"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - HSUS Seizes 84 Gaited Horses

I just received news that there are 84 horses, mostly gaited SSHs and TWHs, in TN that need our help. The HSUS rescued these horses over this weekend. Click here for the article and the video. Please note that the horses are in very, very bad condition, so it might be hard to watch for some people. Click here for the HSUS field notes from the senior director of emergency services.

The names of the perps are Charles E. and Charles C. "Clint" Howland. Add these guys to your list of not to buy from. They were arrested and let's hope they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and are never allowed to own animals again. However, we know how this can slip through the cracks, so imprint their faces and names in your memory.

I'm sure there will be a major need for funds, feed, supplies, foster homes, and homes in general for these horses. In watching the video, I see several horses that will make great riding horses per the bone structure I can see. And quite frankly, I find that since TWHs can be so tolerant of abuse, they can come out of abusive situations with flying colors. My husband's gelding is proof of that. So be sure to contact the TN HSUS at tnhorse@hsus.org or tnhorserescue@hsus.org if you want to help. You can also call the manager of the TN State Fairgrounds at 615-862-8980.

I will update this post as I learn more. For now, here are some articles I found online.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

THOUGHTS - Questions for Ourselves

Hello everyone. Once again, this is not a research or article post. This is something I personally experienced that I thought I should pass along.

I regularly read a blog called Shame in the Horse Show Ring. Her current post is about the Big Lick horse and how horrible it looks via the Freak of the Week videos from Walking Horse Chat. (She gets *ahem* colorful with her language, so please be forewarned if you go to her blog.)

There were some good comments to the post, but of course we got one person who posted who believes soring is a thing of the past and who has BL and flat shod horses that show. Obviously, we all know that this person is either being lied to or is just denying that this is going on.

I answered her comment word for word, and one of the answers was I asked a series of questions if this person truly knows if the horses are happy and sound. I thought these questions could be ones we could all use to screen our TWHs that are in training.

I want to make it perfectly clear that as owners, we are morally responsible for the care and well being of the animals we own. Just as a child can will be taken from abusive parents, the same can be done with animals. Ignorance does not excuse you from your horse having been sored. "I just didn't know" is not enough. A mother who acts innocent while the father beats the son will be held responsible in a court of law. Therefore the animal owner should be too. If you do not take the time to make sure your trainer is using ethical methods to train your horses, then you are just as guitly of that trainer for the abuse caused by your horse. And really, this goes for any breed and any type of care being provided to an animal.

These were the questions I posed to this person. Of course I haven't received an answer, and I don't expect to. But I thought perhaps they would help others out there who want to keep their horses in training but don't want their horses sored.
  • Do you shoe your horses yourself or watch while they're being shod to watch for signs of pressure shoeing or other soring methods?
  • Are you with your horses every time they are worked in training?
  • Has the trainer you're using ever had a horse in his training barn ticketed or received an HPA violation?
  • Has he been suspended or banned from any shows?
  • Are you inspecting your horses for signs of soring? (The USDA has the inspection method posted on the APHIS-HPA website.)
  • Are you pulling their stacks and shoes on a regular basis to see if anything is being used to cause them pain? (Yes, stacks CAN be pulled and put back on easily so you can inspect your horse--don't let any trainer tell you different.)
  • When at the show and you have to leave your horse for any period of time, do you have someone standing in for you to make sure no soring is done to your horse while you're gone?
We need to remember that just because our TWHs in training look well fed doesn't mean they aren't being tortured with soring methods behind the barn. Take the time to be there when your horse is being trained. Take the time to show up unannounced. And even if you think your horse is in good shape, note the level of care and well being of the other horses around. Do they look healthy and happy? If you are suspicious, remove your horse immediately. You don't have to report this person to the ASPCA or HSUS if you don't want to. Simply removing your horse and your money from that trainer's pocketbook is a very strong message, and the more people who continue to do this, the more the bad guys will lose their hold and will lose the battle.

Overall, if you take these steps, a good trainer will not think you're being rude or sneaky. A good trainer will respect you for how much you value your horse's well being and will welcome your visits and your being involved with your horses care and training. Those are the marks of a good trainer and moral person overall.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NEWS - My Interview for WEG 2010 Radio Show

I was interviewed on Wednesday for the 2010 Radio Show, the unofficial podcast for the 2010 WEGs here in America. They found my blog and wanted to interview me because of it. It was a great experience, and I want to thank Samantha Clark and Glenn the Geek for inviting me on their show. Click here to listen to the interview! (My portion starts at -26:14.)

Be sure to check out the 2010 Radio Show website for more podcasts and information about the WEGs.

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