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

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, FROM THE EDITOR, HORSE HEALTH, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 3 comments

FROM THE EDITOR:

HAS THE AQHA DONE ENOUGH TO REVEAL HORSES’ GENETICS?

 

WHAT IS AQHA DOING TO AVOID LAWSUITS? 

 

An opinion piece by Glory Ann Kurtz
Editor and owner of AllAboutCutting.com
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.”

AQHA GENETIC POOL SHRINKS:

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 allAboutCutting.com 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:

http://www.aqha.com.au/horse/online_services/horse_enquiries.asp

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

http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=2231292F&2=2428&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A

Click for the result;

http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=2231292F&2=2420&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A&6=5D5D5C5B5827262621&9=5C505A5C

“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.”

 

DOES AQHA HAVE RESPONSIBILITY?

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: https://www.aqha.com/media/13951/genetic-disease-descriptions-1.pdf

 

See the following AQHA link regarding genetic testing: www.aqha.com/genetictesting

 

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>>

 

RULE CHANGES:

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.”

 

IN MY OPINION:

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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☛ Horse trainer gets 5 years for torturing horses 3-31-17

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, HORSE ABUSE, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

HOOF-CARVING HORSE TRAINER SENTENCED FOR TORTURING HORSES

ROBERT DIMITT GETS FIVE YEARS FOR DEATHS OF SEVERAL HORSES

March 31, 2017

Almost two years  after Robert Dimitt, 57, a horse trainer from Sallisaw, Okla., was arrested, the hoof-carving horse trainer was sentenced to five years in prison on March 23 for the mutilation deaths of multiple horses. With the new year, comes new laws about animal abuse, which changes their penalties to a felony.

Dimitt will also spend 10 years on parole after he is released and he is prohibited from being around any horses during that time. If he breaks any of these rules, he will be returned to prison.

A month ago, Dimitt modified his plea from to guilty to no contest, which allowed the judge to decide his fate rather than a jury. Dimitt’s attorney had sought probation.

According to an article in the Sequoyah County Times, the sentencing followed a lengthy investigation following a tip from Charlotte Northam. She said she went to pick up three horses and instead of three healthy horses, she found one dead and two starved with mutilated feet. The owners of one of the horses had turned down $500,000 for her as she had won in excess of $355,000 in 15 months. The only horse alive was Gold Digging Ashley, with the mare spending a long time at the Oakridge Veterinarian Clinic in Edmond.

Agent Larry Bailey said that a number of horses taken from Dimitt’s care showed signs of being beaten or tortured.

“The horses had considerable damage to their back feet. We were told that Dimitt was bleeding their back feet to let the demons out,” said Bailey. Sheriff Ron Lockhart said that investigators found several horse carcasses on the ranch and the veterinarians had to check on the other horses that were still alive. The sheriff’s office had contacted the owners of the animals and many were surprised to find out the horses they thought were being taken care of Dimitt was released on $25,000 bond.

Northam, a agent for Kentucky racehorse owner Edward D. Leslie, MD, said “Dimitt cut the frogs out of the horses’ hooves to “make them run faster.” Northam says she hopes this case will make horse owners more aware of what can happen when you don’t check on your horses in training. “People need to make more physical well-being checks and be very careful of what trainer they use.”

Information for this article was taken from the Sequoyah County Times and Rate My Horse Pro articles.

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☛ C. T. Babcock Celebration of Life scheduled 3-24-17

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

C. T. BABCOCK CELEBRATION OF LIFE SCHEDULED

March 24, 2017

The family and friends of Clayton Thomas (CT) Babcock is inviting everyone to attend a Celebration of Life. A memorial has been set for 2:30 pm Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Sanger, TX at the Babcock Ranch, located at 2300 S. Stemmons (on W. side of I-35 between the school and ball park).

In lieu of flowers a trust account has been set up for C.T.’s three children: daughters, Riley Evelyn (17), Ryan Lane (15) of Aubrey, Texas and son, Jaxon Burdette (4) of Gainesville, Texas at the First State Bank of Gainesville. The account is listed as C.T. Babcock Benefit Account, FBO Riley Evelyn, Ryan Lane, and Jaxon Burdette Babcock.

There have been many items donated also for a benefit auction for C.T.’s children as well. They are hoping to be able to coordinated the auction with the Memorial. Please join them for a time of sharing cherished memories from his many treasured friends. There will be  further postings regarding any additional auction information.

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☛ C. T. Babcock’s death still undetermined 3-18-17

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

C. T. BABCOCK’S DEATH STILL UNDETERMINED

By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 18, 2017

C. T. Babcock and El Senor Red

Since Feb. 24, 2017, when Clayton Thomas (C. T.) Babcock, Gainesville, Texas, was found shot to death in his back yard, there has been no official conclusion about who pulled the trigger.

