Walking horse trainer Joe Cotten suspended 7 1/2 years

Tennessee walking horse trainer Joe Cotten of Bell Buckle, Tenn., has been suspended for 7 1/2 years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW horse industry organization for filing false information at a June 15 horse show, according to a news release.

"This is one of the longest suspensions ever issued to a Tennessee walking horse trainer, even longer than what is required by the federal government," said SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins. The penalty could be increased after a hearing, Mullins said in the release.

The release said Cotten filed false entry information for five horses at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn., while on suspension from one horse industry organization and probation with another.

According to the release, Cotten hired Marvin North, a full time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take his horses through inspection and put them in the ring. Cotten used North's trainer's license number and told North that he would pay any fines the horses received.

This is the same violation that led to the indictment of Jackie McConnell and three of his employees, the release stated.

Cotten could not be reached for comment Saturday. A telephone number for Joe Cotten Stables in Bell Buckle, Tenn., was not in service.