AMHA Comments to USDA

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Jeff Grove, AMHA President recently released an official comment relating to the new proposed USDA rules and the Horse Protection Act. The following is the released statement:

American Morgan Horse Association
4066 Shelburne Rd, Suite 5
Shelburne, VT 05482
T: (802) 985-4944
F: (802) 985-8897

October 19, 2016

Submitted Electronically via Regulations.gov

Dr. Kay Carter-Corker
Assistant Deputy Administrator
APHIS-2011-0009
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

RE: Docket No. APHIS-2011-0009 Horse Protection: Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments

Dear Dr. Carter-Corker:

This letter is in response to the United States Department of Agriculture’s request for comments on the proposed horse protection rule regarding the Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments that appeared in the Federal Register on July 26, 2016 (“proposed rule”)(81 FR 49112). The American Morgan Horse Association Inc. (AMHA) exists to preserve, promote, perpetuate the Morgan horse. Founded in 1909, the Morgan Horse Club (as it was then called) was formed to support the Morgan breed. The club grew and evolved and in 1971 underwent a reorganization and was renamed the American Morgan Horse Association to reflect its increasing responsibilities. The newly formed association offices were in Hamilton, New York, for a number of years with brief moves to both New Hartford and Westmoreland, New York. In 1988, the Association established its headquarters in Shelburne, Vermont.
Today there are approximately 90,000 living Morgans registered with AMHA. The Association carries out administration, promotion and education for the benefit of its members and the breed. AMHA serves approximately 7,000 active members, 50 recognized clubs, and 20 youth clubs.
On behalf of its membership, AMHA appreciates the opportunity to provide comments and additional information to assist APHIS in its development of the proposed rule to ensure it protects horse welfare, reflects the needs of the show horse industry and is consistent with the intent and language of the Horse Protection Act (“HPA”). AMHA is supportive of APHIS’ intention to protect the integrity of the inspection system and strengthen existing requirements to prevent the cruel and inhumane practice of soring, however; AMHA cannot support the proposed rule as drafted. AMHA feels the proposed rule exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority under the HPA and contains a number of provisions with vague language that may result in confusion, uncertainty and unintended detrimental impacts to trotting breeds that have no history of soring. To prevent these outcomes, AMHA believes the following modifications and clarifications must be made to ensure the proposed rule remains within the confines of the statutory authority granted by Congress, is easily understood by AMHA’s members, and is consistently applied by APHIS:

● Removal of the undefined and ambiguous terms “related breeds” and “related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring”;

● Clarification that the prohibition on substances (including, but not limited to, topical antibiotic cream, liniment, and fly spray) will continue only to apply to breeds with a history of soring, namely the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse;

● Clarification that pads, wedges and bands will only be prohibited for breeds with a history of soring, namely the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse.

● Recognition that the breeds affiliated with the USEF should not be subject to an additional and redundant level of oversight under the proposed rules.
As explained in more detail below, the HPA is clearly directed at soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries, as those are the only breeds where “soreness improves the performance” of the horse. Expansion of the regulations to trotting breeds that have no history of soring, and which, in fact, have an incentive to prevent soring, has no rational basis, is contrary to Congressional intent and the plain language of the HPA, would waste scarce Agency resources and is vulnerable to legal challenges that would unnecessarily delay implementation of the rule.
AMHA also is concerned the proposed rule as drafted will have a significant economic impact on trotting breeds that have no history of soring. APHIS appears to be operating under the incorrect impression that the proposed rules will not affect the trotting horse industry. As a result, the regulatory impact analysis is factually and legally insufficient, as it fails to account for hundreds of millions of dollars of annual impacts on breeds other than walking and racking horses, and does not properly recognize that the proposed rule as drafted is “economically significant.” Economically significant rules, such as the current draft of the proposed rule, are classified by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) as Major Rules and such rules require a more detailed cost-benefit analysis. The failure to perform such analysis not only results in an uninformed, arbitrary and capricious rule, it leaves the agency open to reversal by the courts.
Finally, AMHA wishes to expresses its support for the comments filed by the American Horse Council, Dr. Scott Bennett and Dr. Clif Paulsen, among others. AMHA recognizes that APHIS has received many comments and therefore focuses its comments on the application of the proposed rule to trotting breeds, which have a distinct interest in this rulemaking docket.

