Compliments to the N. & O. coverage of this issue. AAWHA Organizer Jeannie McGuire complimented the N.&O newspaper saying, “We are pleased to see the mainstream media reporting on the institutionalized animal cruelty presented as family entertainment. What they do in training and showing these horses is wrong. It should never be on display in front of children, much less enabled by the State of North Carolina”. “The PAST ACT cannot be passed soon enough”, said McGuire as she called on Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to co-sponsor the amendment to the Horse Protection Act which will eliminate the pads and chains necessary for the Big Lick, make horse soring a felony, and take inspection duties away from organizations which have failed to protect the horses.

    AWHA Media Representative Clant M. Seay said, “The sore crowd has been in charge long enough at the N.C. State Fair. It’s time for that to change”. Seay said “Eight of the 10 members of the Horse Show Advisory Committee have HPA Violation Citations including John Callicutt, the owner of 2012 World Grand Champion “Walk Time Charlie”, and his trainer Chad Baucom. The same goes for Judge Mack Dekle officiating the N.C. State Fair, and the HAWHA (Heart of America Walking Horse Association) inspecting the N.C. Horse Show is presently being decertified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for violating the Horse Protection Act.”

    Seay called for the North Carolina Horse Council “to stop looking the other way and get behind running that bunch of HPA Violation Citation folks off the North Carolina State Fairgrounds”. Seay said, “For the Manager of the N.C. State Fair Horse Show not to know that the HAWA – Horse Inspection program it hired to ‘protect’ the horses is being charged with violating the Horse Protection Act is an unacceptable failure in performing the required due diligence to ensure that the horses are protected.”

  • Lori Horvath   ·    Top Commenter

    Thank you Kara Bettis! I’m hoping that some day soon you’ll be able to follow up with an article informing us that the lick will no longer be allowed at the North Carolina State Fair. Many other venues have banned the lick, or have left the so called “performance” classes off the agenda. I live for the day we never see another stack or chain on the TWH!
  • Charlotte Miller

    Saying that “only some trainers sore to cheat” is like saying “only some people eat”. Many veterinarians, ex-Big Lick trainers, grooms, owners, etc have come forth stating that it is NOT POSSIBLE to produce the Big Lick unless there is a learned response to pain. Period. I’m so glad that NC is raising awareness and trying to get this barbaric practice discontinued. Animal abuse and blood sport are not things that children should be witnessing.

    Also – this is not an ANIMAL RIGHTS issue. This is an ANIMAL WELFARE issue. Big difference, but the Pro Big Lick crowd doesn’t want anyone to know that. The PAST Act is a welfare amendment to a welfare bill, and it needs to be written into the law. #passthePASTAct

  • Janet Murtha   ·    Top Commenter · Works at  Retired

    The “big lick” of the so-called performance class cannot be achieved without injury and soring of the horses’ legs and hooves, according to veterinary medical associations nation-wide. Those who would inflict pain on their animals to win a ribbon are ego driven and very misguided. Pass the PAST Act!
  • Robin Peterson   ·    Top Commenter

    Thank you Kara Bettis, great article. I wish the North Carolina Fair would follow other shows example by banning the “Big Lick”. The  United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), have banned the big lick at their shows and supports HR1518, PAST Act.
  • Linda Hinson   ·  Spartanburg, South Carolina

    Get rid of everything. Stacking should also be banned. There’s nothing natural about this gait.
  • Sandra Duke Missildine   ·    Top Commenter

    There is no way to achieve the big lick that is not horribly painful to the horse. Period.
  • Patty Wagner Beaty   ·  Owner  at  Four Beat Farms

    Thank you Kara. I am pleading that the sored Big Lick horse be banned from the arena. Please replace it with a humane/sound horse show for spectators to enjoy where the horse is no longer the victim for peoples enjoyment. We must take a stand to put an end to this sadistic torture.
  • Louise Semancik   ·  Monkton, Maryland

    Thank you Kara Bettis for your excellent coverage of this issue. The Big Lick Tennessee Walking horse is an embarrassment to the breed and should never be promoted by the NC State Fair. My family and I will never attend an event that promotes the abuse of horses and, right now, that is exactly what the Fair is doing. I hope they consider a sound, flat shod show in the future.
  • Bernita Broome   ·  Brevard Community College, Cocoa, FL

    The “Big Lick” needs to be outlawed everywhere and the tail dock? Don’t know for sure but they break the tail then put it in a device that bends it when it heals so it stands taller when they do the “Big Lick”
  • Teresa Bippen   ·    Top Commenter ·  Saint Louis University School of Business

    I add my thanks to the comments on this article. Great coverage and journalism because the abuse of animals at the NC state fair is spotlighted. State fair officials can back paddle all they want about precautions but it will not fly. Wake up NC State Fair and allow your venue to become a family destination by shutting down the big lick at your show.
  • Wolfgang Planz   ·    Top Commenter ·  Greensboro, North Carolina

    thank you for raising awareness ! I dont understand the fun in this ; making a majestic animals perform unnatural movements by inducing pain ??
  • Kate Dougherty   ·    Top Commenter

    Kudos to the NO and Ms Bettis for covering this issue. There is over-whelming support of the anti cruelty PAST ACT in DC, but a tiny group of republican congressional members are blocking the act from being moved into law.

