DGAHA Club News

Recent changes to Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Laws


In 2012, President Obama introduced a bill entitled “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” that was then enacted by Congress. The law included many provisions intended to help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in its mission to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. A part of this bill included a provision requiring the FMSCA to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELD’s) on commercial vehicles used for hauling.

View more all ELD Law information here


The introduction of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate brought to light concerns about Commercial Driver’s license (CDL) requirements from the entire equine community. The AHC put together the following information to act as a guide for those hauling horses both commercially and as an individual.

View more all CDL Law information here

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.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith
6120 Barnes Road
Crestview, Fl. 32536
Phone 1-850-682-3133
Sandra Sherman
6013 Jesse Allen Road
Milton, Fl. 32570
Phone: 1-850-623-6321
Vice President:
Tim Ross
841 Melton Rd.
Baker, Florida 32531
Phone: 1-850-897-5670
Mark Todd
1006 Shalimar Point Dr.
Shalimar, Fl. 32579
Phone: 1-850-651-2020

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-

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.