
The changes regarding the prohibitions on the use of action devices and associated lubricants for exhibitors of Tennessee Walking horses and racking horses, along with the training and licensing of inspectors will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rest of the rule will be effective January 1, 2018.
Williamsons have Success at 2016 Youth Nationals
Kelvin, Karlissa, and Keenan Williamson competed in the 2016 Youth Nationals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kelvin and A Roan Star Chic took a Reserve Championship in Limited Reined Cow Horse. Klarissa and Nascar took 2 top tens. Keenan was a finalist in all 3 of his classes on Centerfold. We are very proud of the Williamson children and they can be very proud of their accomplishments at the Youth Nationals!
Reese Williamson's Boldaciouss to be Honored
During the Dixie Gulf Ruffout on Saturday night, October 1, 2016, we will be having a presentation of the Legion of Honor for Reese Williamson's horse Boldaciouss and his retirement. Join us in a celebration of Bold's career achievements.