Industry leaders expressed their frustration with USDA inspectors after the agency turned down six horses before the aged stallion class.
"Our personnel have extensive experience in the care and handling of animals," said Andre Bell in an e-mail to the Times-Gazette. "The veterinary medical officer we believe you're inquiring about is an equine veterinarian and a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
"Along with all of our inspectors he went through an orientation when he joined the agency, also a weeklong training in March, and has inspected animals at a number of horse shows this season.
"USDA takes its work under the Horse Protection Act very seriously and we are confident in the training and requirements of the VMOs that we employ for the program."
The USDA's comments were not received in time for inclusion in a front page story Tuesday.
One inspector came under heavy criticism by trainers and officials for what they said was a lack of experience inspecting at horse shows.