The 41-year-old son of Jim Babcock, Sanger, Texas, and Sharon Butler, Gainesville, Texas, was raised in the horse industry and rode and showed many of the industry’s best horses.

According to his obituary, published in the Denton Record Chronicle, C. T., graduated from Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Texas, in 1993 and was voted student body president and played offensive tackle for the Gainesville, High School. He attended East Texas State and the University of North Texas. At the time of his death, he was employed by Bill Utter Ford. He also enjoyed working with computers and excelled at anything electronically related.

C. T. was born on Oct. 9, 1975 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. His grandfather, Ross Clayton Babcock still lives in Alymer, Ontario, Canada. His grandmother, Anna Jean Babcock  predeceased him. His other grandmother Marian Elaine Williamson lives in Skippack, Pa., while his other grandfather Thomas Robert Williamson of Skippack is deceased.

He also has three children: daughters Riley Evelyn Babcock and Ryan Lane Babcock of Aubrey, Texas, and a son, Jaxon Burdette Babcock of Gainesville. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in law Troy and Jaime Babcock of Wheelock, Texas, and a step-sister Lydia Butler of Gainesville, Texas, as well as nieces Skylar Renee and Lexy Lena Babcock of Wheelock, Texas and Maddison Jane VanHoose of Gainesville, Texas.

The family is planning a memorial Celebration of Life on the tentative date of April 2. In lieu of flowers there has been a trust fund set up for C. T.’s three children at First State Bank, Gainesville, Texas (C.T. Babcock Benefit Account, FBO Riley, Ryan and Jaxon Babcock).

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☛ Herda status of Auspicious Cat goes on trial 3-11-17

Posted by on Mar 11, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

HERDA STATUS OF  AUSPICIOUS CAT GOES ON TRIAL

 

JURY LAYS MOST OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR INJURY OF OFFSPRING ON EDWARD  AND SHONA DUFURRENA

By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 11, 2017

Following a seven-day trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, an eight-member jury (six women and two men) finalized responsibility of a HERDA-infected foal sired by Auspicious Cat, owned by Dos Cats Partners (headed up by Edward and Shona Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas), on the Dufurrenas.

The lawsuit was filed by Shawn, Lisa Victoria and Lauren Victoria Minshall, Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada, the owners of one of Canada’s top Thoroughbred and cutting horse breeding and training operations, vs Dr. David Hartman’s Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas, who sent the semen of Auspicious Cat to the Minshalls to breed to Miss Tassa Lena.

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE?

According to the jury, the Dufurrenas received 60 percent of the responsibility, with each receiving 30 percent of responsibility that caused or contributed to cause the occurrence or injury of a foal sired by Auspicious Cat out of the Minshall’s mare, Miss Tassa Lena. He was nicknamed “Otto,” and he was born with full-blown HERDA, a genetic skin disease. The disease was discovered when the colt was a 2-year-old and lesions appeared on its body while in training.

Also receiving responsibility were the Minshalls, with 10 percent going to each: Shawn, Lisa Victoria and their daughter Lauren Victoria, for a total of 30 percent. Receiving the least responsibility was Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, who received 10 percent of the responsibility.

The jury was given questions of guilt, with all six parties being found guilty of “Negligence incurring damage.” The Dufurrena’s were found guilty of committing fraud. All other questions regarding Hartman’s guilt were answered by “No.”

Click for verdict>>

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 Plaintiffs’ lost profits: $30,000 – for a total of $163,408.

At press time it was not available if  “who’s responsible?” has any relation to the compensatory damages.

THE LAWYERS:

Represented by Aaron J. Burke and Nathan Pearman of Hardline Ducus Barger Drey LLP, Dallas, Texas,  the Minshall’s lawyer was asking for $30,000 for the value of Otto, a high of $28,408 for training and boarding, $233,000 in expenses for training, boarding in the future, plus $3 million in Punitive damages and $165,000 in mental anguish, for a total of close to $3.5 million.

David Hartman, the principal of HERC, was represented by Jeffrey W. Ryan and Caleena D. Svalek of the law firm of Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson, P.C., also of Dallas. William Chamblee was originally scheduled to be Hartman’s lawyer; however, the last minute it was discovered he would be involved in another court case in Dallas and Jeffrey Ryan took over. The firm usually does trial cases for medical cases.

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☛ New ED and rules for NCHA 2-27-17

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, MAJOR EVENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

NEWS FROM THE NCHA

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; NEW RULES

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz

Feb. 27, 2017

Chuck Smith will take the reins of the Executive Director of the NCHA following the June convention.