    NC deserves better from their State Far organizers than being aligned with known animal abusers.

  • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

    Thank you so much, Kara Bettis, for shedding much needed light on the burning and pressure shoeing of Tennessee Walking Horses. I had no idea before your story broke that North Carolina’s State Fair even allowed Big Lick TWH. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) banned them years ago due to the horrifying practices done to these wonderful horses. Thank you for interviewing and reporting Sue Gray’s statement that the NC Horse Council “abhors soring.” I find that laughable as well as hypocritical; USDA Horse Protection Act violations have been recorded for the NC State Fair for the last several years alone. Here is a sample:
  • Ellen Garshgo Mc Connell   ·    Top Commenter ·  Newark State, Kean University now

    END the LICK!!! NOW!!! These walking horses are being brutalized. This needs to stop immediately!!! Yeah, BLM , all all the rest to prevent this, where are U???
  • Lamargo L. Petersen   ·    Top Commenter ·  Vancouver, British Columbia

    I would love to see a well trained NATURAL Tenn. Walking Horse, being raised in the presence of a true horseman who gave me a licking for running the pony to sweat and not giving rest at least every 1/2 mile. Hurt a horse in his eyes was worth a hanging. “Sore” horse training is about as stupid as an elephant standing on its head.
  • Djofraleigh Anderson   ·    Top Commenter

    N&O – why use a picture of a western horse and saddle and that poor trainer when talking about Walking Horses?
  • Jerry W. Harris   ·    Top Commenter · Works at  NewsLeader On Charter Channel 6 – Coffee County, TN

    People against the Tennessee Walking Horse and it’s high stepping have come up with every reason under the sun to trash the way it goes but none have shown proof of wide spread abuse. They point to those the industry has caught and the USDA along with the h$u$ jumped on the wagon to go after. The h$u$ says pull the shoes and x-ray the horses but the USDA wouldn’t do the pulling of the shoes so the industry brought in outside veterinarians to do it and found nothing but still self righteous self centered people like the goat boy and people from h$u$ still point a finger at us and make more false posts. Facts are facts and the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry takes better care of their horses than any other breed and that is no crime it’s just a fact some people can’t accept.
    • Linda Goodwin

      Well if it isn’t my old “friend” Jerry Harris from What A! Remember me, one of the many folks that you had locked out of your website because we didn’t hold the same zeal that you do regarding the abused TWH? Jerry, pal, you replied regarding the TWH show at the NC State Fair (30 miles down the road from my home), and I can tell you without a doubt that this show is one of the most shameful Walking Horse shows in all the region! Yes, I have first-hand knowlege of this show so don’t even think about calling me one of the many names you’ve called me and many of the other anti-lickers over the years! I’ve been attending this show for many years, and each year the same abusers (quite of few of whom, I might add, are sitting on the board of the show) are right there with their poor old sored/padded/chained horses! One    See More
    • Charlotte Miller

      If you’re referring to the VAC, that laughingstock lost it’s credit the day that it was discovered that Dr. Goble had refused to have any part of that dog and pony show from the git-go. Not only that, but the ‘testing’ that the VAC did had nothing to do with detecting soring. X-rays? Maybe. Blood tests? How does that do anything to detect surface soring on the hooves and legs? It doesn’t. PLUS, they only ‘tested’ horses after they’d come out of the ring, and had already passed USDA inspection going in AND coming out. Sorry, but that whole thing was nothing more than a PR stunt.

      As those of us who are against the widespread abuse in Big Lick land have said over and over, NOBODY IS AGAINST THE BREED. WE LOVE THE BREED AND WE HATE WHAT THE BIG LICK CROWD DOES TO THE FEW HORSES THAT ARE BIG LICK HORSES. Get that through your heads, please.

    • Jeannie McGuire   ·    Top Commenter · Works at  All American Walking Horse Alliance

      Mr. Harris, I see that you comment frequently. Your remarks are always the same. Regurgitating this H$U$ conspiracy theory and questioning the credibility of anyone and everyone that opposes the “Big Lick” horse.
      What is your credibility and experience in horsemanship?
      You have produced videos and speak to the issue yet this rhetoric is defensive, argumentative and illogical. Many of the people who comment on these articles eat steak, hunt deer and even cut down trees and still think the “soring” of the walking horse is unacceptable, no, actually ludicrous!
      Many of these people have ridden, shown and trained performance horses. Many potential walking horse owners have witnessed first-hand the cross tie- cruelties during visits to barns only to discover this is commonplace. There are also many people who have had some experie  See More
    • Billygoboy

