In a precedent setting move, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration took decisive action on Tuesday, both denouncing and condemning the actions of trainer Jackie McConnell, who was both videotaped abusing a horse and admitted to a Horse Protection Act violation in federal court.
The TWHNC Board of Directors voted to suspend McConnell for life and also took the following action:
- Suspended McConnell for life from entering the TWHNC grounds for any and all events, regardless of the event's affiliation or ownership.
- Voted to permanently remove Mr. McConnell's name from the list of Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Hall of Fame inductees. Any picture, plaque, image or other mention of his name from Hall of Fame data will be permanently removed from this day forward and his name will be forever erased from Hall of Fame rolls.
- Voted to permanently remove any and all pictures and signage on the Celebration grounds carrying either the name of Jackie McConnell or the likeness.
- Banned from entry onto the TWHNC grounds any horse under the custodianship or presumed to be under the custodianship of Mr. McConnell.
"This action is the strongest we can take and it clearly reflects our disgust with the actions of Mr. McConnell,"said Dr. Doyle Meadows, TWHNC CEO. "His actions are not reflective of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, and we in no way want him associated with our show."