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☛ Has AQHA done enough to reveal horses’ genetics? 3-31-17







An opinion piece by Glory Ann Kurtz
Editor and owner of
March 31, 2017 – Updated 4-1-17

HERDA is a genetic skin disease.

Earlier this month, I spent seven days at a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division in Sherman, Texas, to settle a lawsuit brought by Shawn, Lisa and Lauren Minshall, Hillsburg, Ontario, Canada, against David Hartman DVM, owner of Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas. It is interesting to note that I was the only member of the news industry and the only interested bystander at this trial, which I felt, and many others thought, would be very important to the Quarter Horse industry.

Click for article on original lawsuit>>

Following the trial, an eight-member jury decided that the responsibility for the HERDA-infected foal, sired by Auspicious Cat,  was placed 60 percent on the shoulders of Edward and Shona Dufurrena (30 percent to each), who headed up Dos Cats Partners, Gainesville, Texas, the owners of the stallion –  even though they were not named in the lawsuit nor were they present at the trial as Dos Cats Partners and Edward and Shona Dufurrena had settled with the Minshalls prior to the trial.

Dr. Hartman, who collected the semen of Auspicious Cat, a stallion who was later discovered to be a HERDA (Heredity Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia)  carrier, and sent it to the Minshalls to breed their mare Miss Tassa Lena was the last one on the list who they felt had a hand in this disaster, as the result of this breeding was a HERDA-affected offspring nicknamed “Otto.” Otto was born with full-blown HERDA, a genetic skin disease that was discovered when the colt was a 2-year-old and lesions appeared on its body while in training.

The jury was given questions of responsibility, rather than guilt, with all six Defendants being found responsible for “Negligence incurring damage.” All other questions regarding Hartman’s responsibility were answered by a “No” and the jury gave him the smallest amount (10 percent) of the responsibility. The Dufurrenas had also been found responsible for committing fraud and received 30 percent each, for a total of 60 percent (the most), even though they were not present at the trial. Also, 30 percent of the responsibility was laid at the feet of the three Plaintiffs, the Minshall family, at 10 percent each.

The most interesting aspect of the trial was that it focused on FRAUD – mainly false advertising committed by the Dufurrenas concerning Auspicious Cat’s Positive HERDA status and the long-term care of a HERDA-Positive foal resulting from the breeding of Auspicious Cat and Miss Tassa Lena.

It came out in the trial that Ed Dufurrena had previously told both the Minshalls and Dr. Hartman that Auspicious Cat was HERDA-Negative and the Dufurrena’s had placed ads in horse publications advertising that fact with written confirmation. It came out in court testimony that the Dufurrenas had the stallion tested in 2009 and had received a certificate from the AQHA saying that the stallion was HERDA N/H, meaning he could pass on the genetic disease to an offspring, especially if he was bred to another HERDA N/H mare and Miss Tassa Lena was such a mare. The Minshalls had told the the Dufurrenas the reason why the stallion had to be HERDA Negative was because their mare was HERDA H/N and had already had a High Brow Cat foal born with HERDA.

Auspicious Cat is a son of High Brow Cat out of Lena O Lady by Peppy San Badger. Lena O Lady’s dam was Doc O Lady by Doc O’Lena. This puts Doc O’Lena in the third generation of both the sire and dam side of Auspicious Cat’s pedigree, which on paper meant there was a high probability of the stallion being a HERDA carrier. In fact, during the trial David Hartman exposed a stark reality, relating a conversation with Dufurrena regarding Auspicious Cat’s HERDA designation, Dufurrena had assured Hartman that Auspicious Cat was HERDA Negative, and Hartman responded, “Most good sons of High Brow Cat are HERDA carriers.”

Dufurrena’s response was, “Not Aussie,” which was his nickname for Auspicious Cat.

Click for Auspicious Cat pedigree>>

The jury’s decision, including compensatory damages, included: 1) The difference in the value of Otto now and what it would have been if not HERDA affected – $30,000; 2) Reasonable expenses related to foaling, raising, boarding and training Otto in the past – $28,408; 3) Reasonable vet expenses – $0; 4) Reasonable expenses incurred for caring for Otto in the future – $75,000 and 5) Plaintiffs’ lost profits: $30,000 – for a total of $163,408. (To date, the division of financial responsibility by the jury’s decision have not been available to the press.)

Click for verdict>>

I checked with the AQHA, asking “if  a stallion owner is found guilty of fraud, is there a rule infraction and if so, what is the penalty?”. The response from Sarah Davisson, AQHA Manager of Publicity and Special Events, was, “While it is possible that a judgment against an AQHA member for fraud may correspond to an AQHA rule infraction and hence possible disciplinary action, such would depend on the facts of the case and whether a final non-appealable judgment has been entered. With respect to the Minshall lawsuit, AQHA to date is unaware of a final judgment being entered in which a party was found guilty of fraud. While AQHA is aware of the Verdict Form in the lawsuit, Davisson said, “It does not constitute a final non-appealable judgment.”


If there was ever a circumstance to prove an article’s legitimacy, this trial certainly was a proving ground for an article AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks, previously published on Jan. 15, 2015 on and written by my contributor and freelance writer Rick Dennis.

Dennis addressed HERDA and the shrinking genetic pool of the American Quarter Horse, the hazards of inbreeding, various AQHA breeding rules directly affecting the genetic pool shrinkage, the types of performance horses with the most inbreeding (cutting), as well as the HERDA disease itself. In a mere two years, this article’s ominous projection was being fulfilled and played out in a high-stakes Federal courtroom.

