Ruling Bars USDA Vets From Keeping Tennessee Walker Out Of Show Ring

May 27, 2016

The Georgia owners of a champion Tennessee Walking Horse disqualified from several major competitions are preparing the horse for future shows armed with a new ruling from a federal judge in Gainesville.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction to Keith and Dan McSwain, the owners of Honors, known widely as “the Secretariat of Tennessee Walking Horses.”

Story issued the injunction in a suit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement of a 45-year-old federal law intended to shield horses from intentional injury. The judge’s injunction, for now, bars USDA veterinary inspectors from disqualifying Honors from future competitions without first holding a hearing at which the McSwains may challenge the grounds for disqualification. Story’s ruling is limited to Honors. It does not extend to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry at large.