FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AAWHA – CALLS FOR FLAT SHOD OWNERS TO BOYCOTT THE TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBRATION IN SHOW OF SUPPORT FOR PAST ACT
NASHVILLE, TN ““ Jeannie McGuire of Culpeper, Virginia, organizer of the “Walk On Washington” event which brought natural sound flatshod Tennessee Walking Horses before the U. S. Capitol in June in support of passage of the PAST Act, is now calling for Americans to boycott the upcoming 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.
A trainer of Tennessee Walking Horses, McGuire urged riders, owners and trainers who are bringing their horses to The Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA) International Show that begins July 27 at the Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, TN, to make their feelings known about the continued exhibition of big lick horses with stacked pads and chains by skipping The Celebration this year.
McGuire also said the flat shod horses should not participate because the Celebration uses the flat shod entries to create a bogus 96% Horse Protection Act compliance rate. She said, according to the USDA, that 94% of all the HPA violations occur on the padded and chained Big Lick horses.
“I believe that WHOA is making positive steps towards ending abusive training in walking horses and should be supported in its efforts, “ said McGuire, ” while the organizers and supporters of The Celebration continue to oppose at every juncture the passage of the PAST Act ( Prevent All Soring Tactics Act). This Act would eliminate stacks and chains on walking horses and would provide meaningful penalties for people who continue to sore horses during training in order to provide big lick entertainment. Flat shod entries bring a lot of money to The Celebration. By refusing to stay over and show in Shelbyville in August, a statement can be made by sound horse supporters that will be felt . “
Soring is both an illegal and a cruel practice that uses chemical and mechanical means to create pain in a horse’s pastern areas and feet to exaggerate the step in some Tennessee Walking Show Horses. The resulting exaggeration of the gaits bears no resemblance to the natural going gaits of the walking horse envisioned by the breeds founders. Action devices and heavy, stacked shoes are used to enhance the gaits and often to obscure other soring practices.
Although a smaller chain action device is used in the show ring as part of the package to accentuate the gaits, McGuire asserts that at the training barns multiple pairs of chains of varying weights are used in the training process, with the weights far exceeding what is allowed in the show ring. Further, she says, that horses are trained through punishment not to react to inspections used to detect soring. “This is a process called stewarding, “ said McGuire.
McGuire said in discussing her call for the boycott, ” It’s time for the pain of these horses to end. Horse shows should not feature horses that have suffered and are suffering in order to provide a thrill for an audience that does not understand how these gaits are obtained.”
Native Tennessean Dr. John Haffner, Veterinarian and MTSU Horse Science Faculty member, has said, “The fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by soring. When one soring technique becomes detectable, another one is developed. The big lick is a learned response to pain and if horses have not been sored, they do not learn it.” Dr. Haffner is Vice President of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Equine Practitioners.
With 305 members of the House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors of the PAST Act along with 57 members of the Senate, McGuire says that actions like a boycott of The Celebration send the message to Washington, D.C., that this bill needs a vote this session.
In response to industry claims that the PAST Act would destroy the walking horse industry, Clant M. Seay, spokesperson for the Alliance, said, “We now have 70% of the U. S. House of Representatives supporting the PAST ACT. The elimination of the pads and chains which are a means and incentive to sore the horses would allow the Tennessee Walking Horse to regain its rightful place as the world’s greatest show horse that is also a pleasure to ride. The PAST Act will require change, but it is change that will allow the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to survive and thrive. We proved at “Walk on Washington” with America watching that there will still be beautiful show horses without 15 pound shoes on each foot and chains slapping their pasterns. What there won’t be is an artificially created grotesque caricature of what should be a beautiful, fluid and altogether natural gait. That was what made the Tennessee Walking Horse famous in the first place and when we get it back, then we will really have something to celebrate.” -30-
The All American Walking Horse Alliance is a group of concerned citizens against soring of Tennessee Walking Horses who support the PAST ACT. -30-
To speak with a representative/spokesperson of the AAWHA, please call or email Clant M. Seay:
The following YouTubes tell the story of “Walk On Washington” and the persons and organizations which urge passage of the PAST ACT to stop the soring and abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, once and for all.
AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL PRESIDENT JAMES J. HICKEY
SENATOR JOE TYDINGS ““ FATHER OF HORSE PROTECTION ACT
WALK ON WASHINGTON ““ HORSES & REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY
“THE STORY OF “DUTCH’S ROAD TO RECOVERY”
HARD FACTS ON SORE BIG LICK TENNESSEE WALKING HORSES:
â–ª Passage of the PAST ACT would only affect 8/10th of 1% of all living Tennessee Walking Horses.
â–ª The other 99.20% of the Tennessee Walking Horses will be fine, and actually, the 8/10th of 1% will be too because they will no long be institutionally sored to created the sore Big Lick.
â–ª According to a 2012 USDA survey there are approximately 200,000 living Tennessee Walking Horses.
â–ª There are only 85 dues paying members of the Walking Horse Trainers Association.
â–ª There were only 569 Big Lick Horses at the 2013 Celebration
â–ª Assume each Trainer has an average of 10 horses in training.
â–ª Assume 850 total Big Lick Horses.
â–ª Then give it the benefit of the by doubling it 1,700 Big Lick TWH.
â–ª 1% of 200,000 = 2,000
1,700 = 8/10th of 1% / BIG LICK OUT OF 200,000 LIVING TENNESSEE WALKING HORSES
POLL OF TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE BREED REGISTRY MEMBERS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE ““ OCT. 15, 2013 ““ RESULTS AND PERCENTAGES TABULATED BY COOK & CO. CPA, ARAB, ALABAMA