Thursday, December 1, 2011

U.S. Horse Slaughter Plants May Return Under New Bill

Under a federal funding bill signed Nov. 18 by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is once again permitted to inspect horse meat for human consumption, clearing the way for the return of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. The domestic horse processing industry has languished for five years, following a 2006 Congressional vote to strip USDA’s funding for horse meat inspection. Inspections continued on a fee-for-service basis until a lawsuit halted that practice in 2007. 

Horse slaughter plants are being considered in Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and other locations. State laws ban slaughtering horses for human consumption in Texas, Illinois, California and Florida, so plants can’t be located there, according to Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit group United Horsemen, which has worked to restore horse processing. 

“There is a great deal of interest from investors, and someone is probably going to have a plant up and running in 60 to 90 days,” Duquette said. Having processing plants within American borders will spare horses the suffering of long trailer rides to slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico, he added. “Ideally, we would like to have several plants open around the country so no horse would have to spend too much time on a trailer.” 

According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), “from 2006 through 2010, U.S. horse exports for slaughter increased 148 percent to Canada and 660 percent to Mexico,” totaling about 100,000 per year, approximately the same number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. before the ban. 

The sharply divisive slaughter debate seized headlines again just after Thanksgiving, when the national news media took notice of the appropriations bill’s passage. Horse slaughter critics say the practice is inherently cruel, and horses, though classified by law as livestock, should be treated differently than customary food animals because of their unique relationship with humans. Slaughter proponents say the unintended consequence of closing the U.S. plants was an increase in the number of neglected and abandoned horses whose owners cannot afford their care, or find space for them in overflowing rescue facilities. 

“This issue always has been what is best for the horse and the horse industry. Our group has the compassion and the courage to do what’s best for the horse. The animal-rights groups seem to think the suffering of unwanted horses is just going to go away on its own. The GAO study and the events of the past five years prove that’s not true,” Duquette said.

In a surprise statement, the founder of one of the most vociferous opponents of horse slaughter, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), agreed with lifting the ban. Ingrid Newkirk told the Christian Science Monitor newspaper that the U.S. should never have banned slaughter because “the amount of suffering that it [the ban] created exceeded the amount of suffering it was designed to stop.”

Lil Joe Cash and Andrea Fappani Lead NRHA Futurity Open

Wednesday was a busy day at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show. As competitors battled it out in the final section of the $540,000-added NRHA Futurity Open and the Non-Pro Consolation round to earn a slot in the $260,000-added Cinch/NRHA Futurity Non-Pro finals, reining fans moved one step closer to crowning Futurity Champions at the 25th running of the event in Oklahoma City. (From 1966 to 1985 the NRHA Futurity was held in Columbus, Ohio.) 

Lil Joe Cash (Nu Chex To Cash x RS Lilly Starlight x Grays Starlight) ridden by Andrea Fappani for Russell Giles, Waco, Texas, marked a 223 in the first and second go-round to lead the $280,000-added Level 4 Open division with a composite score of 446. 

Easy Lil Lady (Easy Otie Whiz x Docs Lil Bullet x Lenas Gyrator), owned by Darling 888 Ranch, Princeton Ky., and ridden by Mike Boyle, moved to second place in the Level 4 Open division composite standings with a 444.5. 

Quebec’s François Lamontagne Wins 2011 Jump Canada Cup

Francois Lamontagne + Unik Circa
Francois Lamontagne of St-Eustache, QC, won the 2011 Jump Canada Cup riding Unik Circa, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Sarah Lemieux.

In its inaugural season, the Jump Canada Cup was well received with almost 140 horse and rider combinations collecting points in 31 classes held across Canada. Designed to assist in the development of Canada’s up-and-coming Grand Prix stars, riders participating in the Jump Canada Cup competed over courses of up to 1.45m in height. Once all the points were tallied, three of the sport’s future stars topped the standings. 

