"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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VIDEO - HSUS Undercover McConnell Video

The expose on soring tonight on Nightline was hard enough...  Here's the HSUS evidence.  I am quite beside myself right now.  As Brian Ross said tonight on Nightline: "[The video may be disturbing,] but without seeing it, it would be hard to believe such cruelty is possible."


The only thing I can say is this: I hope, I pray that after people see this video that they will never want to touch a Tennessee Walking Horse again.  To all of you who cheer on the Big Lick and the sored FS horses, who go to these shows, who put them on in your backyard, who don't say anything when you see soring at shows and in barns, who give your money to HPA violators to "train" your horses, who think McConnell and Davis are isolated incidents, who continue to put money into and verbally support this industry...you are all guilty.  Even I'm guilty, for not reporting the soring I saw in 2005 to the proper authorities.  ALL OF US will have to answer to God, and we're not going to like what he has to say.







(for removing their sponsorship from the Celebration)

I cannot thank all of you enough for your bravery and your kindness to the horses.  Thank you for showing us the truth, and I know the horses thank you as well.

PLEASE pray for the horses...they need us.


Unknown said...

"The only thing I can say is this: I hope, I pray that after people see this video that they will never want to touch a Tennessee Walking Horse again."

Wow- really? That's a horrible video and I don't deny that there have been abuse issues with regards to the show horses in the past. But, can I please state for the record, as a Walking horse owner and from a family of TWH and Spotted Saddle Horse breeders, that NOT all Tennessee Walking horse owners and trainers do this? Our club has taken big strides to make sure this type of behavior is not tolerated! There are some great breeders and trainers out there and there are some real jerks that have no business near a horse- just like with every breed!

I will not condone animal abuse in any form, but I also don't condone generalized stereotypes of an entire breed. You don't even mention that there is a whole other side of the breed in light shod horses. A completely natural gate- some of our horses aren't even shod! I understand what you are trying to do. But, to generalize an entire breed is ignorant. Please be sure to present all the facts not just those that make the most jaw dropping video!

Anonymous said...

I saw the video tonight. I am deeply angered and saddened by it. I also found a picture of some of the horses in McConnell's stables--sticking their heads way through the bars to lick and sniff a HSUS worker's hand, with another horse making the same gesture in the background. I am amazed by this, having just seen the brutal video. The horses must have some amazing temperaments.

Thank God for you and others who protect them, especially the people who went undercover to get the footage.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...


I am absolutely serious. This breed industry needs to learn a serious lesson. Soring is by far the most common way to "train" a BL horse and many flat shod horses. If everyone were to pull out of the breed, they'd have nothing left, the industry would die, and it'd be their own fault. Quite frankly, I am ashamed to own a TWH now that I've seen this video. It has become a mockery and a disgrace to be a part of this breed. And sitting around picking at me does nothing to help the problem--if you're truly against this abuse, please, stand up to the HIOs an tell them you want the Jackie McConnells and the Barney Davises out. This video CLEARLY shows that this industry is not making strides, and it's the same as always. Don't pick at me--go to the source and help end it there.

Unknown said...

For the Tennessee Walking Horse- There is no way I would help you. I want nothing to do with you. You sound like a complete nutcase who saw one video and has now found a "cause". You obviously have never been to a Walking Horse Show, met with the DQP's, or seen the rigorous evaluations we have to undergo before entering and immediately leaving the ring. If a horse has even so much as oil on its skin to make it shiny or one scar on its leg from an innocent injury as a colt playing with another colt, our horses are yanked from the class and often the show. Our club does not tolerate even the hint of malicious training. And a whole other club has been started for lite-shod backyard breeders who don't want anything to do with the show horses on stacks or their big training barns. But your site makes huge generalizations and groups us all together. Before you freak out on an industry you obviously have no experience with- I would recommend actually going to show and meeting with some of the owners. Also, your video looks like its from the 80's or 90's. I don't care what they say. Look at the clothing. People don't really dress like that today. But, my mother (a TWH breeder by the way) works for the Humane Society, I'll ask her. (You know- because all of us TWH breeders and exhibitors are heartless, cruel animal abusers.) Best of luck to you and your "mission".

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Unknown, you are doing exactly what the rest of this industry does--assuming I've never been to a TWH show. In fact, I used to be involved with a lot of shows, and I watched soring going on right in front of me. I have been taught how to use action devices, shoes and bits to manipulate the gait, but never chemically or with pressure shoeing methods. I do understand how their "training" methods work, so I am not a random person who is not experienced within the industry. I have been fighting soring since 2004, and my goal has always been to help education the public about soring. I started it with my own personal website, Silver Phoenix Ranch. In 2005, I successfully helped drive the Big Lick/sore horse trainers from California out of our local all-gaited horse shows. I then started the blog in 2009. I have since been able to reach thousands of people and continually receive emails and requests for help.

The blog is updated on a weekly basis, if not more. We also have a very active Facebook group where we are currently spreading the word about the video and people are writing letters to ask sponsors to pull out of the Celebration, ask HIOs to start standing up against the abuse, etc.

I have written countless letters to TWHBEA, SHOW and other HIOs, the USDA, Celebration corporate sponsors, the HSUS, lawyers, people within the industry, and held educational clinics and used to teach lessons about proper gait instruction and how to recognize gait. I have even been contacted by Monty Roberts personally concerning issues with the Walking Horse.