I. As Currently Drafted, the Proposed Rule Exceeds USDA’s Statutory Authority Under the Horse Protection Act
The HPA was enacted by Congress in 1970 and amended in 1976 to eliminate the soring of horses, as Congress found the practice was inhumane and horses which are sore compete unfairly with horses that are not sore. 15 U.S.C. § 1822. The enactment of the HPA was based on the well-documented history of soring in Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Soring in the walking house industry is aimed at producing an exaggerated show gait for competition, known as the “Big Lick.” While this gait can be obtained through legitimate methods, some trainers may sore a horse in an attempt to produce a similar, but more exaggerated, gait. Such a gait is possible to be displayed without obvious lameness because these horses are shown at a running walk, as they are incapable of trotting. There is really no question that soring horses to obtain a specific gait, and therefore a competitive advantage, is the precise practice Congress sought to prohibit through enactment of the HPA, and should be the focus of the proposed regulations.
The plain language of the HPA makes the intent of Congress crystal clear:
Congress finds and declares that–
(1) the soring of horses is cruel and inhumane; [and]
(2) horses shown or exhibited which are sore, where such soreness improves the performance of such horse, compete unfairly with horses which are not sore;
15 U.S.C. § 1822.
Courts have also noted this fact, finding that the “Horse Protection Act is directed against the practice of deliberately ‘soring’ Tennessee Walking Horses.”1 Indeed, even APHIS has recognized this clear intent on its own website: “Congress found and declared that the soring of horses is cruel and inhumane, and that sored horses, when shown or exhibited, compete unfairly with horses that are not sore.” (Exhibit 1.) APHIS and the trotting horse industry have long known that soring does not occur in horses that trot, as the lameness would be obvious in a horse shown at a trot. In such competitions, a sored horse would be disqualified or would finish last. Indeed, the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds are not eligible to participate in USEF sponsored or sanctioned competitions, as the breeds are not recognized by USEF due to their history of soring. The HPA regulations enacted in 1979 note the Congressional mandate by specifically identifying the breeds where inspections to prevent soring is required:
The management of every horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction, containing Tennessee Walking Horses or racking horses, shall provide, without fee, sufficient space and facilities for APHIS representatives to carry out their duties under the Act and regulations at every horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction, containing Tennessee Walking Horses or racking horses, whether or not management has received prior notification or otherwise knows that such show may be inspected by APHIS.
9 C.F.R. § 11.6 (emphasis added).
Even in the text of the proposed rule itself, APHIS appears to recognize that events where soreness does not improve the performance of a horse are not within the intent of Congress to be covered by the HPA. However, the proposed rule does so selectively and arbitrarily by excluding only “events where speed is the prime factor, rodeo events, parades, or trail rides” from the definitions of a “horse exhibition” and “horse show”. Section 11.1. APHIS provides no rationale or reason why such events would be excluded under the proposed rule, but horse shows, where a horse is shown at a trot – events where, like a race, a trainer has an overwhelming incentive to prevent soring – are not excluded.
The law is unambiguous that “[w]here Congress has established a clear line, the agency cannot go beyond it.”2 The recent 2015 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Contender Farms is instructive as to the clear limits of USDA authority under the HPA. In Contender Farms, the Court found USDA’s final rule creating a mandatory, private enforcement scheme administered by Horse Industry Organizations was “plainly outside the USDA’s statutory authority.” Key to the Court’s analysis was the clear intent of Congress and the plain language of the HPA. Here there can be no doubt that Congress enacted the HPA for a clear, specific purpose – to eliminate the inhumane practice of soring of horses where horses that are sore compete unfairly with horses that are not sore. 15 U.S.C. § 1822. However, as drafted the proposed rule crosses the line and exceeds the Congressional grant of authority by seeking to regulate activities where soreness is a detriment, not a benefit. AMHA urges APHIS to stick to its mission from Congress to eliminate soring by focusing on the breeds in which soring actually occurs: the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse.

