Prominent cutting breeder Tommy Manion has been suspended by the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) amid allegations of horse abuse. He does not face criminal charges.
Manion was accused of shooting his own horse with a BB gun on July 15 at an NCHA-sanctioned cutting in Whitesboro, Texas. Video of the incident was provided to the NCHA, which sent the footage to Grayson County (Texas) law enforcement in addition to conducting its own investigation.
The NCHA’s Grievance Committee ruled the breeder of earners of more than $6.1 million be suspended from the association for two years, fined $15,000 and ordered to serve five years of probation for violating the association’s horse abuse section of its Zero Tolerance Policy, according to an NCHA report.
The ruling was recently upheld by the association’s Appeal Committee.
An attorney for Manion – the owner of horses with $3.4 million in earnings – disputed claims that the shooting was cruel, saying the Aubrey, Texas, breeder believed the action was necessary to protect people from a dangerous and unruly stallion that was exhibiting “vicious” behavior.
Manion shot the horse three to four times in a five-minute period after it tried to bite and kick people and horses, and attempted to climb over the wall where it was tied, said Rick Hagan, of Jackson And Hagan law firm.
“Tommy wanted the stallion to believe that the discomfort caused by the BB was due to the stallion’s aggression and did not come from a human,” Hagan said in a statement. “The simple fact is that what Tommy did worked, probably saving someone’s life, and did not cause pain or injury to the stallion whatsoever.”
A criminal investigation by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Texas did not result in criminal charges.
Grayson County Sheriff’s Lt. Sarah Bigham said a veterinarian from the SPCA of Texas examined the horse, Smooth Maximus, but did not find any injuries on the animal from the BB gun.
She said the horse, which is a 4-year-old full brother to Equi-Stat Elite $21 Million Sire Smooth As A Cat, did have self-inflicted injuries to its legs, but those injuries were already healing at the time of the examination.
Smooth Maximus, a son of High Brow Cat out of Shes Pretty Smooth (by Wheeling Peppy), was listed for sale on the Manion Ranch website before and after the incident.
Ten days prior to the incident in Whitesboro, the stallion was described in a July 5 post on Manion Ranch’s Facebook page as being sound and ready for any Open, Non-Pro or Amateur rider.
“He would also be a great asset to a breeding program,” the post stated. “He is very sweet to be around!”