Letter to the Editor, May 24
Improve the industry, don't discard it
To the editor:
As a concerned resident of Bedford County I have a question. What would be the result if The Celebration were to cease to exist? I can hardly imagine the impact this would have on our community. All of the citizens of Shelbyville and Bedford County should be doing everything possible to insure that this treasure should continue for many years to come.
It is easy to forget how this industry began. The Celebration started out as a simple fundraiser horse show for the Lions' Club and Rotary Club and has grown to be one of the most prestigious events in the world, resulting in a $40,000,000 impact on our area each year. Something else that gets lost in the success of the show is that it is one of the premier charity events, not just in the Southeast, but the entire nation. Civic Clubs and other worthy organizations are allowed to participate in the show and make enough money to maintain their budgets throughout most of the year.
No one wants animals to be abused and the foremost, The Celebration. By developing the SHOW organization the Board of Directors has spent countless dollars trying to help police the industry to help insure that the horses have not been trained using unacceptable practices.
Due to recent media coverage of an individual trainer, a poor image has been cast on the entire industry. I would submit that there are cheaters in all industry and business, but does that make everyone in that business bad? No, it does not. I believe that most of the walking horse trainers today are trying to do what is right and care very much about the horses with which they work.
Let us as citizens of Bedford County get behind the walking horse industry that means so much to us economically. We should encourage The Celebration, the trainers, the owners, and the breeders to continue to strive to make the walking horse industry better than ever. Let them know how much we appreciate them. Let's not allow the baby to be thrown out with the bath water.
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