Gloves off in Texas agriculture commissioner race after accusation that candidate mishandled horses
Driving a trailer around with horses tied to the back?! How anyone could see this as a safe exercise method is ludicrous. ~ HfH
From: The Dallas Morning News
By: David Barer
The gloves have come off in the race for Texas agriculture commissioner after a top Republican candidate was accused of mishandling his horses by using a potentially dangerous exercising technique and was warned by the American Quarter Horse Association.
Former state representative Sid Miller of Stephenville tied three of his champion quarter horses to the back of his trailer and drove them slowly in circles for exercise at a May show in San Antonio. Some horse experts call the method perilous; a horse could trip or yank back and severely injure itself. Miller said he loves his valuable horses and would never put them in physical danger. Though the practice could be dangerous for some, Miller said his horses are accustomed to it and the criticism is unwarranted.
Tommy Merritt, a former Republican representative from Longview also in the race, blasted Miller over the accusation.
“I believe that any professional in the rodeo or horse business would take a position of being ashamed for someone alleged to be a world champion cowboy to treat his animals in this manner,” Merritt said. “He brings a great disgrace to the profession for treating his animals that way.”
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Perhaps the shot signals a turn toward the nasty in the tame-so-far, down-ballot race for a position that registers small on most Texans’ minds but oversees a huge sector of the state’s economy.
Miller, who has won numerous world calf tie-down titles, disagreed and called into question Merritt’s horse bona fides.
Miller said he had to help Merritt saddle a horse when they were both at a Texas ranch in the past.
“Tommy doesn’t know squat about horses,” said Miller. “I know he doesn’t know much about horses. He’s not qualified to make that statement.”
Miller said the anonymous tip received by The Dallas Morning News was likely either a political opponent or an attempt by a rodeo adversary to try to get him barred or sanctioned from competition.
Other Republican candidates in the race include attorney and GOP executive Eric Opiela, and farmer and Mayor of Uvalde J Allen Cares. Both declined to comment.