Kicking-off the season in St. Lazare, QC, Lamontagne, 27, earned fourth place in the $10,000 Grand Prix at the Pépinière Horse Show and won the $25,000 Grand Prix at the St-Lazare Horse Show the following week with Unik Circa. At the Concours Hippiques du Parc—Printemps, the pair finished second in the $10,000 Tepq Qpet Grand Prix. During the Jumping Internationale de Blainville—Week 1, Lamontagne and Unik Circa were second in the $40,000 Grand Prix. The pair won the $15,000 Jump Canada Cup class during the second week of competition at the Jumping Internationale de Blainville. A 12th place finish in the last class of the season, the $60,000 Grand Prix of Rockwood at the Angelstone International Show Jumping Tournament, kept Lamontagne in the top spot to become the overall winner of the 2011 Jump Canada Cup with a total of 17,290 points. 

“If you look at the number of horses and riders who competed in the series, to win is quite an honour,” said Lamontagne, who rode Unik Circa in the Jump Canada Cup classes this season for owner Sarah Lemieux. “For a catch-ride, it was certainly nice to win the Jump Canada Cup with Unik Circa.” 

In a presentation held on Saturday, November 5, during the Royal Horse Show’s evening performance in Toronto, ON, Lamontagne received a $6,000 cash award from Jump Canada. 

Brian Morton, 25, of Langley, BC, earned 14,850 points to finish second the 2011 Jump Canada Cup riding Spitfire, a 14-year-old French-bred gelding owned by Linda Opdycke. As a result, Morton was awarded $4,000 by Jump Canada. 

Rounding out the top three in the Jump Canada Cup was Samantha Buirs, 24, of Langley, BC. Riding her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Total Touch, Buirs earned 14,510 points throughout the season and was awarded $1,000 by Jump Canada. 

Christen and Gunner On Ice Lead Non Pro Futurity

The first go-round of the $540,000-added NRHA Open Futurity ended today at the 2011 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show. The show also welcomed the Adequan® North American Affiliate Limited Non Pro Championship. Reining fans can enjoy the show until December 3 at Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida and Smart Merada Rey remain tied for the high score in the $280,000-added level 4 open division with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks and Cache Of Jewels.

Smart Merada Rey (Smart Shiner x Meradas Kitty Rey) is owned by Gaynia and Augustine Revenberg of Old Castle, Ontario, Canada. Flarida rode the gelding to the level 4 open reserve championship in the 2011 All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity.

Cache Of Jewels (Conquistador Whiz x Jewels Lil Sparkle) is owned by James Crews of Myakka, Fla. Hendricks and the stallion have already accumulated nearly $24,000 together so far in NRHA competition.

2010 NRHA Open Futurity Champion Jordan Larson rode Heritage Farm’s HF Mobster (Gunner x Dun Its Black Gold) to a score of 224 to end the go-round in third place.

Guapo Lena and Jay McLaughlin won the go-round in the $145,000-added level 3 open division. The Shiners Lena Doc stallion (out of Annies Nu Lena) is owned by Carol Rose of Gainesville, Tex. Nathan Piper and Kelly Hale’s A Little Flash O Fly marked a 222 for second place in the level 3 open division.

Brazilian rider Eduardo Salgado and Gunner Boy (Gunner x Kat Jordan) claimed the $75,000-added level 2 open and $35,000-added level 1 open divisions with a score of 220.5. Jefferson Abbud (Sao Paulo, Brazil) owns the Brazilian Quarter Horse stallion.

In the level 2 open division, there was a tie for second place with two scores of 220 – Garth Brown riding Jeffrey Palmer’s Showtimes Packinagun (Mister Nicadual x Showtimes Tinseltown) and Todd Wright riding Ernie Rodina’s Self Wrighteous (Self Shine x Im A Wright Off).  Wright and Self Wrighteous ended the go-round in second place in the level 1 open division also.

Open riders have one more go-round of competition before finalists are determined. The top horse and rider combinations, based on composite scores from the first and second go-round, will advance to the Open Futurity Finals on Saturday, December 3 where the winner of the level 4 open will earn a check for $150,000 as well as incredible prizes from NRHA Corporate Partners and award sponsors.