Click for article on how Genetic Pool Shrinks>>

During court testimony, it was surprisingly said by Dr. David Hartman that some owners and trainers breed for HERDA-affected foals as they are winning the most money. This could be due to the fact, which was explained by Nena Winand, a veterinarian and Senior Research Associate at Cornell University regarding HERDA, who testified and had done years of genetic research on HERDA. She said that “In HERDA-affected horses, the collagen is not produced and assembled into fibers that are as strong as those of normal horses. People have extrapolated that observation to HERDA carriers and speculated that subtle changes in their collagen may make them more supple and acrobatic.

However, she cautioned, saying, “There is at present no published peer reviewed science to support this idea and that it is likely that carriers would also be more susceptible to injury (particularly orthopedic injury) if that were the case.”

Also, it came out in court that some individuals are breeding affected mares on purpose. Winand feels that one should not be able to register foals with the AQHA out of affected mares and those affected mares should also be ineligible for breeding leases.

Winand also said that the Australian Quarter Horse Association has made genetic results available on their website, which could be an example of what the AQHA could do. Click below is an example of their searchable online database:

Access page:

She entered TR Dual Rey, who shuttles for breeding from the US:

Click for the result;

“Anyone, not members only, can access this information on the Australian Quarter Horse Association Studbook Website,” said Winand. “It’s public access at no cost. This system has been in place since 2007 or 2008. It was set up for HYPP historically (from my memory) and they handled HERDA results with the same level of transparency. At that time Cornell was their testing laboratory but once a patent was issued in Australia, we licensed to the University of Queensland, which is an excellent and well-established provider of equine genetic testing.

“I am not suggesting AQHA would find this format palatable, but they most certainly do have the capacity to track HERDA and any other test result and make it available to members just as they do for pedigree, horse ownership, performance results, etc.  Ideally all horses should be DNA typed (PV’d if necessary) and 5-Panel tested for registration. That is what we should be doing in this day and age.”



Over the past few years, AQHA has required a 5-Panel test for breeding stallions (at a cost to the stallion owner of $85 or $105, including DNA testing), which reveals genetic diseases in stallions, including HERDA. It started out being only for stallions with a high number of mares being bred; however, effective with the 2015 year, every AQHA-registered breeding stallion had to have this 5-panel genetic test prior to the registration of foals. The test also genetic types horses for GBED (glycogen branching enzyme deficiency), HYPP (hyperkalemic periodic paralysis), MH (malignant hyperthermia) and PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy).

According to Davisson in her response from the AQHA, they were the first equine breed association to offer the genetic panel testing to inform the AQHA’s breeders of those animals that are carriers of genetic abnormalities. HERDA test results are reported by UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory to AQHA as follows:

NN = Normal – horse does not have the HERDA gene.

N/HRD = Carrier – horse caries one copy of the HERDA gene.

HRD/HRD = Affected – horse has two copies of the HERDA gene.


See the following AQHA link for genetic disease results and descriptions:


See the following AQHA link regarding genetic testing:


Also, when individuals contact AQHA pertaining to results of the genetic panel tests, they can request a copy of the UC Davis lab results from AQHA.


“AQHA constantly continues to research these genetic diseases and potential new threats to the breed through various research projects,” said Davisson. “The AQHA Foundation has awarded a total of more than $11 million to research programs, some of which are specifically dedicated to genetic diseases. Specifically, the breakdown of the amount funded to each of the diseases is as follows (as of Feb. 27, 2017): GBED – $228,132; HERDA – $277,553, HYPP – $277,651, MH – $232,274, PSSM1 – $268,983.50 and Other – $515,243. Other includes genetic research that has been performed on other disorders, such as immunes-mediated and inflammatory myopathies, anhidrosis and equine metabolic syndrome.”

However, according to Davisson, although there are no current rules passed by AQHA members and the AQHA Board of Directors to require genetic testing of breeding mares, the Association strongly recommends that breeders test their mares. “Since Jan. 1, 2012, 41,740 American Quarter Horses have had the five-panel test done. Of those horses, 25,853 were stallions, 15,387 were mares and 500 were geldings,” said Davisson.

However, for a genetic test that costs the members $85 each – that equals close to $3.6 million for the AQHA for the 41,740 horses they say have been done. If you dump in the reported $3 million they made on drug testing, that is a total of $6.6 million – which should be enough to finish the computer program and get them on the AQHA website.


Click for AQHA Genetic Testing>>

However, today, on the Horse Ownership Summary of each AQHA-registered stallion on AQHA’s website under “Additional Information,” it states, among other things, whether the stallion has been genetic typed, but does not give HERDA results. The only genetic disease results listed that I could find were the results of the HYPP test. (HYPP is an inherited disease of the muscle which is caused by a genetic defect. This genetic defect has been identified in descendants of the AQHA sire, Impressive, so it does not usually affect cutting horses, as Impressive was a well-known halter horse.)

Click for Auspicious Cat Horse Ownership>>

Click for Miss Tassa Cat Ownership>>



I have also heard from stallion owners regarding individuals wanting to breed their mares who have not been tested for HYYP. The stallion owners feel that if they don’t know the mare’s HYPP status, they could be continuing the breeding of HYPP-positive offspring. This gives rise to the question, “Do mares also need to be genetically tested for HYPP and HERDA?”

Even though 15,387 mares have been genetically tested by the AQHA, if stallion or mare owners want it to be a rule to have mares genetically tested, I’ve been told by the AQHA office that those individuals need to send in a rule change request. For those interested in doing that, the AQHA has provided a link to a press release that breaks down the Association’s rule-change process, starting from when an AQHA member submits a rule change to when new rules become approved.

