Doyle Meadows, PhD, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) Celebration, has announced he will retire from the position in October 2012.

The TWH Celebration is a high profile horse show event at which Tennessee Walking Horse breed world champions are chosen. The event became the subject of controversy in 2006 when federal inspectors temporarily shut the show down after finding high incidences of Horse Protection Act noncompliance. The Act prohibits "soring," the deliberate injury of a horse’s feet and legs to achieve a high-stepping gait. When several top competitors declined to participate, no World Champion was crowned that year.

Meadows assumed the Celebration’s CEO post in February 2008. During his tenure he oversaw the removal of the National Horse Show Commission as the horse industry organization (HIO) that managed the Celebration, and the formation and funding of the Sound horses, Honest judging, Objective inspections, Winning fairly (SHOW)–the HIO that replaced it.

During its Dec. 1 planning meeting Meadows informed The Celebration board of directors that he would retire from the position on Oct. 31, after the 2012 Celebration takes place.

In his letter to the board Meadows thanked Celebration directors for their support during his tenure.

"I truly appreciate all those people that have helped me as we continue to have the world’s greatest horse show in Bedford County (Tenn.)," Meadows said. "I have a tremendous amount of pride for The Celebration and what it means to the Walking Horse industry and our community."

Meadows, 64, said he