Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com

I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Walking Horse people are at it again

Just when you think the TWH industry might be cleaning itself up, we read about this: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12242

What can be said? It's an industry based on cruelty, vanity and abject stupidity. The TWH show ring is an embarrassment to the horse world and to the state of Tennessee. Disgrace is too mild a word for how the Big Lick horses are treated.

After reading the article I can't decide if we're supposed to be sympathetic to the poor Big Lick trainers that had to withdrawal or risk "overly aggressive" inspectors. Oh, you poor babies! Overly aggressive inspectors that might actually bust you for soring and cruelty!

Let's get back to the state of Tennessee and their endorsement of Big Lick cruelty. The state horse is the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the photo they show of this horse on their website is a Big Lick walker. Nothing like statewide promotion of such cruel practices.

You can even get a picture of one of the poor crippled buggers on your license plate and drive around advertising abuse and cruelty: http://www.tennessee.gov/revenue/vehicle/licenseplates/misc/misc.htm

There are several things in the horse industry that piss me off, abuse being the main one. But it seems the TWH show industry is the only one that supports abusive measures on a whole scale basis. They endorse it, promote it, and try to excuse it. They try to insinuate that the rest of us are stupid because we don't see the merit in putting a horse up on stacks and making it walk with chains around its ankles. How shortsighted of us!
Looks like even their own association is ashamed of the abuse:

http://www.twhbea.com/gaits.htm The pictures on this page show the big lick horses. But the videos that pop up first are all flat shod. What's the problem TWHBEA? Don't you want people watching horses stagger around throwing those stacks up in the air and struggling to make it around the arena? You have to click on the menu option of the video screen to see the "performance" horse moving. The canter gives me the creeps. There is no reason a naturally comfortable horse would move like that. http://www.twhbea.com/gaitsVideocanterFSH.htm

When is the horse show industry going to stand up and refuse to sanction anymore of this blatant and unnecessary abuse? At what point do we stand up and say: ENOUGH!


horseyone said...

I was SO HAPPY to read that the USDA, paid for with our tax dollars, is taking a stand on this subject. Hopefully, it wasn't just one time, and they will make these morons crawl back into the holes they crawled out from - forever. As far as that TWH canter, it reminds me of a slightly more animated version of the "Trope" (trot/lope) you see on those pitiful western pleasure horses. Please, someone, stop the madness!!

ZTIG said...

Thank you for posting this!

However how do we stop this? We can't even get industries to stop promoting racing and full training before two. We can't get them to stop breeding conformationally unsound horses (ie halter)

I don't know how to stop it, but if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear it...
The only thing I can think of is to tell the inspectors to keep up the good work and you have our full support.

cattypex said...

Damn, those Big Lick horses just look LAME. As in, unsound.

And like they're gonna throw their heads in the riders' faces.

The flat shod horses look like fun.

I've never ridden a quality TWH, just a rank grade mare in a tiny roundpen....

I really don't understand why the TWHBEA is being so pussy-ass on this issue.

If the AQHA can crack down on peanut rolling... you'd think.....


Shawna said...

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is absolutely SHAMEFUL!!! The fact that the TWHBEA DOES NOTHING to erradicate this scurge of their industry tells me that they are just as guilty as the offending trainers/owners are! The TWH is a wonderfully minded, smooth gaited and gorgeous breed of horse (I own 8 of them). They have the most loving and forgiving natures within the equine kingdom. The fact that these abusive trainers cash in on these traits and turn the TWH's great tolerance and disposition into a venue for torturing them is CRIMINAL!

I have a suggestion for the TWHBEA that will clean up their act within a year! Require that ALL HORSES be shown BAREFOOT for the next five years and try judging them on their inherent qualities, including conformation, purity of gait and smoothness. You will quickly see the better gaited horses start winning (Not the "PACERS" that have been 'trained' to not pace by the use of pads and soring). You will also see a dramatic comeback in the industry. If you hire judges that don't place these 'fake' horses as well as take all the torture tools away from the trainers(weighted shoes, pads, chemicals, etc...). They will have no choice other than to clean up their act.

My TWH's have GREAT FEET!! They are smooth, animated and have lots of natural flashy action. They are ridden daily over many different types of terrain and they are all BAREFOOT!! It can be done but it would take trainers that "train" and not lazy people who prefer to "torture". Just my opinion. -Shawna

Carrie said...

So the 40 or 50 so entries that actually stayed and competed will be the only entries with points from this show?

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the TWH show season winds up!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Lisa Hill said...

The flat-shod canter looked pretty uncomfortable, but the "performance" canter was just painful to watch. The horses looked like they wanted to drop dead on the spot. The flat-shod horses looked nice, but every performance horse video looked to me like animal abuse. Just awful, and unnatural.

Harmonie said...

While I agree that at least 99% of the SHOWING Tennessee Walking Horse industry is in fact endorsing and participating in this type of cruelty, I have to ask and insist that the author of this blog make her readers aware that not ALL Walking Horse owners, breeders, and exhibitors treat their horses this way.

