SHELBYVILLE, TN – Former TWHBEA President Marty Irby
Marty Irby Supports HR 1518

today authorized the release of the following statement:

Dear Tennessee Walking Horse Industry:

First, let me thank the thousands of people who have supported and encouraged me over the past month. I believe that each of you and our great horse will soon be free from the bondage that has been endured for many decades. We have the greatest horse on earth and it will begin to thrive and flourish in the near future.

I have been made aware that a meeting and conspiracy to attempt to discredit me and physically cause harm to me took place yesterday, and after Thursday’s press conference things have become much more heated. Therefore, my wife and I have left Middle Tennessee to an undisclosed and protected location.

We are safe and in good hands. This will be my last public communication for an extended period of time. For right now, I must disappear. I am releasing this communication to Billy Go Boy, because Billy Go Boy can be trusted.

Attempts have already been made to hack into my email, and Facebook, and I have deactivated my Facebook account. Due to today’s technology and the ability to trace IP addresses, I will not be emailing or contacting anyone through internet means. You can trust that if a public statement comes through Billy Go Boy from me, then it is from me.

For the many people who sent private messages of encouragement, your messages are now safe and secure, and your names will not be revealed. Each of you still has the ability to step forward either publicly, or privately to the proper authorities with the information you have and I encourage you to do so.

Now is the time. Now is your time. The following list of individuals have proven to me they can be trusted and if you are willing to come forward I suggest you contact the following people:

The Humane Society of the United States ““ 855-667-6746 855-NO-SORING
Heidi Hall, The Tennessean ““
Roy Exum, The Chattanoogan ““

For the TWHBEA Members, International Board, and Executive Committee: Many of you are already aware of the existing plan for the sore horse takeover of TWHBEA in December. Please help stop this. Please check the history, make informed decisions, and most importantly VOTE! This is your right!

The leaders from decades ago will attempt to return, introduce alternative legislation to the PAST Act, and recreate a different version of the National Horse Show Commission. THEY MUST BE STOPPED and I believe if our people rise up together WE can keep this bondage from being perpetuated.

For the non-member TWH people. Join TWHBEA and rally behind the oldest and largest entity within this industry and you will have a vote! You have an opportunity right now to step up and help. You have said you want change, then put your money where your mouth is! This is the most critical time in Tennessee Walking Horse history.

For the breeders: begin breeding for sound, flat shod, and natural Tennessee Walking Horses now. Fall breeding is upon us, and it will take nearly three years for a vast number of horses that will be sought after to be produced, and ready to enter proper natural horsemanship training programs.

For the trainers who truly want to do the right thing: begin learning natural horsemanship training methods today. Contact people like Monty Roberts, Pat Parelli, and others or contact HSUS about their new program to help if you truly desire to remain a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer and want to do right, and sleep well at night.

For the veterinarians: Stop providing numbing agents to those who sore horses. Stop injecting horses legs to cover up the soring conspiracy. You have an ethical responsibility as members of AAEP, and AVMA to uphold, and you have an opportunity to do the right thing.

For the farriers: Please learn new methods of shoeing horses and help eliminate the horrid practice pressure shoeing that continues. You can shoe the horses properly, and become a part of the solution.

For the owners: Please do not continue to turn a blind eye. Winning at all costs will only bring you sorrow, pain, and despair in the long run. Do the right thing. Instruct your trainers to stop soring your horses, and if you find out or know they are then move the horses to proven sound horse trainers. The trainers sore horses because you help put them in this position. If you only care about winning and do not truly care about this breed, THEN LEAVE.

For the darkness, and those who continue to perpetuate it: YOU WILL FAIL, and I believe this with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY. You have held our horse and people hostage for far too long, and your time is OVER. The dark cloud will be removed, and THE LIGHT WILL SHINE THROUGH! No matter how hard you try GOOD will overcome EVIL. That is a proven fact in this world, and the Tennessee Walking Horse shall soon be FREE!

God bless each of you. I pray that your hearts will be changed as mine has, and I hope that doing what is right will be placed upon your heart so heavily that your eyes are opened to the REAL TRUTH. For those who want to make the most difference, please step forward publicly and help lead our people. We need more brave leaders like the members of the TWHBEA Executive Committee and International Board that have publicly supported the PAST Act.