II. APHIS should eliminate the undefined and ambiguous terms “related breeds” and “related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring”
Of significant concern to AMHA and its members is the proposed rule’s expansion of the breeds covered by the HPA regulations to “related breeds” and “related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring.”3 These undefined terms are impermissibly vague on their face as they could include any horse breed, subjecting industries with no history of soring or incentive to sore to the HPA regulations. The proposed rules fail to provide any limitation as to how closely a breed must be related to Tennessee Walking Horses or Racking Horses, what type of accentuated gaits raise concerns about soring, what process will be used to determine whether a particular accentuated gait raises concerns about soring or even who will make this determination. Any horse with a naturally accentuated gait or even one that simply has a high step is potentially at risk of being subject to the proposed rule. Such ambiguity not only undermines efficient enforcement of the regulations by requiring costly and unnecessary litigation over whether a particular breed is a “related breed,” it threatens the validity of the rule itself.
The HPA regulations have long focused specifically on the Tennessee Walking Horse and Racking Horses. 9 C.F.R. Part 11. The reason for this focus was clearly stated by APHIS when it promulgated the final 1979 HPA regulations: “It has been the Department’s experience over the past 7 or 8 years that the types of horses usually subjected to soring practices has been the Tennessee Walking Horses and, to a lesser extent, racking horses.” 44 FR 25175 (Exhibit 2, emphasis added).
If, based on APHIS’ experience in the last 37 years, it believes additional breeds should be included under the HPA regulations the solution is clear: it should simply identify those breeds. This could easily be accomplished by identifying the breeds to be covered as a defined term or simply including the breeds in the place of the terms: “related breeds” and “related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring.” Breeds not intended to be covered, such as trotting breeds, should be specifically excluded from the application of the proposed regulations. Such an approach ensures the scope of HPA regulations apply to breeds where “soreness improves the performance” of the horse – the stated intent of Congress.
AMHA believes the intent of APHIS is to continue to focus its enforcement on the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries, where soring is known to occur. However, the use of the term “related breeds” muddies the regulatory waters making it unclear which breeds are covered and which are not. Such ambiguity regarding the applicability of the regulations themselves is unacceptable. AMHA urges APHIS to revise the proposed rule to eliminate this undefined and ambiguous term.

A. Unlike Walking and Racking horses, trotting breeds have no history of soring or any incentive to sore a horse
Morgan Horses, American Saddlebreds, Hackneys, National Show Horses, Arabian Horses, Friesians, Shetlands, and Roadster Horses are judged at the trot in competition. Any unsoundness, or soreness, produces an uneven and unattractive trotting gait that would be severely penalized in competition, which is why the aforementioned breeds have never been sored, or been subject to APHIS inspections under the HPA regulations. In these breeds, it is simply not the case that “soreness improves the performance”; it does the exact opposite.
This fact was eloquently illustrated by Smith Lilly, professional horse trainer and Vice President of the United Professional Horseman’s Association (UPHA) at a public hearing on the proposed rule:
On the other hand, American Saddlebreds, Arabians, Morgans, Hackneys, Friesians, Shetlands, Dutch Harness Horses, Roadsters and National Show Horses, the breeds represented by UPHA, all trot in the show ring. The trot is a two-beat diagonal gait in which each front leg and the diagonal hind leg strike the ground together and at an equal interval from the corresponding pair of legs. Any unsoundness, or soreness, produces an uneven and unattractive way of going at the trot that would be severely penalized in the show ring, which is why none of the aforementioned breeds have ever been found to have been sored, or subject to inspections under the HPA. Not only is there no incentive to sore a trotting horse, there is a strong disincentive to do so.
There can be no doubt that the trainers of these breeds have an overwheling incentive to prevent soring.
The HPA was enacted to prevent soring which “improves the performance” of a horse causing it to “compete unfairly with horses which are not sore.” 15 U.S.C. § 1822. This situation only occurs in a few breeds of horses that are not shown at the trot, namely: the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse. Soring clearly does not improve the
performance of a trotting breed. The term “related breed” should be removed as there is no rational basis for including trotting breeds under the proposed rule.

B. AMHA, as well as all breeds represented by the UPHA, are also affiliated with the USEF, the national governing body for equestrian sport, and therefore, show under its rules. The proposed rules would substantially increase costs without any increase to the welfare of the horses.
The USEF, the national governing body for equestrian sport, has enacted detailed rules for the showing of horses in the more than 2,500 events it sanctions. The USEF oversees events for 11 breeds and 18 disciplines of horses and strictly enforces prohibitions of any type of equine abuse, including but not limited to soring. With $18,000,000 dedicated annually to enforcement of its Welfare and Drug and Medication rules, the USEF and the breeds it represents have proven to be leaders in self-regulation.
Notable for this rulemaking, the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds withdrew from the USEF over a generation ago, and do not operate under its governance, hence the need for the HPA. The USEF rules specifically recognize this, stating multiple times that the “Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, or Spotted Saddle Horse” are not breeds recognized by the USEF. GR839(4)(n). Not being recognized by the USEF means these breeds are not bound by the strict Welfare and Drug and Medication rules with which all trotting breeds must comply.

The proposed rule’s use of the expansive terms “related breeds” and “related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring” results in the rule potentially being applicable to breeds competing in USEF-sanctioned events. The expansion of the HPA regulations would result in a duplication of efforts and an increase in costs with no corresponding increase to the welfare of the horses. Hundreds of small community shows, many of which are staffed by unpaid volunteers, would be heavily impacted by the burdensome requirements in the proposed rules.

