11:43am

Tue August 21, 2012
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New Soring Safeguards at Walking Horse Celebration

SHELBVYVILLE, Tenn. (AP./WMOT) — The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is changing the way soring test results are handled at this year’s annual competition.

The Celebration's Board of Directors say that for the first time, results from chemical tests will be made public immediately, and result in trainers losing their trophies and prize money if caught abusing horses.

In the past, chemical test results were delayed, but this year the results will be expedited and made available during the event.

Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows says USDA inspection numbers suggest the show’s new emphasis on accountability is getting results.

“In 2010, the horses that they checked at the celebration they said 8.5 percent were not compliant. In 2011, of the horses that the government inspected, only 1.1 percent of those horses were not in compliance with the horse protection act.”

Meadows says horses are a billion dollar business in Tennessee, with the Walking Horse Celebration contributing more than $38 million dollars a year to the state economy. The Celebration begins Wednesday and runs through Sept. 1 in Shelbyville.