published Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

National Celebration issues lifetime suspension for horse trainer

  • photo
    Horse trainer Jackie McConnell, right, leaves the Joel W. Solomon Federal Courthouse downtown with his attorney Hugh Moore.
    Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The premiere annual Tennessee Walking Horse competition has banned noted horse trainer Jackie McConnell from its show for life.

McConnell, 60, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chattanooga to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States in relation to Horse Protection Act violations.

After a meeting the same day the board of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn., voted to ban McConnell even from attending the event and to permanently remove any trace of his association with the show.

McConnell was captured in a Humane Society of the United States undercover video abusing a horse in his Collierville, Tenn., stables last year. He later was indicted on 52 counts related to horse soring.

Soring is an illegal and abusive practice involving application of corrosive chemicals such as kerosene or mechanical devices such as metal bolts to a horse’s feet to increase the walking horses’ naturally high-stepping gait and win breed competitions.

McConnell faces sentencing on Sept. 10 along with two of his employees who also pleaded guilty Tuesday.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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