Abusing animals for blue ribbons? My first dispatch on the Tennessee Walking Horse Community

For the last three months, I’ve been looking at allegations of abuse in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. In August, a case brought against celebrated horse trainer, Larry Wheelon, was dismissed in county court in Maryville, Tennessee. Since then, government officials, lawyers, community supporters, and industry critics have been locked in battle: over culture, law, and how we should treat the animals caught in the middle.

Above: Shades of Cash, one of the 19 horses seized from Larry Wheelon’s stables last spring, stands in a pen at McNutt Farm after being returned on November 8, 2013. (Photo: Adam McCauley)

My first dispatch for Al Jazeera America, while lacking a wealth of material compiled still locked in my notebooks, was published this morning.

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