Friday, September 13, 2013

PAST

September, 10, 2013
  
Congressman Ed Whitfield
1403 South Main Street
Hopkinsville, KY 42240

Dear Congressman Whitfield,

Thank you sponsoring the "Prevent All Soring Tactics Act" (PAST) H.R. 1518 & S. 1406. Although no law can change a human heart bent on abusing animals this bill will give the moral high ground to those who truly desire to see this scourge be eradicated from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. The artificial gaits created by pads, chains, pressure shoeing, and chemical irritants have held this great breed hostage for at least 60 years and destroyed all credibility among equine enthusiast.

Personally I have invested nearly 47 of my 60 years into this industry. My grandfather William Wirt Harlin Sr. was at the initial meeting in 1935 to establish the Walking Horse registry in Lewisburg, Tennessee. He established Harlinsdale Farm at that time which is still in existence today being run by my 89 year old father, Bill Harlin. Unfortunately like all other farms associated with this industry we have seen the industry decline because of those who continuously abuse this great breed through inhumane training techniques and therefore keep it under a cloud of corruption.

I have served as a Director, Executive Director, and Sr. V.P. of the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. Also I have served on the regulatory board of the past Walking Horse Regulatory Commission that had oversight of the H.I.O. inspection process of show horses and trainers. It was during this time that I came to the realization that the industry was incapable of any meaningful self-regulation, and unwilling to completely stop the abuse of show horses. In my opinion the monetary benefits derived from the soring of show horses seemed to always prevent a real and lasting end to this form of animal cruelty.

On April 12, 1998 I came out publically on the front page of the Nashville Tennessean stating that “we were at a crossroads”, and “somebody’s got to do something and do it now [referring to soring] or this is going to get out of hand.” The Article went on to say “Harlin worries that the increasing emphasis on the so-called big lick…has led some trainers to use unscrupulous, painful methods.” Mr. Whitfield from that point on I was unofficially “black balled” from participating in the industry. In less than 3 weeks time I had 3 top champion breeding stallions moved from our stables by their owners due to my statements in the press. 2 of the owners told me that this was the case. Our breeding operation at Harlinsdale suffered financially until I made the decision a year later to leave the industry so my father could continue in business. Since that time I have watched the decline of this great breed that was unable to regulate itself. It was obvious to me that unless a federal law was passed prohibiting all acts of cruelty that the abuses would only continue.

Mr. Whitfield I still love horses and especially Tennessee Walking Horses. Your bill has given me a fresh hope that this horrible nightmare will eventually come to an end and the industry will be reborn. I do not speak on behalf of my father, nor Harlinsdale Farm, but only for myself, so I pledge you my support in your effort to take the right and humane high road to securing a better future for the equine industry. In addition I have contacted Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s office and asked her aid to relay a message urging Ms. Blackburn to support your bill.

Sincerely,


Clayton T. Harlin Sr.

Cc. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
      
  

22 comments:

  1. AMEN!!!
    THANKS FOR DOING THE RIGHT!!

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  2. Thank you for being a voice for the voiceless.

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  3. The horses and I thank you!

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  4. I am proud of you. However, if you can get Marsha Blackburn to turn her back on the money she's already been paid by the industry to turn a blind eye to the legislation sitting RIGHT in front of her House committee, it will be more than anyone else has managed to do.

    Btw, your dad has one of the best horses in the industry-- he may be the future of the flatshod show horse. Be proud.

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  5. Thank you Mr. Harlin!

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  6. Thank you from all the horse and me

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  7. Thank you for "getting it" and standing up for the horses. God Bless

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  8. THANK YOU for this wonderful letter, Mr. Harlin! We are so glad to have you on the sound horse side. Let's hope that the sound horse prevails in the next election!

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  9. The courage and strength you've displayed is nothing short of heroic in the face of such adversity. You and your whole family will remain in my thoughts and prayers. A sincere THANK YOU!

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  10. Thank you Clay! Awesome letter! You have made our breed, our people, and the God SMILE! You are a bright light in this world, and have been a tremendously bright light in my life!

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  11. Mr. Harlin,

    Thank you a million times over for writing that courageous letter. You must be a fine gentleman to have searched his heart and spoke his truth. I give thanks today for you.

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  12. Thank you and may God bless you and your family for standing up for what's right. Heroes stand up for what is right, no matter the price they must pay. It takes a brave soul to do that. I salute you, Mr. Harlin!

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  13. Clay I met you in the 90's at TWHBEA and didn't realize what had happened to you. I was so impressed with your love of the TWH even back then. Thank you for supporting sound and kind practices for the TWH.

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  14. thanks Clay, I met you when you had made your stand and knew the cost that it would cause in your life. We do have to stop this and maybe it is going to occur in our life time. Thanks again.
    Bucky Sparks, Gaited horse clinician
    western regional director NWHA

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  15. You are my hero!! We need more influential people to do what you are doing. Thank you!

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  16. in the Holy Word,Know the Truth and the Truth Shall set You(the TWH)FREE,Mr.Harlin you have told the Truth,I believe,because of you and Mr.Irby,some day soon very soon the TWH will be free.
    thank you

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  17. Mr. Harlin, I thank you for your actions 15 years ago, and only hope, like you, that I will live to see soring ended in my lifetime and the beautiful, created-in-America Tennessee Walking Horse treated like it deserves with kindness, love, and respect.

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  18. Thank you for such a great letter. Mirrors my thoughts exactly. I have always thought that the breeding program at Harlinsdale and a few other places will be the ones to save the breed. There are natural TWH out there and many come from Harlinsdale. They are horses with natural front and back action and good solid walks. Many are thankfully in the hands of trainers that work them naturally. Five out of the six horse I currently own are from Harlinsdale's breeding program and when I am looking to buy others, I will be going to Harlinsdale because Bill and others before him have build a strong band of broodmares and stallions. Horses haven't always sold well because those bloodlines generally have not taken well to soring. Hopefully, the committment your family has taken to horses with natural abilities will be appreciated in the upcoming years. Incidently, all of my horses are barefoot at this time and showing successfully, even against shod horses. A true demonstration of a strong breeding program and the natural abilities that do still exist in the TWH breed.

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  19. Mr. Harlin, I join my voice with the many voices thanking you. What a powerful letter you wrote to Congressman Whitfield, and to the industry. Thank you, and please let me know if you have any specific ideas that we could work on to hasten what's right for the horses. Lori Northrup, FOSH Lori@Northrup.com

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  20. Thank you for your efforts. Elizabeth Knizley

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