(T-G photo by Jim Davis) [Order this photo]
The organization declared the day, July 10, as Bedford County Support Day.
"The Tennessee Walking Horse industry has always been a positive influence on the economy of Shelbyville and Bedford County. At this time, the industry would like to ask for the merchants of Shelbyville to please help keep the industry viable," stated a press release from WHTA. "Due to recent negative national publicity, the industry has hired a very noted public relations firm to better communicate the progress that is being made in the welfare of our horses. Also, in an effort to stop abuse and prove our horses are sound, the 'Trainers' Enforcement Initiative' was put in place on June 15, 2012."
The initiative utilizes gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technology.
"This initiative is very costly but a small price to pay to ensure the welfare of our horses and the livelihood of those that train those horses and the community of Shelbyville that relies so heavily on them.
On Tuesday, members of the WHTA and supporters of the Tennessee Walking Horse made rounds to all of the merchants in Shelbyville to solicit their support by purchasing a sign to be displayed in windows, yards, porches, etc. The sign reads "Proud Sponsor of the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry."
The price of the sign is $40 and money goes toward the industry and its efforts to ensure the welfare of the horse.
"The Walking Horse industry depends on Bedford County and the city of Shelbyville and thus Bedford County and Shelbyville depend on the Walking Horse industry. Without the Tennessee Walking Horse, the economy of Bedford County would be devastated resulting in declining real estate values, fewer tax revenues, failing businesses, higher rates of unemployment, and higher crime rates," the release said.
WHTA may be reached at 684-5866.