C. Clarification of the proposed rule to address breeds where soring improves performance prevents the waste of scarce agency resources
Congress has provided an appropriation of only $500,000 per year for enforcement of the HPA. APHIS should not squander its limited taxpayer funds by enacting broad, sweeping regulations that cause significant economic impacts on a segment of the industry where there is not only no history of any violations of the HPA, but an actual incentive to ensure no soreness exists. The report by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, which is the impetus for this rulemaking, noted that APHIS’ budget was only sufficient to send inspectors to 30 horse shows. (OIG Report) Inspecting horse shows of “related breeds” that already operate under the auspices of USEF governance and which do not sore horses would be a waste of APHIS’ limited resources.
Rather, APHIS should stick to its mission and focus its efforts on strictly enforcing the HPA in the three breeds where soring exists and where there is an incentive to sore horses to unfairly improve their performance. Maintaining this focus is undeniably the clear, stated intent of Congress and is consistent with the plain language of the HPA. AMHA urges APHIS to remove the ambiguous term “related breed” and target its proposed rule on the few breeds where the cruel practice of soring is actually occurring.

III. The prohibition of all substances (including, but not limited to, topical antibiotic cream, liniment and fly spray) is overly broad, lacking in common sense and without scientific justification, as some substances are therapeutic in nature and have a legitimate, beneficial use.
The proposed rule repeats history by creating a broad prohibition on substances that is widely applicable to horse shows that have no history of soring. In addressing concerns raised regarding a similar provision that appeared in the 1979 proposed rule, the USDA specifically stated when it enacted the final rule:
Other comments indicated that the proposed restriction places an unnecessary burden on most horse shows and exhibitions by prohibiting the use of fly sprays, grooming aides, etc., on the vast majority of horses. It was further pointed out that since soring is only prevalent in one or two breeds of horses, placing such restrictions upon all horses was unwise and unfair. The Department agrees that this comment and objection has some validity. It has been the Department’s experience over the past 7 or 8 years that the types of horses usually subjected to soring practices has been the Tennessee Walking Horses and, to a lesser extent, racking horses. The Department has therefore changed paragraph (c), “Substances”, to read: “All substances are prohibited on the extremities above the hoof, of any Tennessee Walking Horse or racking horse, while being shown, * * *” and is thus limiting the prohibition concerning the use of substances to Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses.
44 FR 25175 (emphasis added)(attached as Exhibit 2).

The USDA’s statement and the industry’s concerns in 1979 are as relevant now as they were then. Soring has remained limited to specific breeds of horses and the nearly 40 years of additional experience APHIS has gained since this time only reinforces the determination that there is no benefit to prohibiting these substances in breeds where the practice of soring does not occur. The expansion of the prohibition in the proposed rule to the undefined “related breeds” would not only have a substantial negative economic impact on trotting horse industry, it would actually harm the very horses APHIS is trying to protect.
Substances such as topical antibiotic cream, liniment and fly spray have no inherent connection to the practice of soring. These substances were all developed to improve the welfare of horses by lessening pain, improving the treatment of disease and eliminating irritants. Indeed, the primary purpose of these substances is to help, not harm, horses. Applying the prohibition on these substances to trotting breeds is arbitrary and capricious and wholly unsupported by any scientific or practical evidence. While the proposed rule notes that there has been misuse of substances in some breeds, this misuse is limited to “HPA-covered events featuring Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, or related breeds at which horse industry DQPs conducted inspections.” The use of substances in trotting breeds is strictly regulated by USEF’s Drug and Medication rules and there is no rational basis or scientific justification to expand the prohibition to trotting breeds.
The blanket prohibition on substances in the proposed rule also conflicts with the very definition of “sore” in the HPA. The HPA defines “sore” to specifically exempt the “application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.” 15 U.S.C. § 1821(3) (emphasis added). The use of topical antibiotic cream, liniment and fly spray in trotting horses is for therapeutic purposes and the proposed rule’s failure to exempt the use of substances for these purposes is in direct conflict with the plain language of the HPA.

IV. The prohibition on pads, wedges and hoof bands should be removed as the use of pads, wedges, and hoof bands in many breeds and disciplines is both justified and warranted

AMHA is particularly concerned about the prohibition of “any pad, wedge, or hoof band” in the proposed rule. Section 11.2(a)(2). Key to the concern is the fact that the prohibition applies not only to Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses, but also any “related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring.”