$260,000-Added NRHA / Cinch Non Pro Futurity
The $260,00-added NRHA / Cinch Non Pro Futurity entered the Oklahoma State Fair Park Coliseum today with the first section of the go-round. Frederick Christen (Whitehouse, Ohio) and Gunner On Ice (Gunner x Dancin For Joy) earned a 217.5 to lead the $100,000-added level 4 non pro division. Christen has won nearly $170,000 in NRHA competition including a third place finish on Gunner On Ice at the 2011 Scottsdale Classic Futurity.

In the $70,000-added level 3 non pro division, Dublin, Ohio’s Carlie Thompson rode her Crome Dont Corrode (Custom Crome x Maggie Chex) to a score of 216 for the lead. They come to the Futurity after winning the level 4 non pro division at the All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity’s Congress Non Pro Reining Stakes. Thompson has nearly $145,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

Allison Sutton (Gainesville, Tex.) and Whiz N Chexy Chic lead the level 2 non pro and level 1 non pro division with a score of 215. Gary Sutton owns the Topsail Whiz mare out of Tinky Chex Chic. Allison placed fourth in the level 2 non pro division at the 2008 NRHA Futurity.

Breanna Van Der Schaaf Wins Adequan NAAC Limited Non Pro
South Central region qualifiers Breanna Van Der Schaaf (Richmond, Tex.) and Hes At Bat (Rowdy Yankee x Rambos Smart N Smoke) marked a 219.5 to win the Adequan NAAC Limited Non Pro championship. The pair recently won the level 3 open division in the 7 & Up Derby at the 2011 NRHA Derby. Van Der Schaaf has nearly $40,000 in NRHA LTE and Hes At Bat has more than $54,000 in NRHA LTE.

Watch the live webcast, keep tabs on the leaders and find out about the latest news and upcoming events at, or

Dressage Canada: Augustin and Christine Walch Named Owner of the Year

Christine and Augustin Walch of W. Charlot Farms
Dressage Canada is pleased to announce that Christine and Augustin Walch of W. Charlot Farms in Stratford, ON,have been named as the 2011 Dressage Canada Owner(s) of the Year.

The Walchs are the co-owners of Viva's Salieri W, a 10-year-old Canadian-bred Hanoverian stallion that represented Canada at the 2011 Pan American Games with Tom Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON.

Born at W. Charlot Farms, Viva’s Salieri W, sired by Viva Voltaire, has been in training with Dvorak since he was a four-year-old. In 2011, the pair easily qualified to represent Canada at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Aboard Viva’s Salieri W, Dvorak, 46, was the highest placed Canadian dressage rider at the Games, placing fourth in the individual competition. The duo was an integral part of Canada’s team silver medal which also qualified the Canadian dressage team for the 2012 London Olympics.

“Augustin and Christine Walch are very supportive and have trusted us to care for and train Viva's Salieri W as if he were our own,” said Dvorak. “He is a special horse. Everyday he is ready to give 110 per cent and I love riding him.”

“We are absolutely thrilled about Salieri’s success and the recognition we received from Dressage Canada,” said Christine Walch. “It is every breeders dream to breed a horse that can compete at the international level, and what we achieved this year in the dressage arena is simply a dream come true. We are very grateful for the wonderful job that Tom and Ellen Dvorak have done with ‘Socks.’ His success would not have been possible without them.”

She added, “Both Augustin and I were very touched when we received the message from Dressage Canada about the award.”

The Walchs were recognized at the Dressage Canada 2011 Celebration of Dressage held November 10th at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Past winners of the Dressage Canada Owner of the Year Award include Karen Soupcoff (2003), Deryol Andrews (2004), Evi Strasser (2005), Doug Leatherdale (2006), Faith Berghuis (2007), Ian and Moreen Nicoll (2008), Robyn Eames (2009) and Cindy Ishoy (2010).