Click for rule changing press release>>


A video of the rule-change process can also be found on You Tube:

Click below for YouTube video>>


But my question here is, “Why are the results of the HERDA test not currently being reported?” I reached out to the AQHA with that very question. Their response was, “The results of these genetic panel tests are disclosed to the public as a permanent record of the horse and are prominently exhibited on the backside of the horse’s registration paper. All genetic test results will be available on horses’ records when AQHA’s new computer system is launched. In the meantime, individuals can contact AQHA via phone or email and get the genetic panel test results on any registered American Quarter Horse. Individuals can contact the Association by calling AQHA’s customer service at 806-376-4811 or using their contact form.

As an interesting sidebar, Davisson revealed that at the 2017 AQHA Convention, there were two member requests regarding AQHA’s recording and/or dissemination of five-panel test results were on the Studbook and Registration Committee agenda. They were: 1) Display five-panel test results on the front-as opposed to the back of the registration certificate to increase public awareness and 2) Discontinue any dissemination of five panel test results to non-owners.

The first request was modified from a statement being printed on the front of the registration certificate informing individuals that identification for the horse, including genetic panel tests, are included on the back of a horse’s registration papers. AQHA members and the Board of Directors approved this modification.

The second request to discontinue disclosure of the five panel test, was summarily denied by the Studbook and Registration Committee and was not recommended to AQHA members and Board of Directors. After reviewing the requests,  the Board of Directors also denied this recommendation.

Other genetic diseases have since been brought up to me; however, the AQHA hasn’t taken it upon themselves to monitor these, saying there are not genetic tests for them. One such genetic defect is the deaf horse, which is not a genetic disease that is tested by the AQHA. The great reining stallion, Colonels Smoking Gun, nicknamed “Gunner,” was born deaf and passes that genetic defect on to his offspring. I recently heard from an owner of a deaf offspring who didn’t know Gunner was born deaf, yet was a champion in the performance arena and a great sire but passed deafness on to his offspring. Currently, Gunner has sired a deaf offspring with the owner considering a lawsuit against the owner of the stallion.

According to Davisson, “To our knowledge there is not a genetic test for deafness and therefore it is not recorded by AQHA ‘at this point in time’. Researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis reported that certain coat patterns and blue eyes appear to be at risk for deafness… There are several tests for the variations of the splash white gene which are available through a color panel test offered by AQHA. However, according to research, not all splashed white horses are deaf and a deaf horses can produce hearing horses.”



It is wonderful that the AQHA is posting some genetic-disease information in the future and that you can now e-mail or call them for that information; however, it has been problematic to the cutting horse breeder (the owner of the mare) prior to this year’s AQHA Convention held in February, as the results of the HERDA test were not released or made available to AQHA members for scrutiny prior to selecting a stallion for breeding their mare or mares until now. Since the results of the 5-panel test were not released, the HERDA test results were concealed from members and breeders and were not included on the Horse Ownership Summary at the time the Minshalls were looking for a stallion to be bred to their HERDA N/H mare Miss Tessa Lena.  In fact, it was only after the Minshalls filed a lawsuit on Oct. 30, 2015 and inquiries were later made by their lawyers to the AQHA, that the subject was put on the AQHA Convention agenda for the 2017 Convention. I feel they were afraid of culpable liability in this case. (Culpable is a term in criminal law that refers to the blameworthiness of the accused. An accused is culpable when he or she is sufficiently responsible for criminal acts or negligence to be at fault and liable for the conduct. Culpability often implies some knowledge of the wrongfulness of one’s actions.)

As this pertains to the AQHA, culpable liability means that unless the this data was released to the general public, it was impossible for the breeder or the veterinarian to determine whether the stallion was a HERDA carrier. The Dufurrenas advertised Auspicious Cat as being HERDA Negative, when in fact, his genetic test, that was in the hands of the AQHA, had concluded he was a HERDA carrier. But no one knew that and they were forced to just believe the Dufurrena’s and their advertising.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many cutting horse breeders, if the AQHA really wants to live up to its Mission Statement of “preserving the integrity of the Quarter Horse Breed,” the association would make this vital information available as soon as possible to AQHA members and breeders since they already have it and they have been paid for by the stallion owners who paid for the tests. That money should be used to make this information public asap. As far as waiting for the upcoming new computer program, from what I’ve heard, the new computer program has already taken far too many years and has cost way too much money.

While these rules were not in effect at the time of the Minshall’s breeding Miss Tassa Lena to Auspicious Cat, they are now available for this year’s breeding program. The only problem is since they are not yet available on the Horse Ownership Summary, one must either e-mail or call the AQHA to find out the stallion’s status.

If the AQHA doesn’t list this information online and members don’t know that they have to e-mail or call the AQHA for test results on a stallion they wish to breed their mare to, what good are the 5-Panel tests, other than a way to make more money from the stallion owners, who were forced to purchase the tests which don’t help the members if they don’t know how to obtain them.

As far as I know, they have not advertised or sent out notices to breeders that this information is available by e-mailing or calling the AQHA. I am an AQHA member, I subscribe to the Quarter Horse Journal and I own a stallion but I have not heard a word about being able to e-mail or call the association for genetic-testing results. Unfortunately, to me, this resembles the drug-testing rules, which seems to be just a money-maker. Horse owners are mandated to pay a drug-testing fee on each horse entered in an AQHA event, yet only a small percentage are ever drug checked.

Furthermore, if the AQHA is interested in cleaning up and preserving the integrity of the American Quarter Horse breed, it should make these test results available on line as soon as they can, and not wait for a new computer program that could be years down the road, so not only the owners of breeding mares but all AQHA members and even veterinarians can find this information immediately. That way, any stallion owner, mare owner or vet would immediately know the genetic-disease status of the stallion and the mare they are breeding.