AMHA recognizes that shoeing devices such as stacks have been misused by some in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries to sore horses. However, that does not justify banning the use of pads by trotting horse breeds. Pads used by trotting breeds play an important therapeutic role in preventing lameness, as they absorb the concussive forces produced when the horse’s hoof strikes the ground. Pads are particularly important when a horse is ridden on hard ground. The role of pads on such horses is akin to shoes on a human; a professional basketball player would not be expected to play barefoot. Certain pads are also specifically used by veterinarians and horse trainers to prevent or treat pedal osteitis, thin soles, bruising and a variety of other conditions and diseases. Other forms of therapeutic treatment to prevent or relieve pain, such as the use of packing materials necessary to prevent materials coming between the pad and the hoof or roller motion shoes, may also fall within this broad ban.4

A recent article in September 2016 edition of The Horse Magazine titled “Hoof Pads: What are They Good For?” provides detailed information about the proper use of pads that APHIS should consider. The article notes that the various types of pads, such as full wedge pads, bar wedge pads, frog support pads, flat pads, pour-in pads, rim pads and full-support pads serve different therapeutic purposes. “Wedge pads, for example, can be used to artificially raise the hoof angle when conformation or injury needs assistance.” Such pads are helpful in cases where the hoof angle is low relative to the pastern angle.
Based on the explanatory text of the proposed rule, APHIS appears to be under the impression that the proposed ban of pads, wedges and hoof bands “would not have any impact” on the majority of horse shows. However, this impression seems to be based on the horse shows which APHIS currently inspects, those containing Tennessee Walking and Racking Horses. The Agency’s impression is simply wrong about the impact on horse shows where trotting breeds compete.
Banning pads, wedges and hoof bands in trotting breeds, which are used for therapeutic treatment rather than soring, would significantly harm the welfare of horses. Eliminating these tools for the trotting breeds would create an epidemic of lameness and fundamentally alter the way of going of performance horses throughout the show horse world. Trotting breeds would likely suffer from significantly increased risk of injury and ailments to their feet, knees, tendons and hips that could have been prevented. In addition to harming the very horses APHIS is trying to help, the proposed rule as drafted would result in substantial irreparable damage to a multi-billion dollar industry.

AMHA believes that the prohibition of “pads, wedges and hoof bans” must be removed from the proposed rule and the term “related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring” must be removed or clearly defined to exclude trotting breeds.

V. Without the requested clarification, the proposed rule will have a significant economic impact on breeds that have no history of soring
There are estimated to be 2.7 million show horses in the U.S., with the owners ranging from small rural farms to large commercial breeding farms.5 The show horse industry alone creates more than 380,000 jobs and contributes an estimated $28.8 billion annually to the national economy. Show horse sales total $519 million per year and show horse owners spend more than $573 million annually on medicine, shoeing and veterinary services. Any impacts to this industry would be significant.
The trotting horse industry has no history of soring horses, yet would be significantly impacted if the proposed rule is not clarified. Under the proposed rule, the industry would be required to expend significant resources to comply with rules that are largely duplicative of those enforced by the USEF. Prohibiting the use of pads and hoof bands in trotting breeds would unalterably change the performance of these breeds and drastically devalue their worth, causing irreparable harm to the industry.
Finally, and most importantly, the ban on substances such as topical antibiotic cream, liniment and fly spray and devices such as pads, wedges and hoof bands would result in increased risk of illness and injury to thousands of horses. The economic results would be devastating and would cause irreparable damage to the trotting horse industry.
USDA’s conclusory regulatory impact analysis looks at the impacts on only a sliver of the industry and fails to account for impacts on any breeds other than walking and racking horses. This results in a failure to properly weigh the costs and benefits of the proposed rule. When the full ramifications are considered, there is no question that the proposed rule is “economically significant.” Under OMB rules, economically significant rules require a more detailed cost-benefit analysis to be performed. The failure to perform such analysis not only results in an uninformed, arbitrary and capricious rule, it leaves the agency open to reversal by the courts.

A. The regulatory impact analysis is factually and legally insufficient, as it fails to account for impacts on any breeds other than walking and racking horses
Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 require agencies to provide to the public and OMB a careful and transparent analysis of the anticipated consequences of economically significant regulatory actions. The purpose of the analysis “is to inform agency decisions in advance of regulatory actions and to ensure that regulatory choices are made after appropriate consideration of the likely consequences.”6 The important goals of a regulatory analysis are to establish whether federal regulation is necessary and justified and clarify how to design regulations in the most efficient, least burdensome, and most cost-effective manner. The regulatory impact analysis prepared for this rule simply does not comply with OMB requirements, as it fails to account for impacts on any breeds other than walking and racking horses.
As noted previously, therapeutic substances and pads play an important role in preventing and treating lameness in jumping and trotting horses. Sickness or injury, such as pedal osteitis, can result in the total inability of a horse to continue to compete and loss of all value at sale. Considering that a single show horse can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars, the impact of the proposed rule would be astronomical.
Further, it is likely that thousands of horse owners would decide not to attend shows where their horses face an increased risk of illness or injury. Any decrease in owner participation in horse shows would have serious financial consequences to show venues and all the ancillary businesses that provide the services necessary to make a horse show a success. Those horses continuing to compete under the proposed rule would see increased lameness and injury occurring during shows, which would have negative consequences on the show horse industry.
The increased costs of injuries and illnesses, much less decreased owner participation, have not been considered by APHIS. The regulatory analysis is wholly insufficient and fails to recognize these costs.