This work has led to lawsuit threats and physical threats against me. I have been publicly ridiculed by the sore horse industry, and they have tried to shut me down many times. But because my work is based in facts and not hearsay, there's nothing they can do to discredit the information I've posted.

I am completely against the Big Lick and most of the Plantation and Lite Shod horses in the show ring today. It is a bad image for the breed and is disgusting. I only support, through memberships and sponsorships, the three HIOs that have no-tolerance policies against soring: Friends of Sound Horses, National Walking Horse Association, and the International Walking Horse Association.

If you are so angry, then go stand up against those who continue to sore horses. Stop trying to fight me--we're clearly on the same side. Put your anger where it's needed, by putting the pressure on the show industry for continuing to abuse the horses for the name of money. It's their fault this has become an issue--thy are the ones that are ruining the breed, not me. And if you would prefer me to stand by quietly and not say a word just to protect those who don't sore yet allow these horses to continue to be abused, then you need to reevaluate what you're standing up against me for.

Unknown said...

Again, I value what you are doing. But statements like "I hope, I pray that after people see this video that they will never want to touch a Tennessee Walking Horse again," creates a bad image for those of us who love and believe in this magnificent breed that want nothing to do with the monster's that partake in methods like soring. To "tar and feather" our entire breed is not fair and downright insulting. By all means continue your mission, spread the education, help stop the "bad people". God's speed. All I ask is that you don't hurt the good ones along the way. Don't post on your website generalized statements against ALL walking horses and ALL walking horse owners or anyone associated with the TWHBEA. You seem to have a lot of experience with the pleasure riding, back-yard exhibitors of the industry, differentiate between us and the big training barns and stacked show horses. If you are going to educate people- be fair and educate all the facts. You might stand to gain greater momentum if you got us good breeders and trainers on your side because you are right, we are fighting the same fight. But, I will not attack my own people and I will not degrade a breed I wholeheartedly believe in. And if you are truly "For the Walking Horse", you won't either. Good luck.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Thanks, Unknown. We actually have a website we have created to promote the sound Tennessee Walking Horse. We are promoting sound trainers there and the sound horse. I don't know if you're going to find it useful or not, but it is a place we want people to go to see the true, natural gait of the horse without the pads, chains and bands and abusing them to get it. www.forthetwh.com And you might enjoy our new Facebook group, The Natural Tennessee Walking Horse. https://www.facebook.com/groups/140170806115223/ We created it so people can come on and positively share their horses and their questions. We don't allow any pads, chains or bands on the group. Right now a lot of people are posting some great photos of their horses having fun. It's become a very active group! So I hope you'll consider joining. Thanks for your concern and I appreciate your comments.

Unknown said...

I will definitely look into the sites and "like" them on facebook. I too appreciate your comments and permitting a dialogue in all of this. And I appreciate what you are trying to do. Our horses are members of our family. My family has tracked down colts that we bred twenty-five years ago that still live with the family we sold them to. These horses are not just horses to us. They are not just a way of life or a penny in the bank, they are the embodiment of the Tennessee Walking horse breed itself and a part of who we are. We have a lot of friends in the industry that breed and train like us and we all take a great deal of pride in our breed. I would love to see people like us "breed" those abusive aholes out so they can sit in financial ruins while in jail! Thanks again for the site references.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Great! I'm glad you'll join us! And we do need to keep good dialogue going so all of us can understand where we're coming from. I very much appreciate your comments. And I wish that there were more owners out there like you, that don't view abuse as part of owning a TWH.

Anonymous said...

Where are all you so called trainers and breeders when this is going on? I recently had a client who had raised and showed TWH. He basically said the vast majority of trainers know this goes on, and are not willing to say anything

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

That is true, wendyroo. But they're in on it too. Many of the owners only care about winning, and they don't care what's done to the horse to get there. It's all based in money.

Anonymous said...

My client was one of the good guys. He even mentioned some very well known farms that still engage in abusive practices. He got out of the business partially because of this. It is ashamed that all the people who protest about complaints are not willing to confront individuals who engage in these practices. I may not get this quote right, but All it takes for evil to prevail is good men to do nothing

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

I absolutely agree with that quote, wendyroo. And I have always heard about lots of trainers who got out of the business because they were forced out because they refused to sore. I do know there were some trainers who would do both--sore and sound--but their sore horses always won more because that's what the judges wanted. I hope now that this is all out in the open people WILL start pointing fingers and holding people accountable for their actions.

martha said...

thank God!!!I hope Mcconnell
and his helpers get years of
prison. They should be tortured!!
Where are the owners of these horses??!!

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Agreed, martha. All of the horses were moved. Eight of them were found to have been sore at that time that the HSUS showed up and McConnell was arrested. They are under the custody of the HSUS. The rest of the horses have all been moved by their owners. Unfortunately, some of the owners moved their horses to Jackie's brother, Jimmy, and he also is a Big Lick trainer.

jodyann said...

I could not watch all of the video, cruelty of the worst kind. How can anyone do such a horrible and evil act as to maime beautiful creatures as these horses. The cruel people who would do such things need to be prosecuted. I do not know what the penalty is for such cruelty but after watching part of the video, nothing would be adequate for their crime. I am apalled and angry. PLEASE stop this evil practice NOW!

Sarbear said...

The people who do this cruel act to those innocent horses need their butt kicked, arse whipped and good smack over the head. Lock them all up!

Blog Archive