"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

Monday, February 22, 2010

THOUGHTS - Facebook Argument About the Truth

I just HAD to post this. These are the responses to a post on Facebook. A guy I'm "friends" with posted a photo of a two-year-old TWH filly (yes, FILLY) that was at a farm sale in TN this week. Supposedly this horse was the talk of the sale and was just amazing...to them. Of course, the horse is a BL horse and looks awful--a nearly 10" shanked bit, probably with a twisted wire mouthpiece, crouching so hard in the back the horse looks like it'll fall down, obviously cut tail tied up in a tight bun, and suspiciously dark pasterns with chains on the front.

This was my response and the subsequent responses to the photo. The funny part is that it doesn't make me angry it all. It not only makes me laugh, but overall, it's just really, really sad. I'm posting this because it's a great example of the mentality that goes on in the TWH world. Attack other breeds, jump to conclusions...classic examples of trying to make excuses. For me, and I hope for the rest of you, these excuses just don't hold water anymore.

Then I ran into some irony...Commenter 5 is one of my "friends" on FB (I thought she was with the good guys, but apparently not). The weird thing is that she's a fan of a local trainer here in AZ who only does natural horsemanship. WTF? How can you be a fan of natural horsemanship and think that the BL is nice? I just don't get that. I'm trying to decide if I should ask her about that...but it's probably not a good idea to poke a potentially full hornet's nest.

I stopped checking the posts on the picture after my final post here. I'm done, and it's like talking to a brick wall: the mentality is immovable. I feel sorry for these people. No really, I do. I'm not joking here. These are people who have no idea why the TWH world is ousted by the rest of the horse community, and they never will learn. They just aren't capable of it--abusing animals is a way of life for them. Until pads, chains, bands, and the like are banned from the arena, we won't see any change anytime soon.


Me: Sick. This horse looks to be in horrible pain. Is this gross representation of our breed EVER going to end?

Poster: This filly was inspected by the most qualified vet in our business, plus a DQP. This filly was inspected infront of the whole crowd at the Calsonic. You can go to the barn this very hour and with a 6 ounce action device, that is what she will do.

Commenter 1: looks like a bad cat to me!!! shes strokin

Poster: Andrea, tie a baby rattle to your cats foot, and come back and tell me what she does.

Commenter 2: Theres one in every crowd..... This looks like one bad mama!

Commenter 3: I would love to take a ride!!!!!!

Poster: This mare has been good since day one. Her full brother, Puttin Cash on the Line made an impressive show at the 2009 Celebration. Who ever beats her is the best one in the business and will be terribly exspensive.

Commenter 4: man thats cool .

Me: Tommy, I don't mean that she's sored. Whether she is or isn't is not the issue. I mean that she looks like she's in pain. It is not natural for a horse to move like that, and therefore it looks painful. I know the rest of you think this is cool and pretty, but it's not to the rest of the world. It is disgusting and wrong, and it's ruined our amazing breed in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Commenter 2: By your rationalization, then, the piaffe and passage done by grand prix dressage horses are not "natural" movements of the horse and therefore are painful to the horse? When actually both this gait and those of GP dressage horses are the result of training. In this case, by a very talented young trainer.

Poster: Does a 5 Gaited or Morgan Park horse look like they are in pain?

An action device does just that, produce action. Tie something that rattles on your dog or cats leg and tell me they are in pain.

Commenter 5: Why argue with someone who doesn't like this style of horse? I see promise and talent. Quite a capable youngster.

Poster: "Looks" don't tell the whole story. Tiger Woods looked like a great husband.

Commenter 6: YYEAAA BOOOYYY! Right there your honor!

Commenter 7: AWESOME!! No pain here. She is as happy a horse I've ever seen! Great job Justin!!

Commenter 8: HELLOOOOO and YES INDEED....hurtin somebody right there now...yehawwww!!!!!!!!

Me: "Does a 5 Gaited or Morgan Park horse look like they are in pain?"

Yep, because they are forced into a frame that causes their backs to be hollow and their necks stiff and upright with unnatural development to the bottom of their neck. They look like they're in horrible pain.

Pointing fingers at other breeds only tries to defer the problem. It's like saying well OJ Simpson committed murder and you didn't convict him, so why can't I do it? Every breed has it's bad side, but no other breed has such an ugly representation of what the horse looks like in the show ring as the TWH. What is so wrong with the natural, God-given gait of this talented creature that there needs to be a parody of it? If the TWH world would start making changes that help their image, then maybe, just maybe they would regain some respect.

