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Tennessee Walking Horse trainer gets suspension of more than seven years

7:20 PM, Jun 23, 2012   |    comments
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Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Joe Cotten has been suspended for seven and a half years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW Horse Industry Organization.

Cotten is charged with knowingly filing false entry information at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. on June 15.

He hired Marvin North, a full time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take five of his horses through inspection and put them in the ring, officials said.

Cotten used North's trainer's license number and told North, who has since been suspended from SHOW for one year, fined $1,000 and placed on four years of probation, that he would pay any fines the horses received, officials said.

This is the same violation that led to the indictment of Jackie McConnell and three of his employees earlier this year.

At the time, Cotten was in trouble with two separate horse industry organizations.

He had been suspended from the PRIDE Horse Industry Organization through June 24 and was on probation with the SHOW Horse Industry Organization through July 26, officials said.

The SHOW probation was in place because Cotten threatened a judge, and the PRIDE suspension stemmed from a postshow scar rule violation, officials said.

Days after the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show, Cotten was again in the spotlight after graphic pictures of a horse in his care were posted to Facebook. The photos, which showed injuries to the horse's front feet, have drawn widespread attention online and cast a bad light on the walking horse industry, officials said.

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