I have been involved with Walking Horses, both pleasure AND show, for many years now. I did decent enough on the show circuit in the Trail Pleasure and Model divisions, and I am PROUD to say that none of my mounts or in-hand horses were sore. My horses were and are 100% natural and it does irk me to be included in the overwhelmingly populous group of bastards that sore and 'fix' their horses.

Believe me, there is no other group that is more irritated and wants this to stop than the trainers, breeders, and owners of the small fraction of SOUND Tennessee Walking Horses that are shown.

I do not defend the heartless people that sore their horses at all. However, I will defend people like myself and a handful of others that have wonderful, sound horses.

So again, I ask pleasantly and 'on your side,' if you wish to call it that, that you not generalize and group all Walking Horse people together. Because I can assure you, given all the bad people in our industry, there are good people too. It is not fair to point out 'Walking Horse people' in general when there are plenty of pleasure AND show folk who own and promote the Walking Horse as it should be -- natural.

Jennifer said...

Here via fugly...HOW can anyone look at the flat-shod horses, then at the "performance" horses, and not see there's something fundamentally wrong with the latter? Ye gods, ow. (Doesn't help one of those is apparently being ridden by the Hunchback of Notre Dame.)

Honestly, happiest TWH I've ever seen? A grade-quality mare my neighbor picked up somewhere without papers (he could have them for "an extra $100" and passed) who lives with another grade mare and some donkeys. She doesn't look anything like the uphill-built performance creatures on that website. And apparently she's a doll that anyone can ride, with three perfectly normal gaits. I bet some of those "performance" guys would happily join her...

Horse's friend said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. After reading about the TWH torture that goes on I did a quick search and found an article that was published in 1960 that mentions almost all the same things that are going on today. The article is here TWH article. It really makes you wonder why this has not been stopped in over 50+ years.

queenofthering said...

The walking horse industry is no worse than any other industry of horses. The way they train their horses is not any worse than how quarter horses or TB are. I understand that they may not treat their horses perfect but nobody does. All yall ever do is complain and cry over how their treated but never do anything about it... most of the stuff yal claim they do is just things you hear im sure you have no idea what happens inside those barns. Are yall even horse people? or are you like the nutjobs that signed the bill to close the slaughter houses that have no clue what they are doing? And at every walking horse show the horses have to go through inspection to even be allowed in the show ring, so they are not being shown when they are sored

anon said...

Sometimes it's the people who are hurt rather than the horse. The horse show venue and training is a great place for men who are sexual predators of preteen girls.
I would suggest to you that Art Gayton of Pahrump, NV is possibly one such sexual predator.

biglickandpoud said...

people like you that don't know anything should keep your big mouths shut! esoecially about the sexual preditors at horse shows you are way out of line. i have shown big lick horses from the time i was 4 and nothing has ever happened to me or anyone else i know. don't you think i would have heard about htat if it actually happened? trainers are just good hard woorking honest people who love a good horse. you have no idea what goes on at our shows or at our barns, obiosly. do you people even know anything about horses. you should at least know what you are talking about b4 ylu post to 1 of theese blogs. so next time you people who know absolutly nothu=ing about horses feel like pisting DON'T!

ZTIG said...

You know big lick and proud... you loose all credibility when you can not even type a coherent statement. Can you tell me how many breeds the US government has to monitor the showing of?

NCmustangrider said...

I must confess, I do not understand the "Big Lick" showing premise. The movement is not pretty, it is unnatural and very staged. It places the feet at angles they should NEVER be placed at, and sacrifices the quality of life of the horse for something selfishly viewed as "pretty." At the Saddlebred show barn I grew up at as a kid, 18 years was old and retirement age for a horse. I look at our barefoot trail horses now and think "my mustang is 18, and he is just getting to be a really good ride..." Barring injury, he has another 10 years before retirement and enjoys his work.
A TWH or racking horse who does the gait NATURALLY is wonderful, and a true thing of beauty. The TWH "Big Lick" showing I see involves bigger bits, bigger bits, hunchbacks, gigantic weighted shoes, and horses whose eyes display either mild terror or complete apathy. It is so ingrained in the TWH history, I think many people are afraid to admit they have done something terribly wrong for a very long time. Sad for the horses and the people, in a way, because neither can achieve that high level of trust, loyalty and closeness my trail horse and I share.
We bought a gaited horse for my fiance, a racking cross, for his great personality and subsequently horrified the barn TWH snob when we pulled his shoes and took him bitless and treeless. We taught him to trot and canter under saddle because his stifles lock and racking is literally painful for him some days (though he still racks some on good days). She HATES us now, and he's the happiest spoiled horse with Awesome feet around :)Sure, we love his rack, it's cool, but we love HIM a lot more. And, it turns out, he has a great trot and canter.
The TWH industry isn't the only one to sacrifice the horse for the show, but they are certainly the biggest offenders. I love how the breed sites claim that the TWH can do ANY job (and I think they can) but the TWH showing snobs can only ride in straight lines, on flat sandy roads, in big walker bits, and can only walk and go through the gaits - isn't that a giant contradiction? Sorry for the rant, been saving that one up from the lady that bashes us...
I firmly believe that there are very good people in the industry, and I would love to attend TWH shows without all of the stuff, just all natural!! They just need to become the bigger voice!!