It has been suggested to me that being able to immediately find out the results of a 5-Panel test only could be a separate report that could be a source of income for the AQHA, with fees of $5 or more for each, rather than the $1 currently being charged for the Horse Ownership Summary.

Also, if stallion owners are found guilty of, or responsible for, fraud by a jury in Federal Court, including false advertising, I feel the AQHA should include that infraction in their AQHA Handbook, along with the penalties that go along with it. The AQHA’s statement, “While it is possible that a judgment against an AQHA member for fraud may correspond to an AQHA rule infraction and hence possible disciplinary action, such would depend on the facts of the case and whether a final non-appealable judgment has been entered. With respect to the Minshall lawsuit, AQHA to date is unaware of a final judgment being entered in which a party was found guilty of fraud. While AQHA is aware of the Verdict Form in the lawsuit, Davisson said, “It does not constitute a final non-appealable judgment.”

Dufurrena’s ad in Performance Horse Journal

I realize that all of these answers from the AQHA, did not originate with Davisson, as she is the AQHA Manager of Publicity and Special Events. She worked hard to find answers for me. However, could it be that the statement given to me as the answer to the question I asked the AQHA regarding the Dufurrena’s actions being rule infractions and penalties for such, included a hint of favoritism since the Dufurrenas are currently major advertisers in every issue of the AQHA’s new publication, Performance Horse Journal?

One must remember, it was proven at trial that the Dufferena’s advertised Auspicious Cat as HERDA N/N when in fact he was HERDA Positive, which they knew from prior genetic testing. Court documents and the jury identified this revelation as FRAUD!

If the AQHA wants to live up to their Mission Statement of “preserving the integrity of the Quarter Horse breed,” they need to do it by informing the breeding public of results from all genetic tests as quickly as possible, so mistakes like the Minshalls made won’t show up in Federal Court in the future. Also, those responsible will suffer the consequences and it won’t be a veterinarian’s responsibility if he collects a stallion and ships semen from a HERDA-carrier stallion to a HERDA-carrier mare. If the stallion owner won’t give him a copy of the stallion’s HERDA status, he can simply go to the AQHA site and get one – for both the stallion and the mare being bred.

What I got out of this lengthy and costly seven-day jury trial in a Federal Court is that if you are a stallion owner and standing your stallion to the public, that stallion and breeding mare’s genetic information should be available on the AQHA website immediately, whether or not it’s a stand-alone document or included under the Horse Ownership Summary. It would eliminate a lot of heartache, lawsuits and lawyer bills.

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☛ An emotional, patriotic weekend 2-25-17





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 25, 2017

I seldom write an opinion piece in a Letter From The Editor; however, last weekend I watched two Western events at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with an announced close to 40,000 spectators, and heard about two other major horse events held during the same weekend, including the NRCHA’S World’s Greatest Horseman and Celebration of Champions held at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center and the Mercuria cutting held during The Mane Event, a cutting competition held at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev. After attending and hearing about these four events, I was moved to write how these events affected me and I’m sure a lot of others, due to the obvious patriotism of the contestants as well as the spectators.

I attended the PBR’s “Iron Man” and watched RFD-TV’s “The American” on television that awarded millions of dollars to contestants in the Western industry at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas – home of the Dallas Cowboys.

None of these contestants in any of these events refused to stand and take off their hats during the National Anthem or put their hands over their heart during the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. No one took the microphone and spewed hatred toward others, regardless of their color, country, age or association affiliation. No contestants took a knee. No protestors stood outside carrying signs and chanting hatred.

From the huge American flag that took up one whole end of the arena in AT&T stadium, held by youth and competitors, while the National Anthem was being sung, to the introduction of a veteran who had lost his legs while doing his duty to protect this country, they brought a huge lump in my throat and a tear to my eyes, as I’m sure it did to many others.

Contestants helped each other and cheered them on – regardless of their color, religion or the city, state or country they came from. Millionaire cowboys competed on a level playing field with dead-broke cowboys and teenagers. There were competitors from most of the United States, Brazilians, Blacks, Mexicans, Indians, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, with many members of various associations across the world – and some were just individuals who loved rodeo. There were World Champions, past World Champions, college students, newcomers, teenagers and even brothers who were all excited to be in the same arena. Obviously, their most prized possessions were the horses they competed on.

One of the most spectacular exhibits of patriotism was held just prior to the NCHA Mercuria cutting Finals held that same weekend during The Mane Event aged events held at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

Although I was not able to be there, I heard it was above spectacular, so I called Paula Gaughan and asked her to tell me what went on there. I was truly impressed by her response:

“We emptied the main arena and loping end for an hour after the regular show ended. After we got all our opening props in the arena, we opened the doors and people were let into a dark house with very minimal lighting.

After all were seated, the voice of Tom Holt came out of the dark. He opened with a prayer and asked everyone to direct their attention to the loping area. He began with, “I was born in 1777 and went on to describe the places he had been and the battles he had seen, the children he saw every day in their classrooms and the soldiers he had buried and honored. The arena is still dark and at the end of his monologue, he says, “I am your American Flag!”

At that precise moment, a 50-foot flag that had been concealed in the rafters in a piece of equipment, dropped in all its glory, with glitter coming out of it and was lit up with tons of lights – all on the flag!! There was amazement and pride on all the faces of those in attendance. Then another set of lights lit up a 20-foot tall red, white and blue cowboy boot in the cutting pen. Music played with the voice of Tom Holt describing the role of the cowboy boot in the American tradition of the American cowboy – its history and the history of the American Cowboy, who were American heroes.