Long live the sound and natural Tennessee Walking Horse,

Marty Irby

Irby comes from a life long “Big Lick” orientation. He served as President of TWHBEA from December 2010 through November 2012. During his time of service, Irby analyzed the issues facing the walking horse business and concluded that reform was needed in order for the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to survive. Irby supports HR 1518 PAST ACT which would amend the Horse Protection Act. It would eliminate the pads and chains that are presently used when exhibiting the “Big Lick” horse. Irby’s believes that the breed must distance itself from the soring stigma which has resulted in the Tennessee Walking Horse from being cast out from the other breeds, and its presently dire economic condition which have resulted from historically low numbers of horses being registered.


2012 - UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE Homecoming - Kimbrell Hines Up On "A Daring Affair" - Taking The Place Of 'Big Lick' World Grand Champion Walk Time Charlie

2012 – UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE Homecoming – Kimbrell Hines Up On “A Daring Affair” – Taking The Place Of ‘Big Lick’ World Grand Champion Walk Time Charlie



  1. Stay safe Marty, Hopefully all those that have sat on the sidelines will now GET OFF their butts and get this going. Unless they truly want the TWHBEA to fail, and crumble. This is what I’ve been seeing over the last several months with people who are dead set against rejoining to help keep the assoc. going and to get the sore folks OUT. If they aren’t part of the solution, they have now become part of the problem. I hope I’m wrong about these folks, but I am truly starting to believe they want the TWHBEA to fall like the great wall. You all know who you are. You’ve kicked me off your pages, but hay that’s OK, I don’t want to be part of a group that sit there and preaches about how bad things are, and then do nothing to change it.

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  3. Just yesterday, I was telling my husband that very few men in this world have the courage that Marty Irby has. He has put his life on the line to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse. Marty, if you can see this, thank you for your strength of character, and God bless you and your family.

  4. Sound is the only way to go. I TRULY hope this tide will turn, the sooner the better. My herd is barefoot and wonderful. I hope all TWH can be that way.

  5. Stay safe — that’s the important thing right now. You are a hero to more people than you realize and to every Tennessee Walking Horse that has ever been abused by these cretins.

  6. Impressed. I live in TN Walking Horse Heartland, outside of Lewisburg, TN. I have barefoot, naturally trained Missouri Foxtrotters. It can be done and the breed association can be changed with people like Marty speaking out.
    Thank you from horse lovers everywhere.

  7. Keep safe, Marty Irby. I thank you for the sacrifices you have made in this battle for the breed. The times they are a’changin, and the big lick appears to be in the throes of a death rattle. This gorgeous photo of Kimbrell Hines on A Daring Affair is a symbol of the bright future ahead for the Tennessee Walking Horse – a future free of bondage, chemicals and suffering.

  8. What, no comments from the Big Lick folks? Come on, surely someone wants to weigh in on this matter? No?

    They must be too busy watching the Sorebration and cheering for HPA violators. Or holding meetings to figure out how to ‘get’ whoever dares to speak up about their cruelty and stupidity.

  9. I have had TWH’s for 40 years. I have shown pleasure and mostly trail ride.
    I have done a lot to promote the TWH ‘s, there is NO reason to sore them
    or put chains on. The poor horse cannot speak for themselves. It is time to
    show them natural!!! I would breed to a natural gaited horse before I would
    breed to one that needs pads and chains. The general public thinks pads and chains are discussting!

  10. Thank you, Mr. Irby, for taking a stand for the breed! Your bravery has been noted and appreciated greatly. There’s one thing I want to take issue with, however. When you suggest trainers for learning new ways, you recommend Parelli and Roberts, clinicians are already doing just fine. Instead, let’s give that business to the experienced gaited horse trainers who are already doing it the right way, people like Diane Sept, Gary Lane, Anita Howe, and many other trainers who aren’t as well known outside of the inside circles of the so-called “industry.” Great trainers are also those who further their own education, such as Scot Macgregor, Larry Whitesell, and Jennifer Bauer (Whitesell’s former apprentice), all of whom still take lessons from masters of classical riding. There is a lot of talent for natural horsemanship and classical horsemanship already in the gaited/Walking Horse community, and these people need our support.