More than likely the biggest news coming out of the NCHA is the fact that Chuck Smith, the current interim Executive Director, will be named the full-time Executive Director after the Convention held June 2-4 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Hotel in Grapevine, Texas.

According to an article on the NCHA website, “After reviewing the resumes of numerous applicants for the position, the Executive Committee felt Chuck’s combination of experience in the cutting horse industry, knowledge of the Association and its members and the love for the sport of cutting and the cutting horse uniquely qualify him to lead the Association into the future.

“NCHA staff had the opportunity to work with Chuck as an Interim Executive Director and believes this arrangement provides continuity and fully supports Chuck in this role.

“The Executive Committee is excited Chuck has made this commitment and looks forward to working with him and continuing to grow the Association under his leadership.”

At their Nov. 1, 2016 meeting, the Executive Committee gave the DFW Lakes Hotel in Grapevine a three-year contract for the Convention. During this time, the hotel room rates will be $134.00, guaranteed for the full three years with free airport shuttle, free parking and plenty of meeting space.  The upcoming dates for the Convention will be June 1-3, 2018; May 31-June 1-2, 2019 and June 5-7 in 2020.

Dave Brian reported that total entries in the 2016 NCHA Futurity were up 91 in 2016, compared to 2015’s numbers. Even so, several motions passed that were designed to cut costs to the Association, as they have been losing membership in most regions.

YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP CUTTING:

At the Nov. 1, 2016 Executive Committee meeting, Judy Morris presented the Youth Committee’s recommendation to increase the entry fee of the Scholarship cutting from its current $90 ($75 entry fee, $15 drug) to $150 ($135 entry fee – $15 drug). After discussion, it was moved by Phil Rapp, seconded by Tatum Rice and passed to increase the Youth Scholarship cutting entry fee, doubling it to $180.

MEMBERSHIP REPORT:

A motion was made by Lewis Wray, seconded by Jay Klamon and passed to approve the mailing of one Chatter for split joint lifetime memberships. Also ranches and businesses that have life memberships will no longer receive a Chatter but are allowed to vote in director and officer elections.

When a husband and wife both have separate memberships but a horse’s ownership is listed under both of their names, a motion passed that all partnerships are required to purchase a separate membership

Also, Rule 50.d.4, requires that all horse ownership transfers be filed with the breed registry within 30 days of the transfer and certain paperwork must be in place before that horse is shown. The Rule book states a $500 fine can be levied but there is not a procedure listed. Now the individual will receive a letter from NCHA counsel notifying them they have 30 days and after 30 days, the individual will receive a letter from counsel notifying them again and giving them 14 days to comply or a $500 fine will be assessed and the member will be advised of the appeal process.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Three years ago, the NCHA voted to provide $15,000 as seed funds for the European championships. Also Europe did not have to pay the $2 Championship fee and were allowed their non-pros the opportunity to ride two horses in shows with $199 and less in added money. These and other concessions will no longer be available as it is felt they have had time to develop a self-sustaining program.

REDUCTION IN SHOW CATTLE:

It was moved by Tatum Rice, seconded by Phil Rapp and passed to remove a quarter of a cow from all TRIPLE CROWN classes, beginning with the 2017 Super Stakes. The motion was later amended to NOT remove the quarter cow during the second go rounds and let it remain at four cows. It was also recommended to eliminate the current rewards from the Novice, Gelding and Senior classes at the Triple Crown events, stating this would result in savings of approximately $40,000. It was also determined that some type of award/prize would be given to those winners.

PAYOUT TASK FORCE:

With this meeting being held prior to the 2016 NCHA Futurity, the Payout Task Force proposed that the Futurity Open finals would pay the top six finishers all over $100,000. This was made possible through sponsors bonus money, which would be awarded in addition to the standard NCHA payout and count toward lifetime earnings. However a policy was instituted saying: Bonus Money contribution and distribution plan may be offered by member/sponsor/etc. at their discretion directly to rider(s). NCHA will not take part in the marketing, distribution plan and said Bonus Money will NOT be counted for lifetime rider and horse earnings. NCHA would provide the opportunity for “Bonus Money” to be presented on the arena floor immediately following the NCHA awards.

AWARD PROGRAM:

There was discussion of awarding fewer buckles in the Triple Crown events. It was moved and passed that a re-designed buckle, that will be awarded at the three national championship shows, would be reviewed.

SENIOR TOUR:

It was moved by Chris Dublin, seconded by Tatum Rice and passed to discontinue the Senior Tour in 2017. Reason being was that the NCHA software doesn’t adequately support the entry format at this time and many secretaries will not even offer it in their shows because of the difficulty in tracking entries and results.

Click for Nov. 1, 2016 NCHA minutees>>

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