SHELBYVILLE,  TN – “I AM JOSE” won by default in a mighty three horse class in what might be, could be,  ought to be the last Big Lick World Grand Championship at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration before the Tennessee Walking Horse goes back to his plantation roots as Auburn Vet Dean Emeritus Tom Vaughan suggested it should.

Otherwise,  it may return to its roots ““ the plantation walking horse, which may not be a bad thing.   Tom Vaughan, Dean Emeritus Auburn Vet College




"I AM JOSE" - 2014 World Grand Champion

“I AM JOSE” – 2014 World Grand Champion





Here is an article in The Tennessean along with Comments including a prefatory one by Clant M. Seay, Spokesperson for the All American Walking Horse Alliance.


“I Am Jose” has a championship Tennessee Walking Horse pedigree – Midnight Sun/Merry Go Boy – Midnight Mack K – Pride’s Generator – Sun’s Delight. All Horses that had natural ability. These are Horses that were and could have been champions without the Pads and Chains associated with soring.

“I Am Jose’s” Trainer Casey Wright has received 9 Horse Protection Act Violation Citations in the last nine years including unilateral sore, scar rule and foreign substance. Two of these horses have the name “Jose” in their pedigree. In the last eight years, 843 Tennessee Walking Horses have received HPA violation citations for being sore Sixty of these horses have the name “Jose” in their pedigrees.

America is firmly lined up against the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse because they endure pain to be trained to perform the Big Lick. MTSU Equine Professor John Haffner says ALL of them do, and he is irrefutably correct. A native Tennessean, Dr. Haffner grew up a fan of the Big Lick horse, and then saw “The Light”.

The Big Lick horse is presently unmarketable, and the State of Tennessee is earning the reputation for being the World Center of Horse Abuse.

At the 2014 Celebration, the USDA Vet inspectors were turned over 50% of all the Big Lick Horses they checked as being SORE.

The Celebration’s Premier Sponsor Mr. Dave Thomas of Winner’s Circle says horses are being sored in 2014, and pointed out that Go Jo, WD-40, Dawn and Gentlkleen are being used to do it.

There were only 3 Horses were left to show in the World Grand Championship class last night of which”I Am Jose'” was declared the winner. Of the five Judges, ALL of them had Horse Protection Act Violation Citations for soring.. Over half of the other championship contenders didn’t show because they were found to be SORE.

It’s time to pass the PAST ACT to remove the Pads and Chains so “I Am Jose’ offspring will not have to suffer like all the other Jose Jose offspring which have been sored to produce the sore Big Lick.

And to clean up Tennessee’s horse abuse image, and to free the Tennessee Walking Horse breed from the pads and chains which are an incentive to sore the horses.

Clant M. Seay, Spokesperson, All American Walking Horse Alliance,


I Am Jose wins 2nd straight Walking Horse Celebration championship


Debbie Woods calls I Am Jose her “history maker.”

I Am Jose became the first repeat champion in 58 years at the 76th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration on Saturday night.

In 2013, I Am Jose became the first 4-year-old horse to win the big stake since 1966, when Shaker’s Shocker won the world grand championship.

“Well, everything about that horse is special from the first time that I looked at him,” said Woods, I Am Jose’s co-owner from Lexington. “Last year, of course, he made history being the first 4-year-old and this year he made history repeating back-to-back. I was just a baby (the last time a horse repeated.)”

Go Boy’s Shadow won consecutive titles in 1955-56, with Shelbyville’s Winston Wiser in the saddle.

Reagan’s Casey Wright rode I Am Jose, a 5-year-old black stallion, to a unanimous decision.

“It’s unbelievable,” Wright said. “There aren’t many horses that can do that. He’s one of a kind.”

There were only three entries in the big stake. Ten years ago, it was typical to have more than 10 entries.

Inspections to check for soring by the U.S Department of Agriculture have been strict. There were 16 entries in last weekend’s two preliminary classes, but only six horses made it to the show ring

“I think they all got turned down last weekend,” Wright said. “(Inspections) are as strict as it can be. We thought (I Am Jose) was fine “” that’s why we took him up there. We ain’t got nothing to hide.”

Gen’s Black Maverick took second and Mr. Heisman was third.

Five hours of steady rain softened the oval dirt track, but I Am Jose didn’t have any problems with his footing.

“It was a little bit (slick), but not too bad,” Wright said. “It was pretty firm footing up under it.”

Woods calls the stallion “a mudder.” Rain kept many spectators away as dozens of bleacher rows were empty. Many of the die-hards who came wore rain ponchos.

Mud splattered the riders’ pants legs as 1.58 inches of rain fell in Shelbyville, according to the National Weather Service. One longtime Celebration employee said it was the rainiest day at the show since the remnants of Hurricane Katrina passed through in 2005.

Wright said it was harder to win this year than last year.

“There was a little more pressure this year,” Wright said. “It felt like every eye in that place was on me. I was a little tense, probably.”