B. The regulatory impact analysis fails to properly recognize that the proposed rule is “economically significant”
A regulatory action is considered “economically significant” under Executive Order 12866 § 3(f)(1) if it is likely to result in a rule that may have: “an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.” When the full effects of the proposed rule are taken into account, it is clear the proposed rule meets this definition. Even a one-half of one percent decrease to the show horse industry would result in the proposed rule easily meeting the definition.

AMHA urges APHIS to take into consideration all the benefits and costs of the proposed rule, as it is required to do, to prevent unnecessary challenges to its process of promulgating the proposed rule.

Conclusion

AMHA believes strongly that the welfare of horses is paramount and supports APHIS’ intention to eliminate soring the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries. However, AMHA strongly urges APHIS to stay on mission. As currently drafted, the proposed rule would expand the regulations to trotting breeds that have no history of soring, and which have an incentive to prevent soring. Expanding the proposed rule to the undefined class of “related breeds” is contrary to Congressional intent and the plain language of the HPA, would waste scarce agency resources and is vulnerable to legal challenges that would unnecessarily delay implementation of the rule.
AMHA and its members therefore recommend removal of the undefined and ambiguous term “related breeds” and clarification that the prohibition on substances (including, but not limited to, topical antibiotic cream, liniment, and fly spray) and pads, wedges and hoof bands will only apply to breeds with a history of soring, such as the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse.
We appreciate your consideration of our views and recommendations.
Sincerely,
Jeff Gove, AMHA President
Carrie Mortensen, AMHA Executive Director

Obituary Douglas Monroe Wylie Sr.

Douglas Monroe Wylie Sr., passed away with family by his side October 2, 2016. He was born in Knoxville, graduated from Old Knoxville High School, and attended the University of Tennessee where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. After attending college, his businesses included Wylie Garage Door Company and Douglas Wylie Construction and Realty Company. Throughout his life, Doug was a devoted member of Bearden United Methodist Church and the West Knoxville Kiwanis Club. One of his biggest joys was showing Hackney ponies and American Saddlebred horses. In 2007, he and his pony, Babylon, were fifth at the World’s Championship Horse Show; a real highlight in his life.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Peggy; his son, Douglas M. Wylie, Jr.; and his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Bill Waller.

A celebration of life service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, October 7, 2016, at Bearden United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Mike Sluder and the Rev. Sherry Boles officiating. Interment will immediately follow at Highland Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Thursday, October 6, 2016, at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel, and at Bearden United Methodist Church Reception Hall, Friday, following the Cemetery Committal service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to either Bearden United Methodist Church, 4407 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37919, or to Knox Area Rescue Ministries, P.O. Box 3310, Knoxville, TN 37927-9900. Online condolences may be extended at www.rosemortuary.com. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

Iowa Fall Classic Adds Additional Stalls And Announces Judge

The Iowa Fall Classic has announced that Max Ciampoli will judge this year’s event, held September 9-11 at the Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA. The show hosts the 2016 Limited Breeders’ Stake on Friday evening, which has a purse of over $30,000. In addition, the schedule includes a full line-up of Saddlebred, Morgan, Hackney, Equitation and Academy classes as well as several OTAB classes. 27 additional stalls are now available in the main barn in addition to the stalls in the outlying barns. Entries close August 20, 2016. For more information, contact Gloria Paulsen at 319-269-1194. You can also email gpaulsen@cfu.net.

Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show Announces 2016 Judging Panel and New Program for the Good

Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show, host to The Good Hands National Finals, is pleased to announce their panel of judges. Judges for all divisions are Nancy Becker, Tammie Conatser, and Susi Day.
The Good Hands Finals is the first leg of the Triple Crown for junior exhibitors and is now completing the triple crown for adult equitation riders. The Good Hands Adult National Finals was offered for the first time last year.
Sharon Gardner, member of the Good Hands Committee, says “The Good Hands Finals Committee was very pleased with the support the industry gave to last year’s adult finals and with the all riders who competed in the inaugural Good Hands Adult National Finals. As a committee, we are as committed to developing a quality competition for the adults mirroring as closely as possible what has been established for the Good Hands Junior Exhibitor National Finals”.
All adult equitation riders, who have shown in any adult 2016 equitation class, are eligible for The Good Hands Adult National Finals. Visit our website for the complete program.
The Good Hands Finals is the oldest and largest saddle seat equitation finals in the country. The finals originated in 1929 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When the competition was moved to the Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show in 2009, it grew by 78%.
National Horseman Publishing is the proud sponsor of The Good Hands National Finals. For more information, contact Sharon Gardner at 630-738-0867 or visit us at www.thegoodhands.org or on Facebook: The Good Hands.
Showing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Springfield, you will be competing at the country’s best facility. The Mane Event Horse Show is a national competition for Saddlebreds, Hackney Ponies, Road Horses and Equitation Riders. Additionally, we offer an open division for all breeds.
The Mane Event Horse Show is the last chance for competitors to qualify for this year’s UPHA Classics, UPHA Challenge Cups, and the USEF Medal competitions offered at the American Royal.
For more information, contact Show Manager, Stephanie Peterson at 612-708-9753 or steph.peterson51@gmail.com.

Saddle Horse Industry mourns loss of Silver And Blue

Silver And Blue Was Barbara Vincent’s Blue Ribbon Guy
Sired by Northern Blues and out of Silver Spirit SLS by The Silver Lining, he was bred by Lora and Charles Johnstone and owned by Jenny Taylor until she sold him to Jan Henderson bought him in March of 2006. His first show of that season, at River Ridge, showcased his incredible talent and power as a gaited horse and he got a lot of attention when Jenny Taylor rode him to win the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic.
Silver and Blue caught Barbara’s eye the first time she ever saw him and when she got on him, he just sealed the deal. “I bought him as a three-year-old in 2006. Every single ride was a thrill. For 10 years he never let us down. A true competitor with a big heart who loved to rack. I’ve been very lucky and just sorry it had to end.”
Julie Anne Wroble added, “When we went to look at him at Jim and Jenny’s they told us he was honest and they were right. They sold us a good horse. He had a heart as big as the moon and he was a pleaser. He meant so much to me and made each day easy when it came time to work him. He was always so sweet to be around.”
Silver And Blue will never be replaced and will always be Barbara’s Blue Ribbon Guy but the pain is lessened slightly by her gaited pleasure mount Simple Kiss. They debuted in 2015 and so far this season has earned reserves at Indianapolis Charity, Oshkosh Charity and ASAW Summerfun.

Obituary Adrienne Krasnoff Davidson

Adrienne (Krasnoff) Davidson, 79 years of age, of Delray Beach, FL, formerly of New Britain, CT, died Wednesday, July 20, 2016. She was the widow of Lawrence J. Davidson and the mother of Diana Davidson, Morgan Editor of Saddle Horse Report.
Born in Waterbury, CT, she was the daughter of the late Maurice and Shirley (Platzker) Krasnoff.
Adrienne was educated in Waterbury schools and was a graduate of the Temple University School Of Dental Hygiene. She shared enduring friendships from her childhood and throughout her life. Adrienne was a dedicated supporter of her husband Larry’s political, education and business endeavors. Her greatest source of pride came from her daughter Diana and her accomplishments. Adrienne was always there to support Larry and Diana, whether it was cheering on their champion Morgan horses or more recently Diana’s prized champion Rottweiler Rondo. She was an ardent fan of several sports teams from Larry’s Yale Bulldogs to the NCAA Champion UCONN Huskies Men and Women to the famed Boston Celtics, from the regular season to the playoffs and just last week watching their young prospects on television in the Summer League.
Adrienne showed tremendous strength in her valiant battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Our endless gratitude goes to Dr. Chakra Chaulagain and the wonderful and caring health care professionals at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, FL. With her daughter Diana by her side, she carried on each day with grace and determination. In addition to her daughter, Diana Davidson of Delray Beach, FL, Adrienne is survived by her sister Rosalie (Stephen) Snyder of Newton Centre, MA and Larry’s sons Lawrence Davidson, Jr. of Madison, CT, and Ned (Carla) Davidson of Southington, CT, and several other relatives and friends. In addition to her parents and husband, Adrienne was predeceased by her brother Lawrence Krasnoff of Van Nuys, CA.

