The Tennesean and Shelbyville Times-Gazette

The lead sponsor of legislation to bolster protections for Tennessee Walking Horses against soring will consider a discharge petition to get it out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote, his office said.

A discharge petition requires the signatures of 218 members, a majority of the House, to force floor action on a measure that supporters feel has been unfairly blocked in committee.

The bill in question is the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act HR, 1518, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and 303 other members. The identical Senate version has 57 co-sponsors, three short of the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

The Senate version has cleared committee but the House version remains stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where it is yet to receive a vote even though hearings were held in November 2013. There have been no floor votes in either chamber.

Soring is the practice of applying chemicals to horses' hooves to produce a higher-stepping gait during competitions.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has announced a three-member veterinary advisory committee that will be in charge of rules and regulations pertaining to the safety and well-being of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

The panel consists of Drs. Jerry H. Johnson, D.V.M.; Dallas O. Goble, D.V.M.; and Phillip D. Hammock, D.V.M.

"As chairman I speak for the entire committee and we are pleased to provide TWHNC with independent veterinary advice," Johnson says. "Our primary mission is to protect the horse and set a gold standard which hopefully will be embraced and utilized by the industry for the future."

"It is with great appreciation that the Celebration welcomes these distinguished veterinarians to the Tennessee Walking Horse family," says Mike Inman, CEO of the TWHNC. "Their expertise and leadership are of great value in protecting the cherished breed that is the Tennessee Walking Horse."