Then a military version of the National Anthem played and a girl came out of the back of the boot with a huge American flag on a big black-and-white Paint horse and took a lap in the arena. She and the horse had been concealed in the boot during the entire seating, 

Holt then introduced the Mercuria finalists who walked out to a red carpet in front of the boot with spotlights on them. To cap it off, we then introduced Brigadier General David Hicks (nicknamed Trashman) who was the Air Force Commander General in Kabul, Afghanistan. He carried the Crown Royal Whiskey bag with the numbers in it for the draw and shook hands with every contestant as he went to each one and they drew their number. It was all very moving and special!

Now, even though that was all very cool, there was a minor problem in the hydraulics had happened with the girl on the horse. As the National Anthem was playing, they were supposed to slowly rise up out of the boot. You would have first seen the tip of the flag peeking out until the entire flag, girl and horse were atop the boot , where they would revolve through the end of the National Anthem. Even though it didn’t happen that way, no one knew the difference, and it was still spectacular!

The whole opening was possible because of Cotton Rosser of the Flying U Rodeo Company. His son, Reno, and granddaughter Lindsay, who was the girl on the Paint in the boot, have performed this thousands of times and I have had the privilege of seeing it and asked him if he could bring it to us.

But honestly 90 percent of the people there did not have a clue it did not go as it was supposed to. It was meant to be a salute to America – our great country – and honor things we hold dear. I really think we accomplished that. Paula continued, saying that the patriotic show was also to showcase the amazing horses and riders that made the finals of the Mercuria event, especially since there had been eight sets of horses in the go-rounds.

Now, the next problem. How the heck do we top that next year??? It’s back to the drawing board.”

This was the horse world I grew up in; however, when I and my children competed in playdays and rodeos, it was for hundreds of dollars and trophies – not millions of dollars, ruby-studded belt buckles, 100-pound trophies, television cameras, sky cams, monster screens and an audience of thousands of spectators who paid hundreds of dollars to attend and park at the event. But our love of the event and resolve to win in this wonderful country was the same.

For a short time I was back in a world of competitors who had love and respect for their peers, their animals and their country. Although competition and winning was the object, they were all friends and helped each other – and honored our country during the rodeos by the cowboys taking off their hats and cowgirls putting their hand over their hearts while standing and singing the National Anthem and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. God Bless America!!!

Click for Las Vegas video>>

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☛ Dual Peppy receiving laser therapy on stem cells 10-28-16





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 28, 2016

Dual Peppy at the Blue Rose Ranch in Colorado. Photo was taken in July 2016.

There has been some controversy about the movement of Dual Peppy to the Babcock Ranch in Sanger, Texas. However, after talking with Patricia Woodrick, who lives close to the Babcock Ranch and visits with the stallion daily, I feel Dual Peppy is not only getting help but the latest and best help that a horse can get. Since Woodrick  has become involved in the stallion’s recovery, I felt the public needed to know who she is and what she is doing for Dual Peppy – free of charge.. She has headed several studies including the effects of laser therapy on stem cells and is currently working on a study for a new equine therapy device using lixels instead of pixels to increase the delivery of photon magnetic wave therapy.


According to Woodrick, the  stallion’s loss of weight and muscle is tragic and his current condition is not indicative of the pictures taken when he left Blue Rose Ranch in July. She said that Jim Babcock reached out to her to provide Dual Peppy every opportunity for recovery that is available.


Woodrick knows about this kind of trauma as she has experienced the same type of trauma in her own health resulting in her own body clinically eating itself, “0” fat content and a huge percentage of muscle loss. She states that because she’s human, she has her own ability to seek help  and Dual Peppy now has someone who is taking care of the same critical medial issues that end the lives of people and animals alike.


Woodrick also addresses nutrition, saying “His nutrition has to be managed as much as his medical issues. Adding full body class IV therapy treatment will trigger the natural component of his body to stimulate stem cell production, accelerate tissue and muscle regeneration in addition to providing pain relief.”


Following is the full letter from Patricia Woodrick:


You may remember me from many years ago.  Due to some injuries, I no longer show, train or breed pleasure horses.

I have been very involved in equine therapy working first as a salesperson and educator for major therapy manufacturers of equine medical therapy devices, including modalities such as *photon, acoustic wave, sound wave, and magnetic wave therapy. Basically laser, shock wave, ultrasound and magnetic stimulation.

I also have headed several studies that have included the effects of laser therapy on stem cells and I am currently working on a study for a new equine therapy device using lixels instead of pixels to increase the delivery of photon therapy. It’s been really interesting and a growing educational experience.

I have become involved with Dual Peppy’s recovery.  I am aware of some of the controversy about his move to the Babcock ranch. I posted on the Blue Rose Ranch Horse Rescue and adoption page about Dual Peppy’s condition and treatment. There are two different posts.  I had two thoughts I wanted the public to understand.  I wish I would have combined them.

This horse has a very long way to full recovery- if that is possible. His current condition is not indicative of the pictures taken when he left Blue Rose Ranch. They should be commended for his care and I only wish he was in the same health as the pictures represent.

His care after his departure from Blue Rose Ranch and Horse rescue and before he arrived at Jim Babcock’s ranch early this month is what should be questioned by those who are so worried about the care Jim Babcock is providing for this animal!

The regression that has taken place in just his weight and muscle loss is tragic.

Jim Babcock reached out to me to provide this animal EVERY opportunity for recovery available. As I said in my second post on Blue Rose’s Facebook page, I  have experienced such trauma in my own health,  resulting in my own body clinically eating itself, a “0”  fat content, huge percentage  of muscle loss and the decrease of my T level to near non existence!