The trainer from West Tennessee marvels at I Am Jose’s consistency.

“He’s just natural,” Wright said. “You can put him up for a month and get him out, and he’s still good. He’s just a great horse.”

Most big stake winners don’t defend their title so they can put their horses into breeding, which can make a lot of money for the owners.

“We bred him last fall after I won and then we took him back,” Wright said. “He stayed at the breeding barn from March until the end of June, and we started working him the first of July. (Saturday) was the only time he’s been shown this year.”

It seems unlikely that I Am Jose will go for a three-peat ““ a feat accomplished by only one horse: The Talk of the Town from 1951-53.

“I think we aren’t going to test our lucky anymore,” said Wright, who turns 33 on Monday.

But Billy Woods, the horses’ co-owner and Debbie’s husband, isn’t ruling it out.

“We never say no,” Billy said.

Reach Chip Cirillo at 615 664-2194 or on Twitter @ChipCirillo.

Green honored

Shelbyville’s Charlie Green was named trainer of the year for the third time. He also won in 2007 and 2013.

Repeat Celebration champions

1940-41  “” Haynes Peacock

1945-46  “” Midnight Sun

1947-48  “” Merry Go Boy

1951-53  “” The Talk of the Town

1955-56  “” Go Boy’s Shadow

2013-14  “” I Am Jose



  • Billygoboy

    POSTED ON  WWW.BILLYGOBOY.COM  “I Am Jose” has a championship Tennessee Walking Horse pedigree – Midnight Sun/Merry Go Boy – Midnight Mack K – Pride’s Generator – Sun’s Delight. All Horses that had natural ability. These are Horses that were and could have been champions without the Pads and Chains associated with soring.”I Am Jose’s” Trainer Casey Wright has received 9 Horse Protection Act Violation Citations in the last nine years including unilateral sore, scar rule and foreign substance. Two of these horses have the name “Jose” in their pedigree. In the last eight years, 843 Tennessee Walking Horses have received HPA violation citations for being sore Sixty of these horses have the name “Jose” in their pedigrees.America is firmly lined up against the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse    See More
    • Rolfe Mullins   ·  ETSU

      You keep saying these horses were sore, they were turned down on the scar rule, does not mean a horse was sore.
    • Lisa Rogero   ·  Jasper, Georgia

      That’s how they get the scars, from being burned. You can’t create the big lick gait without soring the horse.
    • Lesly Evans Johnson

      Mr. Mullins, please explain the training routines that produce the big lick.
  • Billygoboy

    Here are the HORSE PROTECTION ACT Violation Citation records* of Casey Wright and his brother Michael Wright -Michael Wright Jose’s Pretty Penny 8/25/2012 Foreign Substance.
    Casey Wright Jose’s Bambino 8/24/2012 Foreign Substance.
    Casey Wright Jose’s Double Down 8/27/2012 Foreign Substance.
    Casey Wright Jazz Under the Light 7/26/2012 Sore.
    Casey Wright I’m Deuce 8/26/2012 Sore.
    Michael Wright Padron 5/26/2011 Foreign Substance.
    Casey Wright It’s Electric 8/30/2009 Foreign Substance.
    Michael Wright A Strong Need for Cash 8/27/2012 Foreign Substance.
    Casey Wright Major Frivolous 8/27/2010 Scar Rule.
    Michael Wright I’m A Proud American 3/15/2013 Sore.*USDA – APHIS ANIMAL CARE HORSE PROTECTION ACT VIOLATIONS.”I Am Jose” is trained by Casey Wright.
    • Jeannie Webb   ·    Top Commenter

      He’s not trained Billy..he’s intimidated, sored, whipped, tail ligaments cut, stacked up, chained but he is NOT TRAINED.
    • Lesly Evans Johnson

      It is a crime that such a natural isn’t allowed to actually be natural.
    • Charlene B. Campbell

      My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,
      w ­w ­w.B ­l ­u ­e ­5 ­0.c ­o ­m
  • Sharon Loomis Corr   ·    Top Commenter

    Mr Cirillo, thanks for writing multiple articles on this today.. Did you think any of us might change our minds since this morning? The Celebration is clearly a disaster for middle TN. Not only has the attendance been spiraling downward for the last 10 years, but there is no justification of claims of multi millions being poured into the economy. The Celebration has been losing money for years. The UT reports on the equine impact for the entire state have included all equines from ponies and mules to all breeds of horses including the draft breeds.. The big lick segment is a very small percentage of those reports yet it stains the reputation of a beautiful state.. Its time to get back to the REAL tradition of the Walking horse.. the horse without the big stacks and chains.
  • Jeannie Webb   ·    Top Commenter

    “History maker”? that is laughable…THREE HORSES? he sure looks happy in that photo with his head jerked up for the camera doesn’t he…
    • Margaret Raimo Gordon   ·    Top Commenter