Obituary Charles Eugene Thompson

Charles Eugene Thompson, Louisburg, KS, passed away June 29, 2016. He graduated from Clinton High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
Upon graduating from college, he worked for the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and MFA where he served as director of market research. Economic Development was his most fulfilling profession. He worked for the Missouri municipalities of Clinton, St. Charles, Wentzville and Raymore. Gene’s dedication and commitment improved the lives of the people living in the communities where he worked. Gene was always a statesman and brought a high level of dedication and professionalism to economic development.
He was a member of the American Economic Development Council, Southern Industrial Development Council, Missouri Industrial Development Council, Secretary of the Missouri Community Development Society, Governor’s Advisory Council on Agriculture and President of the Missouri Horse and Mule Council.
Gene loved all animals, especially American Saddlebreds. He was most proud of his five gaited stallion, Premier’s Bourbon Genius who sired the Broodmare Hall of Fame Bourbon ‘n Coke. Bourbon ‘n Coke produced Jean Margaret, Intoxicating Conversation and the spectacular CH One for the Road (WGC, WCC, WC).
Later, through his wife, Cynthia, Gene developed an interest in Hackney ponies. They showed Hackney ponies out of Gib Marcucci’s Stables, including two world champions, Sultan’s Blue Rain and Swing Out Sister.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Gill Thompson, of Louisburg, KS; an aunt, Alice Hall, of Sedalia; a nephew, Leonard (Carol) Hall and their daughter, Becky, all of Sedalia.

Trainers’ Treasures: Gifts From Saddlebred Professionals

LEXINGTON, KY – The American Saddlebred Museum’s 2016 exhibit will open to the public on April 1, 2016. Titled Trainers’ Treasures: Gifts From Saddlebred Professionals, the exhibit runs through December 31, 2016.
Trainers’ Treasures will consist of items that have been donated to the Museum over the past 50 years by professional horsemen and women from within the Saddlebred industry. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and tack collected by or used by famous Saddlebred trainers and their horses will be included. Some of the items were created by the donors, some were used by the donors and some were collected by the donors. This will be a diverse exhibit, filled with items of importance to the industry and to the professionals who donated them.
The American Saddlebred Museum and Gift Shop, aka The Showplace for Saddlebreds, is located on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park, and is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm. Admission to the Museum also includes free admission to the Kentucky Horse Park. As always, current Museum members receive free admission to both the Showplace for Saddlebreds and the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as 10% off on Gift Shop and online purchases. If you are attending the Kentucky Spring Premier Horse Show April 14 – 16, 2016, be sure to stop by the Museum to see this exhibit! Contact Kim Skipton at Kim@asbmuseum.org or 859-259-2746 for more information.

American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop and American Saddlebred Horse Association Announce Joint Venture

Lexington, KY – The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop is excited to announce a new joint venture with the American Saddlebred Horse Association. ASHA has granted the Museum’s Gift Shop the exclusive right to sell merchandise featuring their newly released logo.

“We are excited to offer American Saddlebred enthusiasts the chance to showcase their breed pride with apparel featuring the new ASHA logo,” says Museum Gift Shop Manager Megan McClure. “I feel that the design will work well in many ways, across multiple platforms.”

While a release date has yet to be determined, Gift Shop customers can expect to see the new items this summer. Plans are in the works for a variety of apparel and souvenir options for all age ranges. The pieces will be available to industry insiders, as well as the thousands of Kentucky Horse Park guests that come through the Gift Shop’s doors.

While the Museum takes pride in cultivating the American Saddlebred’s rich history, we are always looking for opportunities to advance the breed’s future. This venture with ASHA is a step towards our mutual goal of introducing the American Saddlebred to the broadest audience possible.

The American Saddlebred Museum and Gift Shop, aka The Showplace for Saddlebreds, is located on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park, and is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm. Admission to the Museum also includes free admission to the Kentucky Horse Park. As always, Museum members receive free admission to both the Showplace for Saddlebreds and the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as 10% off on Gift Shop and online purchases. Contact Megan McClure at megan@asbmuseum.org or 859-259-2746 for more information.

American Saddlebred Museum Victory Pass Raffle Tickets On Sale Now!

LEXINGTON, KY – The lucky winner of the 2016 VP Raffle will receive a grand prize of a true all-expense paid week at the 2016 Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, KY! The Grand Prize Package includes a one week stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a $500 voucher for meals at the Crowne Plaza, four lower level box seats for every performance, and one VIP parking pass for the week.

Here is your chance to win a free stay at the World’s Championship Horse Show and support your breed Museum at the same time! Tickets are only $10 each. To up your chances to win, purchase 5 for $50 or 10 for $100! Remember if you don’t play – you can’t win!

The drawing of the Victory Pass Raffle winner will be on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm during the Kentucky Spring Premier Horse Show (before Louisville hotel room contracts are due). You need not be present to win. The winner will be notified within three days of the drawing. The KSF WC Horse Show will be held August 21 – 27, 2016. Tickets may be purchased online at www.asbmuseum.org or by calling toll free 1-800-829-4438. For questions call the Museum at 859-259-2746, extension 305.