Luckily I am human and have my own ability to seek help.  Luckily, Dual Peppy has someone who is taking care of the same critical medical issues that end the lives of people and animals alike!

There are many technical aspects of the treatments Dual Peppy is receiving. The atrophy of his muscles create body pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Doctors tell you “protein, protein, protein.”

For Dual Peppy, too much is as dangerous as not enough. His nutrition has to be managed as much as his medical issues. Adding full body class IV therapy treatment will trigger the natural components of his body to stimulate stem cell production, accelerate tissue and muscle regeneration In addition to providing pain relief.

Everyone should know that this amazing animal survived because he had the will and the heart to live.  If he had not been rescued, it would not have been enough.

The intervention of all involved should be commended. Everyone should know that the story has not ended and his fight is not over yet. For those concerned, knowing if this animal will ever breed again is a question that will not and cannot be answered in the near future.

The main concern at the Babcock Ranch is the comfort, care, dignity and recovery of this unique, magnificent animal.

I have been involved in many aspects of the horse industry. I am proud that it has brought me to a place of involvement, which allows me to be a part of his recovery and life.


Thank you for your time and warmest regards.

It’s been a very long time.



Patricia Woodrick



Editor’s note:

Photon therapy: A type of radiation therapy that uses x-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.

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☛ BLM won’t kill 45,000 horses & burros 9-18-16






By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 18, 2016

Wild horses being rounded up by helicopter.

Just hours after my article was published on Sept. 15, the BLM is having second thoughts about the wild horse population on public lands and has said they “won’t kill wild horses.”


Also, the morning after my previous article was published, Rick Dennis, who wrote a lot of the articles published again yesterday, had a phone call from the BLM this morning in response to the article. They are listening.



Following is a response from the BLM published by Reuters.




The US government said on Wednesday (Sept. 14)  it has no plans to euthanize a large share of the more than 45,000 wild horses and burros removed from lands mostly in the U.S. West, after an advisory panel’s proposal to kill some of the animals sparked outrage.


U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials said they struggle to find people to adopt the growing number of wild horses and burros, which costs the agency millions annually to maintain in corrals and pasturelands.


The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board on Friday recommended the bureau consider euthanizing the animals that cannot be adopted, or selling them to companies that might slaughter them.


But Tom Gorey, spokesman for the bureau, said in an email that the agency will “continue its current policy of carrying for unadopted or unsold wild horses and burros” and will “not sell or send any animals to slaughter.”


The bureau is expected to formally respond to the panel at its meeting within months.


The panel’s recommendation created an uproar among animal rights activists and highlighted the challenges ahead for the U.S. government as it seeks to control the population of wild horses and burros.


Gillian Lyons, wild horse and burro program manager for Humane Society of the United States, said members of the public were quick to criticize the idea of killing the wild animals.


“It’s something the American public just doesn’t know about, you don’t think of wild horses being held in facilities all across the United States,” Lyons said.


She added that the bureau has a responsibility to the animals because it captured them.


Even after decades of round-ups of wild horses and burros, 67,000 of these animals roam the United States, mostly in Nevada and California, according to government estimates.


Without natural predators, they have proliferated far beyond the roughly 27,000 animals the U.S. government says would be a population low enough to prevent overgrazing and preserve land for other animals. The bureau spends nearly $50 million a year in upkeep for captured horses and burros, Gorey said.


The Humane Society alleges the bureau spends so much paying private contractors to hold the animals that it cannot afford to expand its program to administer birth control to the animals on the range, which it contends would be more effective for population control than round-ups.


But the bureau counters fertility control is difficult in part because the birth control drug wears off in less than two years.


(Posted by Reuters, reported by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Marguerita Choy)


Some of the facts in the above response from the BLM don’t make sense, with of them being that they claim above, “Without natural predators, they have proliferated far beyond the roughly 27,000 animals the U.S. government says would be a population low enough to prevent overgrazing and preserve land for other animals.”


The BLM is the government agency that spent over $80 million a year to kill the predators, 10 times more than what they spent to get rid of wild horses and burros. If they left the predators alone, nature would take its course and keep the horse population sustainable – as well as the cattle population.


An article published by The Daily Pitchfork entitled “Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West,” contains many more interesting statistics, including the fact that 21,000 ranchers who graze their livestock on Western rangelands are estimated to have cost the taxpayers $500 million in 2014 – and every year for the past decade and that a large number of them are millionaires, billionaires and multi-billion-dollar corporations.


The fee that livestock operators paid a month for an AUM (animal unit month) in 2014 was $1.35 – the lowest price that can legally be charged. The market price to graze on private land is $21.60. Fees set by other federal agencies and individual states on public property are also significantly higher. The majority of this money is spent on range rehabilitation, leaving only approximately $7.9 million going into the Treasury.


It also costs the BLM over $80 million a year to kill predators, that’s $380 per rancher and 10 times that much ($3,809) to get rid of wild horses and burros – with most of them going to slaughter. In the end, special interest welfare (money going to ranchers, EPA, USDA, Dept of Justice and US Army Corp of Engineers) is estimated between $500 million and $1 billion a year.


In 2014, BLM and USFS permit holders paid an estimated $18.5 million in fees to graze 1.14 million livestock units on the 229 million acres of federal land used for grazing. But only a fraction (between 1/3 and ¼) of that actually went into the Treasury. In other words, 2/3 to ¾ of the low fees ranchers pay go back into their pockets. Public land ranchers were paid $376 for what cost taxpayers $6,838 last year.


