"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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NEWS and ARTICLES - SBS Dateline of Australia Helps Expose the Truth; Dr. Blackwell, DVM Explains Soring Pain; Billy Go Boy's Recent Post

We have some great things going on within the Tennessee Walking Horse world.  If you've been following our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and Billy Go Boy's website, you'll know that the National Sheriff's Association has endorsed the PAST Act, while the Tennessee Farm Bureau has of course endorsed the industry and their useless counter-acts.  Although honestly, The Tennessee Farm Bureau's actions don't surprise me.  It just shows us that they are just as ingrained in profiting from the abuse as the Lickers are.

The list of supporters and endorsements of the PAST Act continues to grow!  Use this list when you're contacting your Congresspersons.  Click here to view the most updated list as of April 25, 2014!

The USDA has been working very hard.  They were at all of the major shows this season so far, and their presence either scared off exhibitors or caught a lot of the abusers in the act.  They brought their scientific, objective methods, and it's proving to work.  Please send them a message to thank them for their hard work.  Click here for the USDA HPA website for contact information.

Next, SBS Dateline out of Australia did an EXCELLENT piece on the TWH industry and soring.  They were present at this year's Trainers' Show and the Sound Horse Conference, so they showed footage and data from both.  This video is full of facts and good information from both sides of the sore horse world.  It also points out several fallacies within the industry, and counters many of their claims.  Click the banner from SBS Dateline below to watch the video.

"This is not the natural gait of the Walking Horse."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

"The exaggerated Big Lick is only achieved with the aid of what trainers call 'action devices,' the most obvious the ungainly shoes on the horse's front feet."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

Some interesting things I noticed.

03:25 - Brain Power reacts to Groover reaching toward his hooves.

04:53 - Mike Inman states that the TWH industry is important to the agriculture and farming in Tennessee.  There is no farming involved in owning TWHs.  Only showing.

08:13 - Winky Groover has vets check his horse after the USDA has disqualified the horse from the show.  He says the vets disagree with the USDA's findings.  Well of course the vets disagree--they are PAID by the industry to be there.  

11:26 - Dr. Tracy Turner used thermography at the Trainers' Show to help identify sored horses.  The Lickers continue to complain about the USDA not using scientific, objective inspections.  I don't know how much more scientific and objective thermography can get.  So you got what you wanted at the Trainers' Show, Lickers.  Sorry, Winky, I'm going to listen to the vet that used thermography and specializes in equine podiatry rather than your paid ones that didn't use anything but a subjective inspection.

After watching the thermography webinar and learning so much, I have to say I saw the lines on Winky's horse's pasterns that corresponded with the thermography.  I can see why the horse was disqualified--from what I've learned, he was clearly sored in the past but was "compliant" for the show.

But this was probably the best part of the video for me.  Mike Inman stated, "Essentially they [the HSUS] want the entire breed eliminated, again saying that will eiminate soring.  Well certainly, it will if you eliminate the horse.  There won't be any horse left."

Immediately, this quote was countered with Keith Dane's statement: "We [the HSUS] have programs to reward and encourage people who will use their Tennessee Walking Horses in humane, respectful ways and help promote the breed to the rest of the world.  So if we were against people having horses and using their horses, we wouldn't be offering rewards and recognition to people who are doing that humanely."

It continues to amaze me that this industry is so bent on perpetuating and rewarding animal abuse with the lengths they will go through.  But we're looking at a "tradition" that is truly normal to these people.  They've gotten away with it for so long, it's become ingrained in their culture.  Plus, these are trainers who wouldn't know how to train a horse without stacks, chains and "juice."  They have no idea how to start a horse from the ground up, how to use regular horse training methods to teach a horse to be ridden or prepare it for the show ring.  This was even commented on in the video: each horse is only ridden for about 20 minutes before they're hauled off to the show.  Twenty minutes of "training" is nothing compared to the hours upon hours most trainers put into their horses to compete, even those who use mechanical means.

Overall, a huge thank you to SBS Dateline for airing this.  The truth is out there, and it's becoming international!

The Sound Horse Conference 2014 has put up videos of their speakers on their YouTube feed.  I highly recommend hopping on over to YouTube to watch the videos of the presenters.  (Click for the link.)  We had some major players that told the truth about what's going on in the TWH industry.

My personal favorites are:

Dr. Michael Blackwell - Talks about what the pain of soring actually feels like.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's text of this presentation.

Carl Bledsoe - Former sore horse trainer who has chosen to leave soring behind.

Clay Harlin - Former supporter and owner of sored horses.  A preacher who talks about his time when he realized what was happening was wrong.

Dr. Tracy Turner - Thermography information and how soring happens, and debunking some of the Lickers' claims.

Of course, I recommend watching all the videos.  They are all extremely informative and helpful to end the practice of soring.

And speaking of Billy Go Boy, I really, really think this post is important: click here.  I love BGB's website because he keeps us going with such great information from the goings on within the industry, so much so that it keeps the fight going and fresh in everyone's minds.  I just find that this particular post really needs to be read and understood by everyone.  It shows how clearly disillusioned the TWH industry is.  It also reminds us that we are still gaining and we need to keep up the good fight!

Some thoughts:

I find it interesting that the only "spokesperson" for the TWH industry is Jerry Harris (Whatajayroe per BGB), of the What A Horse show from Tennessee.  He puts together a lot of videos with interviews of those within the industry.  However, it's clear that he twists words and facts to fit his own agenda, which to me is clearly to continue the sore horse racket so he can get paid.  Sadly, Harris doesn't realize that a change within the industry will stop it from hemorrhaging money and bring back the spectators and supporters of this great breed.

I also find it interesting that the industry keeps saying they want "scientific, objective inspections."  What's more scientific than x-rays and thermography?  Scientific studies continue to prove them wrong, yet they ignore them because it doesn't fit their agenda.  I have pointed out time and time again the quotes by Dr. Turner on various Facebook pages and forums, and the industry flat out WILL NOT watch the webinar or take the time to learn what science is really all about.  But we all know what's really going on: they just want to keep cognitive dissonance, to continue to believe their own lies, even in the wake of absolute proof.  If we say the sky is blue, they will call it black.  It doesn't matter to them.  Keeping their way of life is what truly matters.  So it's up to us to save the horse.

I'll keep you updated as I can, but please remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter @FortheTWH to keep as up to date as possible.  THANK YOU for continuing to support the welfare of the horse!

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