      Only 3 horses go around a ring…1 is called champion, 1 is called reserve, and 1 is called third. How about only 3 horses passed inspection the other 20-30 in this class were found to be sore and then there was there was 1st ,2nd and LAST It’s called the Sorebration
    • Sandra van den Hof   ·   ·  Hechtel, Limburg, Belgium

      What a joke this whole Celebration is. Training a horse for barely 2 months and you can become a World Grand Champion with only 2 more contenders to beat. Hilarious!But at the same time it is sickening to see those horses suffer and even 3 horses are 3 too many.Pass the PAST Act!
  • Robin Peterson   ·    Top Commenter

    I’d like to say, I can’t believe Charlie Green made trainer of the year again, the man has 32 HPA violations! I believe the industry is capable of anything at this point. The owners of “I am Jose,” Billy and Deborah Woods have HPA violations, 12 between the 2 of them.
  • Jeannie McGuire   · Works at  All American Walking Horse Alliance

    Mr. Cirillo
    There is a contingency among walking horse owners that the “Industry” belongs to a select few and those few are the only people who know how to train prize winning horses.
    The word “industry” is just a catch phrase the Performance Horse Trainers and Owners have attached to a segment of the breed, patting their backs and claiming they are responsible for a prosperous economic impact.
    It’s been the downfall of the breed in general. Those who label themselves “industry” have divided the breed and weakened its potential.
    The Celebration’s decline has nothing to do with the economy, the rain, or the inspections.
    It has to do with the fact that in the past few decades a new emergence of training methods and show preparation has changed the horse world. True professional Horsemen know that there is no longer a need to use force and manipulation to get results. The world is looking at the Big Lick horse with his manufactured gait as a joke.
    Even “industry insiders” have turned their back on the Celebration and pulled their funding and support.
    Inspections would not have to be “stricter” if the “industry” did not try to perpetuate this extreme gait that undoubtedly has to be altered with gimmicks and tricks.
    So for the rest of the people out there, who seriously doubt the credibility of the whole breed, winning twice just makes things look twice as bad.
  • Cindy Marx-Sanders

    Tennessee was the second state to pass animal cruelty laws back in the 1890s…TN was second after New York…how sad that Tennessee has fallen so terribly far from being a national leader in protecting animals to holding a yearly “celebration” that trumpets and rewards the cruelty of the Big Lick.
    Shame on Tennessee.
    And shame on those riders/trainers/owners who support and practice the cruelty of Big Lick.
  • Jeannie Webb   ·    Top Commenter

    Bet they didn’t pull his shoes did they?
  • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

    Debbie Woods calls “I Am Jose” her history maker? He certainly is–of the Cruelest Horse Show in the World in the Horse Abuse Capital of the World, Tennessee.
  • Jeannie Webb   ·    Top Commenter

    This says alot..THREE HORSES and there was “pressure”..I bet there was pressure..just not on this pseudo-trainer..”There was a little more pressure this year,” Wright said.
  • Kristi Quaintance   ·    Top Commenter

    The Celebration is over and I can only hope the Lickers had a good time because we need to get to work this week and get those few remaining Legislators to see the light. Pretty much evident that they can drop the “economic impact” statement because I wonder if a few thousand dollars came in to Shelbyville much less the 40M they tout. And also evident is their claim that they are cleaning their industry up themselves when only 3 horses can make it into the ring. We have a lot to work with and work is what will get done.
  • Bernice Reed   ·    Top Commenter

    The World Grand Champion beat two other horses for the title. The big lick faction of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed has become the laughing stock of the world.
  • Billygoboy

    Mr. Mullin, by definition, a scarred horse is a sore horse and cannot show. The purpose of the “Scar Rule” was to ensure that if Tennessee Walking Horses were trained with chains and chemicals, and that scars were left, the horses, owner and trainer would be prohibited from entering the show ring. The “Scar Rule” was intended to be a deterrent and stop the “production of the sore Big Lick gait.” In 2006 “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship and “VAC” Chairman Dr. Jerry Johnson, at the urging of Steve Smith, Senator Lamar Alexander’s 2014 Campaign Finance Chairman, went to Washington, DC armed with approximately $600,000.00+ of funds to attempt to have a LAW passed which would amend the Horse Protection Act and revise the “Scar Rule” so it would be no longer be a soring horses. and to redefine soring. The measure failed when The Tennessean newspaper reported on what the sore Big Lick Crowd was attempting to do. It is a sad commentary that Steve Smith, Tom Blankenship and Dr. Jerry Johnson are back at it again. At least Dr. Dallas O. Goble decided early on to “not touch the ‘VAC’ with a 10 foot pole.
  • MrsHamilton Barrow Willis   ·   ·    Top Commenter

    Guess the writer of this article didn’t like my original post because it is gone now. Once again: The Big Lick is an Artifical Lick, is a Sore Lick, is a like that cannot be produced UNLESS a horse is all tricked out with stacks of pads and chains–and a little “jusice” for insurance. This is MY opinion and that of equine vets who know what they are talking aout.


The “AGONY OF AUGUST” was not kind to the sore Big Lick.


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