Click here for article>>


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☛ Why is Jim Bret Campbell out as NCHA ED? 8-26-16




An editorial by Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 26, 2016

Jim Bret Campbell
NCHA Photo

An announcement made on the NCHA’s website on Aug. 25 stated, “effective immediately, Jim Bret Campbell is no longer serving as the Executive Director of the NCHA.” It also stated that NCHA President Chuck Smith would be the interim Executive Director until a new Executive Director is hired. The statement, signed by the NCHA Executive Committee, left many questions unanswered.

Click for NCHA press release>>


Why was Campbell leaving without serving out his five-year contract that had previously been told to me was a 5-year, million-dollar contract that started on June 10, 2013? The 2014 NCHA 990 had Jim Bret Campbell receiving $224,827 plus $8,400 from other organizations.

Click for NCHA 2014 990>>


Rumors have been running rampant, and I will attempt to find some answers in the days to come. There has also been some word that some members of the Finance Committee have also resigned. I tried to contact Jim Bret for a statement; however, his wishes are to not talk to me for a couple of days. I also put in a call for Lach Perks, vice chairman of the Finance Committee but so far, no response.

Click for NCHA announcement of Campbell’s hiring>>


I hate to see Jim Bret leave the NCHA as he was the first NCHA Executive Director that had some transparency. Jim Bret was the first Executive Director who was willing to take my phones calls, return my phone calls and answer my questions. I was even invited to go to the NCHA office to go over their tax returns with Jim Bret and the accountants. Jim Bret even held an open meeting for all members when trainers were complaining about the payout at the major aged events.


The only other Executive Director I could also communicate with was the short-lived Executive Director Alan Steen, who lasted 11 weeks on the job and when he left in August 2012, from a lawsuit he filed against NCHA, he received the amount of money that he had invested or lost during his short-term employment in 2012. Steen replaced long-time Executive Director Jeff Hooper, who wouldn’t take or return my phone calls.

Click for Alan Steen article>>


Perhaps some of this upheaval came from finances, but I would think that fault lands with the Finance Committee or Treasurer. The latest IRS 990s that I could get from most of the Western horse organizations was for the 2013-2014 years, as 2015 would not have been filed yet. The NCHA finances were near the bottom of the list, showing a loss of $1,071.447 in 2013 and $484,711 in 2014, up $586,736. However, their net assets were down $493,168 from $6,243,541 in 2013 to $5,750,373 in 2014.

Click for chart of Western horse non-profits>>


Over the years, the NCHA has received millions of dollars from the State of Texas and City of Fort Worth; however, that money, coming from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, has moved from the State Comptroller’s office to the Governor’s office and according to news reports is being carefully looked over.

Click for article on Texas METF>>


I will try to keep informed if I can find someone who will talk to me.





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☛ Are AQHA & NCHA really trying to change? 5-19-16








By Glory Ann Kurtz
May 17, 2016

With alarming drops in membership numbers and as a result finances, could it be possible that horse organizations are changing their course by trying to get members back who have left, woo new members and increase their dwindling youth participation and they are trying to figure out how to do it?


Two major associations in particular have made major changes to their rules, regulations and have published efforts to change or have renewed focus on their members and what they want. The major one is the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) who just held their convention in Las Vegas, Nev., and announced many changes. The other is the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA), whose Convention is on tap for June 24-26 in Grapevine, Texas.



The AQHA recently published a release from their new Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines, sharing some of their highlights from the AQHA Executive Committee meeting held April 26-28. Huffhines said, “Ensuring the humane treatment of the American Quarter Horse remains a priority for this Executive Committee, and much discussion occurred this week on continuing to improve upon monitoring at competition and the enforcement of an effective violation system. Another item included supporting and the advancement of their ranch programs and youth development.”


They recently published their financial statements that showed a lot of downs, including net assets that decreased from $102,425,786 in 2014 to $96,632,667 in 2015.


An  article by Katie Tims in the May 1, 2015 Quarter Horse News stated that the latest financial statement shows a $5.3 million decrease in the value of the AQHA’s investments. In an interview with Trent Taylor, AQHA Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer, he said about $2 million of that is explained by a dip in the stock market that coincided with the close of the AQHA’s fiscal year.” He continued that in the past decade we have relied heavily on our investments and our earnings from those investments to help offset some of our operational expenses. We have been using those funds to help keep operations going without having to have additional increases in fees or cutting out programs.  It is standard practice for a nonprofit to have one year’s operating budget in reserve, so it’s important that we wean ourselves off of using investment money to cover operations. We need to build those reserves back to stay strong and healthy for the future.”


Taylor continued that the AQHA had spent a great deal of their reserves on the computer database system. “But this investment is absolutely required to move AQHA forward. Right now, we’re using technology that was put into place in 1992. We’re talking about millions and millions of records and they’re all related and they’re all tied back together.”


One big surprise in the financials was the fact that the AQHA has a $600,000 loan with the Amarillo National Bank, with monthly payments of $10,798, interest at 3%, maturing May 1, 2018, secured by Negative Pledge Agreement. Balance $331,281. Also, there is a $1,375,000 loan with Amarillo National Bank, monthly payment of $24,683, interest at 2.85%, maturing May 1, 2019; Unsecured. Balance $1,029,317.

Click for 2014-2015 Consolidated Financial Statements>>


Membership is also down considerably; however, Taylor said they had only a 1 percent decrease in membership this year, which is good news because it’s the smallest decrease we’ve had since 2007. The past three years have been almost level. To me, that’s a positive sign. It’s sure better than having a double-digit decrease.” Also youth membership is down 26% from since 2006. In a Town Hall meeting, AQHA Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Walsh said the youth membership, or lack thereof, is the 800-pound gorilla in Amarillo.

