How to Distinguish Between a Walking Horse and a Tennessee Walking Horse ““ Tennessee Senators Alexander and Corker Are Giving us a Lesson
There are good people all across the United States and even around the world that own Tennessee Walking Horses. These folks have significant investments of time and money and ongoing expenses related to their horses, which they love. Today they find themselves facing one of the most curious and serious problems ever encountered.
The evil “Big Lick” stigma.
The “Big Lick” gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse which has been labeled as a “bastardized gait” by horsemen all over the world is when a horse raises its front feet extremely high with each painful step and reaches forward to extremes with its hind feet in order to shift its body weight and weight of the rider to the un-sore hind feet.
The Big Lick is a result of a process known as “soring the horse”. The big lie that has been perpetrated for years is that a horse can be trained to walk this way. The truth has finally been revealed to the world that it is not a result of training, but of soring.
This stigma has become so well known to the world that owners of Tennessee Walking Horses are met with disdain, disgust and looks of revile. The owners of sound horses constantly have to explain these truths to the public.
In 2014 a boiling point has been reached and sound horse advocates that love the Tennessee Walking Horse breed are now faced with a decision that has only a few alternative options.
The Tennessee Walking Horse must rid itself of this stigma by stamping out the practice of soring and the Big Lick. If the legislation known as the PAST Act which is before Congress and the Senate right now is not passed and soon, then this option will fall from the table and it will be years, perhaps too many for the breed to survive.
Another option is to walk away from the Tennessee Walking Horse, but the good people care and love the horse too much to let it die.
The third alternative may be to re-label the sound horses to simply Walking Horses and leave the Big Lick stigma with Tennessee Walking Horses.
This question is for Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
Is this what you want?
By not supporting the PAST Act you may be creating a future where only crippled, abused Big Lick horses bear the name of your beloved state “Tennessee” in their title.
I used the term curious earlier with this stigma known as the Big Lick. It is curious because the Big Lick crowd says there are only a few bad apples that sore horses.
They are partially correct, because it appears that the bad apples are all of the people involved with the Big Lick, which they refer to as the Performance Horse and by their own admission they represent five percent of the total Tennessee Walking Horses.
The Big Lick crowd tries to minimize this horror by spouting statistics that only a small percentage of horses are treated this way when the reality is that the entire five percent are one hundred percent of the problem.
Senators Alexander and Corker, please tell me that you are not going to rely on bogus statistics to not take a stand and do what is right. If the PAST Act fails and in the future the only Walking Horses that are referred to as Tennessee Walking Horses are these tortured creatures that perform the Big Lick, well I for one will make every effort to ensure that you two get full credit for your (in)actions that will forever tie Tennessee to the Big Lick.
Do you want this legacy?
To torture a horse in order to make it walk that way in front of a crowd for a blue ribbon and call it performing is sick. The very sad result if the PAST Act fails will be that the future of an entire breed will be forever changed.
I fear that Tennessee, the home, the birth place where it (soring) was invented, the last stronghold of the few bad apples, that spill over into Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi, will be the last stand of this incomprehensible practice. It will eventually die and when it does there will no longer be a Tennessee Walking Horse, only a Walking Horse.
Is this what you want, Senators Alexander and Corker?
Harold, Guest Columnist