Equus Film Fest to Include Panel Discussion on TWH Soring

And HN’s own Candace Wade will be moderating! Candace offers us a lively preview of what she’s expecting from her experience.

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So, I learn to ride a horse in my 40s. I write a book about it. Then, a piece I wrote on a layperson’s observations on the issue of soring Tennessee Walking Horses graces the pages of Horse Nation. Voila! I’m on a book writers’ panel at the 2015 Equus Film Festival in New York City on November 20 through the 22.

But, wait, there’s more. Next, there’s a call asking if I would moderate a panel on soring for the festival. Heck, yeah! There has been a flurry of e-mail introductions to judges, panel moderators and other participants. Now my new “horse-sistah” is fellow panel moderator June Burgess from County Down, Ireland — the creator of the Equestrian Trailblazers Summit. (I see cocktails with June in my future.) Just goes to show that riding horses can lead to more adventures than clearing a five-foot jump or being chased by a swarm of hornets on the trail.

Who Will Be On My “Soring – What are They Thinking?” Panel

Here’s where it gets really fun (and makes me glad I am as well-seasoned as a flank steak). The panel will consist of the following five members:

Suzi Clark, filmmaker: Clark has been a Walking Horse breeder/owner/exhibitor for 22 years and a certified inspector for three. She is affiliated with the All-American Walking Horse Alliance, or AAWHA. Her film “Pass the PAST Act” will be shown prior to the panel along with “See It Through My Eyes – The Big Lick,” a film created by Girl Scout Troop # 44 from Franklinville, NY.

Jeannie McGuire, horsewoman, lobbyist and one of the founders of AAWHA.

Leana Stormont, lead attorney on equine abuse cases for Humane Society of the United States – Equine Division

Walter Blankinship, who has over 25 years as a trainer, instructor, breeder, stable manager and owner of Kensington Stables in Prospect Park, New York. Mr. Blankinship researches animal welfare issues and is a member of Performance Horse Support.

Dr. Gregory A. Beroza, DVM, DACVS, DABVP, equine veterinarian at Long Island Equine Medical Center. Dr. Beroza has two non-soring related documentaries in the festival. With his professional sound-equine experience, he has questions regarding the practice of soring and possible alternatives.

My Job?

My job is to encourage fresh dialogue among the panelists and make sure the audience can connect with them. After arrow-quick introductions of the members, I will be herding five vocal and eager professionals who are passionate about their personal familiarity with the subject of soring coming from divergent angles. Whew, possible sparks? Grab the marshmallows.

Mix It Up — It’s a Good Thing

Lively dialogue is needed on the subject of soring. Originally only including two speakers, I was concerned the panel would be a yawn of women sharing heartbreaking stories of horse abuse. I could hear the hint of tip-toeing in Lisa Diersen’s voice (the engine behind the Equus Film Festival NYC) when she called to lay on the news of the additional three panel members — including two men — one with possible opposing views. I surprised her with my whoop of zeal. Yes! My panel will have the energy of mixed ideas.

The kicker is, the panels are just shy of an hour. Five panelists. Audience with questions. How will this work out? It’s a mystery. I will probably march the panel and audience down the street  to the Ukrainian Village East Restaurant so we can continue — with a little vodka. But I can see it being great. Why am I not overcome with eminent disaster? No clue. Why can’t I harness this same surety and vision of success when I’m cantering an unfamiliar horse on the trail? It’s a puzzlement.

Kindred Spirits

Maybe my new friend June will have some insight. Or, Yvonne Barteau (author of Ride the Right Horse: Understanding the Core Equine Personalities & How to Work with Them) who I first met at The Festival of the Horse and Drum last August and is also attending. Who else? Who else will I turn a corner and bump into, sit next to at a film or spill vodka on who will further enrich my life?  I will try not to “rocket-back” the intoxication of being immersed in this sea of equestrian talent and knowledge. But, I can add this challenge as  one more treasure to the gifts I have received from being associated with horses.

Keep an eye out for Candace’s post-panel wrap-up on Horse Nation!

Candace Wade wrote the book “Horse Sluts – The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw.” She has contributed to Horse Nation, Mature Lifestyles and The Tennessean. Candace writes political diatribe, wrote “Hillary’s View” pet column and four unpublished film scripts.  She learned to ride at age 46. Still rides at 59+.


“Horse Sluts” is available on Amazon, Taborton Equine Books, Northshire Bookstore and True West Campground and Mercantile. Meet Candace at the Equus Film Festival NYC in November, where she will be sitting in on a literature panel. Keep it tuned to Horse Nation for an upcoming book review!


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