Click for AQHA membership chart>>


AQHA’s attention turns to animal welfare:

However, prior to the AQHA Convention, the AQHA issued a press release on the results of the AQHA Animal Welfare Grievance Committee’s list of violations, which would be forwarded to the Executive Committee. The Committee was established four years ago. It stated that AQHA’s utmost concern is for the health and well-being of the American Quarter Horse. Part of their mission statement says that the “American Quarter Horse shall be treated humanely, with dignity,, respect and compassion at all times.”


According to AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines, “AQHA’s goal is to educate both members and non-members on the issue of animal welfare. It is our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our horse – the American Quarter Horse.”

Click for Animal Welfare violations>>


On May 13, 2016, two press releases from the AQHA went out. “Animal Welfare: A Continuing Effort” reported on the AQHA Executive Committee continuing to make strides for The benefit of the American Quarter Horse at their April meeting in Amarillo. The press release said that “Actions that will take place in 2016 based on the Executive Committee decisions include: 1) AQHA will develop a resource document outlining the steps members can take when they call AQHA with an animal-abuse complaint. 2) AQHA will work collaboratively with the American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation and the American Horse Council to develop biosecurity isolation protocol guidelines to include vaccination guidelines that could be implemented at AQHA-approved shows. 3) AQHA will amend its current rule that prohibits the use of dye or other substances to alter or hide natural markings to also include the prohibition of dye to hide abuse and 4) AQHA will prohibit the use of belly bands at AQHA events starting June 1, 2016.





Also, AQHA will continue to periodically publish news release on its website with the names of people and unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as recommendations approved by the Executive Committee. An article in Horse Talk, calls this the ‘Name And Shame’ policy.

Click for animal welfare release>>


The other release listed added show rules, including SHW 300.2 – AQHA judges have the authority to require the removal or alteration of any piece of equipment or accouterment which is unsafe, or in his opinion would tend to give a horse an unfair advantage or which he believes to be inhumane. AQHA judges will now have the authority to also disqualify exhibitors for any piece of accouterment or attire that would give an exhibitor an unfair advantage.  The amended or new rules will be effective June 1.

Click for AQHa Show Rules Press Release>>


These releases from the AQHA are a step in the right direction; however, the question now is will the AQHA enforce these rules or will they will adhered to by the judges like the movement of the pleasure horse – and be ignored.


An example of this is even though the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is getting involved and plans to take their big step to strengthen the Horse Protection Act, since current regulations are failing to protect horses from a core group of trainers and owners who ignore them. A press release dated April 4, 2016 from the USDA, states that a segment of the Tennessee walking horse industry is showing no willingness to root out the abuse festering in its ranks – soring. The USDA recently revealed that a startling 87.5 percent of horses the agency randomly selected for testing at the 2015 Celebration, the industry’s premier event, were found positive for illegal foreign substances used to sore horses or temporarily numb them to mask their pain during inspection. Also 100 percent of the sampled horses’ leg wrappings tested positive for chemicals banned from use in the show ring by the USDA.

Click for USDA article>>



With the membership and financials of the NCHA going in the same direction as the AQHA’s, they have turned to their members and promised “transparency.” This all started when members and contestants evidently didn’t realize that the association was in a dire financial position as it had not received expected state money from the Major Event Trust Fund (METF) of the state of Texas – and that they may never receive it. (as a side note, I notice the NCHA is still requesting donations on their Triple Crown entry blanks, for the NCHA PAC, which gives donations to congressional members who might have a say on who receives the METF money).


When it came time for the Futurity, members didn’t realize until they received they win checks that the event was simply a “jackpot,” and there had been no money added to the NCHA Futurity purse, the largest event that the NCHA holds annually and is the first of the Triple Crown events.


Contestants, trainers and members were appalled and social media went crazy.  However, Jim Bret Campbell, the new NCHA Executive Director jumped into action and decided that it was time for transparency – something that the Executive Committee had evidently never previously thought was needed.


A Town Hall meeting was immediately held in Fort Worth and since then, three other Town Hall meetings were scheduled at the NCHA Eastern National Championships in Jackson, Miss., the NCHA Super Stakes and the NCHA Western National Championships in Denver.  During these meetings, Campbell informed the membership of another problem: they were close to losing all of their records due to their out-dated information technology (IT), and they desperately needed an upgrade, which they are currently in the middle of – and it’s not cheap!


According to an article in the May 15, 2016 Quarter Horse News, Editor Stacy Pigott, interviewed Campbell who said that membership is trending downward and the number of affiliates are shrinking. (Less than 10 years ago, there were 138 affiliates. In 2015 there were 103.) The number of horses that won money and the entries at regional affiliate championship shows are also dropping. He also said that while entries at the NCHA’s Triple Crown shows are up, it is a result of the same people entering more classes, rather than a greater number of people showing. There is also a decline in the entries at the Eastern and Western National Championship shows.

Click for QHN article on NCHA Convention>>


What Campbell didn’t mention is that other cutting associations are springing up and having successful shows, some with a different menu of classes based toward newcomers and those who have not won a lot of money. One association counts aged-event money won by horses as earnings; therefore, those horses that won money at the NCHA Triple Crown and other aged events, can’t enter their Novice Horse classes – making them true Novice Horse classes.


Also, a lot of members have drifted off to less-expensive horse events such as the fast-growing ranch horse competitions. Also, like the AQHA, the NCHA’s youth membership is also shrinking. If the parents leave the AQHA or NCHA, so do their children.


I commend the NCHA and Campbell for holding the Town Hall meetings; however, I think that they should inform ALL of their members about what went on in those meetings and how their Executive Committee has responded – and what changes are being planned. Possibly some of this will be addressed at the NCHA Convention scheduled for June 24-26 at the Hilton DFW Lakes in Grapevine, Texas.





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