Commenter 2, you can't compare backyard training of a 2 yo horse to dressage movements such as the Piaffe. That training takes YEARS of development, not a few chains and a long-shanked bit to force the horse into a certain movement. That is not talent--it's gimmicks and gadgets to get the work done quickly. No two year old dressage horse would EVER be forced to do a Piaffe--they don't' have the body strength or mature frame to do it. And no 2 yo TWH should be forced into this horrible frame and unnatural movement--they shouldn't even be started until they're at least three years old, and that goes for all breeds. Check our The Ranger Study by Dr. Deb Bennett if you want proof as to why.

I never said chains were painful--stop putting words in my mouth. I just said the horse looks like it's in pain. That's all. think it's hilarious that all of you jump to it being a comment about the training methods and soring...methinks we all know the truth here and just can't grasp why it needs to end.

Commenter 9: Andrea....is it natural to race a horse until it's leg shatters into 30 pieces and their hearts explode??

I havent seen you speak out against the 4,000 horses put down due to race related injuries.

I havent seen you speak out against the Lipizaners that are forced to jump and kick with their heads RESTRAINED tightly over their backs.

Yet you have the audacity to get on a forum and claim a horse "looks" like it is in pain.

if you want to see some horses "in pain", you don't have to go any further than your local trail riding campground to see true ABUSE and "Pain". Go and tell those weekend warriors that ride their horses until they are road foundered while they are drunk and incoherent and tell me which horse has t worse...The one in the pic, or theo ne that is drug out and rode to it's breaking point every weekend.

Good grief...

Commenter 9: I will add.....Every other breed is allowed to enhance and exaggerate their natural gaits and abilities except the Tennessee Walking Horse. I for one am getting sick and tired of these loud mouthed blow hards trying to degrade our industry.

Me: Matt, nope, but this isn't a picture of a racehorse, is it? And I am also against the racing industry. Again, your pointing fingers at other breeds to try to make what the TWH industry does okay.

Lipizzans are not forced to jump and kick with their heads restrained over their backs--it's a natural reaction for them to counter balance themselves when kicking outward by jerking their head up. They wear surcincles so the handlers can cue them with the bit, and they are taught to round their bodies, balance on their hindquarters, and lift and reach out. These methods have been used for thousands of years to achieve this maneuver and do not destroy the horse the way the BL does. And if you did your research, you would know that it takes years upon years for a horse to build the strength and muscle to do those maneuvers. They are not forced into a movement at a young age like TWHs are.

I am not trying to degrade the TWH industry. I actually show all my horses with NWHA. But just because other breeds "allow" exaggerating natural gaits doesn't mean it's right. I simply don't understand why the Big Lick still exists when it's so ugly and a general detriment to our breed overall. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me why those horses wear those high-heeled shoes, and tell me how ugly it looks. Then they find out what it takes to get those horses there, and whether they learn about soring or not, they are sickened. I know many, many people who have left the TWH breed or avoided it because of the Big Lick. I know those of you in the circle don't get it, and it's really too bad. Otherwise maybe the judges would stop rewarding crouch, soring would stop, and maybe the breed could get the respect back that it deserves. Choosing to make a change is forgivable; continuing down the same path and poo-pooing anyone who doesn't agree with you is not.

Overall, it's too bad you all think this is still okay. May you all truly make a change for the better, for yourself, for the breed, and for the horse overall. I can only imagine a day when the Big Lick is gone, and what a wonderful day for the TWH that will be!

Me: P.S. And let me point out that there is a reason why the WEG isn't allowing Big Lick TWHs at their venue and is only allowing NWHA and private owners of flat-shod horses to present their horses. I think that should be a big enough message to all of you that something absolutely has to change.

Friday, February 12, 2010

HOW YOU CAN HELP - Results of the Sound Horse Poll

My previous post was in regards to voting on a poll to put a sound horse HIO on the map. Here are the results for the poll, and honestly, I see this as good news.

SHOW - 33%
NWHA - 28%
KWHA - 22% (WELL KNOWN for their sore horse shows - see my KWHA Incidents catagory for more info)
FOSH - 13%
HPC - 2%
Western International - 1%

It's too bad that we can't know how many people actually voted, but that's okay. Only a 5% difference between SHOW and NWHA. That's really amazing! I think it's an extremely strong message that a sound HIO is strong in the ranks. It could have been NWHA, FOSH or the HPC, and I would have been happy. Let's hope people take the results of this poll seriously and get the message that is beyond the idea that SHOW "won."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

HOW YOU CAN HELP - Sound Horse Poll

Please participate in the following poll: http://www.walkinghorsereport.com/default.aspx

You don't have to be a member of WHR to participate in this poll. On the right side of the screen, choose the HIO you prefer to show in front of. When I voted, SHOW lead at 32% and NWHA was a close second at 31%. I did vote for NWHA, by the way--they are my personal favorite show venue. Of course, it would be helpful to keep NWHA up there to send a strong message that we want to see more SOUND shows, but of course FOSH and HPC are also sound and need our support! Let's force those sound groups into there!

Blog Archive