  11. Thank you Marty,what a shame that the TWH mafia of Herr Howard have stooped so low. Our breed could be the biggest pleasure horse there is if we didn’t have the “big lick” horror hanging around our necks. They are sweet, beautiful and most important comfortable. Flat shod horses are shown,trail ridden, ACTHA participants, endurance etc etc. I agree we all need to support TWHBEA and not let the “lickers” run our registry

  12. Marty you are completely correct,having grown up in the TWH industry just like yourself,there is more to this horse than just a show horse.I wish that the industry had the insight to realize what they have turned the breed in to.I live in an area where there are several other breeds ,theTWH is a joke to them.I myself Marty feel the same as you on every point you make.Be safe, and please advise if I can help you in any way

  13. We’ve been involved in the TWHBEA and RHBAA for about 35 years now. I can remember seeing for the first time, horses with chains and pads and thinking how awful! I’ve tried to ride horses on pads, but if you are like me and like the wonderful 1-2-3-4 that the gait is supposed to be (not the 1,2-3,4 of the pacers) then riding a padded horse adds another “bump” to almost make it a 6-beat gait as the pad slaps down on the ground (it give a 2-beat thump). I don’t care for the gyrations of the rear-end as it has to overcompensate for the stacked front end. I loved my trail riding and the feel of the natural 4-beat gait that both Walkers and Rackers should have. I’ve also watched as the industry went from classes so large they had to be split, to just a few in each class – both padded and (supposedly) flat shod. I don’t want to see either industry fail – racking or walking. I, too, dream of the day when the horses’ feet return to the ground the good Lord meant for them to be on. I applaud efforts to go natural – although going “back” to where they started also may not be what you think it is. Let’s look forward and rather than argue, or threaten lives, how about a two industries with the best horse in the world, let’s all go forward. There are trainers, not necessarily the ones mentioned, that DO know the gaited horse, but also know other disciplines of riding. Take a look at trainers who can do more than tout going around a ring, or worse, a round pen (personally, I’d like to wrap those round pens around the trainers that “need” them to train). Seek trainers who actually know how to ride – using leg commands and shifts in weight. Maybe a rule of thumb – if the trainer looks like a vulture sitting on a horse, go find another trainer. Let’s move on together and rebuild both industries (walking and racking) to an animal that most Americans want to own and ride. Remember also, much of the pleasure horse riders in USA (that makes up about 80% of riders in USA), are the 50-something crowd. If we want them to keep riding and putting money into the horse industry, then we need to provide them with a comfortable ride where they can ride for hours and not experience sore backs (as many of the non-gaited owners claim happens to them). I love our gaited horses and still believe that through regulation, the changes can enhance our industries and that we CAN survive this.

  14. I hope to be part of the TWH breed turn around. My husband Chris and I own Rising Glory Farm in Lewisburg, TN. We have been raising sound flat shod TWH for the past 12 years. We don’t advertise our horses for sale but sell via word of mouth. We have held sound horse shows at our equestrian facility sponsored by PWHAT and WHOA. I am running for the TWHBEA Board of Directors for Tennessee. I would appreciate your support in helping people like myself and Marty Irby change this industry.
    Thank you,
    Ida Marie

    • Hopefully all of us sound flat shod people can guit arguing like in the past and keep TWHBEA out of the hands of the “lickers” and move our wonderful breed to the place that it should be

    • I am a very lucky woman to have Ida Marie Carlough as my friend. She is a courageous, no nonsense, giving woman. She is true to her word and would make a great TWHBEA Board of Director. She would represent the Flat Shod show people and the majority TWH owners, the trail riders, in a manner that would allow for a strong voice for what is right for this wonderful breed. Please give Ida Marie Carlough your vote and make her your representative for a ethical TWHBEA.

  15. Stay Safe! Thank you all for your good work!!!- Advocating & Saving these horses from this abuse. You are Heros for the horses!! I support you in memory of my childhood black Tennessee Walker, Count Rush !

  16. My first horse love was a TWH named Karla. I don’t remember her owner’s name, but that she indulged my infatuation and gave me rides and taught me about horse care, much of which I applied to my own horse. I have a little tin bracelet my dad engraved with my name and Karla’s, dated 1964. I have loved the breed for ever, and am so happy that they will soon be sound and pain-free

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