      Hi Mr. Harris, welcome to North Carolina. If you want proof of wide spread abuse, here it is:
      Sir, were youooking in the mirror when the words “self righteous and self centered” came to mind?
    • Linda Pierson Bassel   ·    Top Commenter ·  Owner  at  Bassel Medical Transcription

      Well well well, here jumps up Mr. Harris with his tired old paranoid conspiracy theories and disjointed garbled nonsense. The “independent” inspections at the Celebration you tout were a joke, through and through. The USDA inspection numbers show more than 50% of the horses inspected had signs of soring. Then let’s talk about the hundreds who turned tail, loaded trailers and skeedaddled when it became evident the USDA was there to enforce the law. Now, why do you suppose so many were not willing to take their horses through inspection? Mr. Harris, you do the sound horse supporters a great service every time you post. It is clear that you have no credibility and simply regurgitate the same old tired big lick talking points. BIG LICK = BIG LIE
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. Harris says, “…none have shown proof of widespread abuse.” The over 13,000 Horse Protection Act violations listed on the free public database  www.hpadata.usappear quite widespread, as in epidemic. Mr. Harris said, “…the industry brought in outside veterinarians to do it [pull stacks from the horses’ feet] and found nothing.” Could that be because the “outside veterinarians” pulled a grand total of TEN horses’ shoes and only after the USDA had already inspected and passed those very horses?
    • Michelle Zinitz   ·    Top Commenter ·  School Of Life

      Go sit down. The only prevaricating is coming from the Big Lick.
    • Erika Widener   ·  Augusta State University

      Mr. Harris your info is not correct research and try again with the truth.
    • Erika Widener   ·  Augusta State University

      Linda Goodwin Well said!
  • Randy Janssen   ·    Top Commenter ·  St. Mary’s University

    People cheat in every sporting event including high school football. Some of this cheating can cause injuries and even death to the people and animals involved in the sport. That does not mean the sport should be abolished. The solution is for the sport to take care of its own problems. That is what the TWH is doing.
    The PAST Act, is not only not necessary, it will result in greater dangers to people. The USDA is pulling inspectors from poultry production because of budgetary problems. Making them responsible for inspecting horses will just put more pressure on the USDA to reduce inspections on other more important aspects of that organization’s agenda. The animal rights fanatics that support things like the PAST Act, are obsessed with one small aspect of society. They need to take a broader view of the problems we face. Both state and federal governments has only so much money to spend, they need to spend it wisely.
    • Billygoboy

      Mr. Janssen, if you are referring to the sore Big Lick as a Sport, it is no more a Sport than Cock Fighting. In fact, you might find it interesting to know that famous Cock Fighter, B.L. Cozad, Jr., actually spoke to Big Lick folks in the Hall of Fame Club at the 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Mr. Cozad said, “…Every Animal Cruelty Law, Every Cock Fighting Law, Every Horse Soring Law, Every Single Law Against Animal Cruelty And Animal Welfare In American Are Unconstitutional”… B. L. Cozad, Jr. As to it being a Sport, here is what The Tennessean sport columnist David Climer had to say, “For years, many of those involved in the Tennessee walking horse industry have yearned for its competitions to be taken seriously as a legitimate sport.
      Blood sport, yes.
      Legitimate sport, no.”
      Mr. Janssen, the PAST ACT would eliminate the cruelty and abuse that people like B.L. Cozad, Jr. described as “Sport”. If you want to continue this discussion, there a number of people who can give you the actual numbers of what it will cost to protect “The Horses”.
    • Jeannie McGuire   ·    Top Commenter · Works at  All American Walking Horse Alliance

      According to the Congressional Budget office report May 9, 2014
      Under current law, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are sent to some large horse shows, but the private managers of each event where such horses compete usually hire their own inspectors to detect soring and other violations of the HPA.
      S. 1406 would require USDA to license, train, assign, and oversee private inspectors qualified to independently detect and diagnose a horse that has been subjected to soring and to inspect horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, or auctions, for purposes of enforcing HPA regulations. Those independent inspectors would not be USDA employees and would continue to be paid by the private managers of each event.
      ENACTING S. 1406 WOULD NOT AFFECT DIRECT SPENDING. The bill could increase revenues from penalties; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any additional revenues from those penalties would probably be negligible. S. 1406 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
      The bill would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined in UMRA, on some owners of horses by expanding the prohibition on soring horses. The cost of the mandate would be the net income forgone because of that expansion. Based on information from USDA reports and industry sources, CBO estimates that the cost of the mandate would fall below the annual threshold established in UMRA.
    • Jeff Snavely   ·    Top Commenter

      Randy, your so-called sport is the reason the problem exists in the first place. If money is your concern, it could easily be resolved with individual fines large enough to pay inspectors for a year or more.

      Worried about your food quality? Well, that’s another issue entirely. The food corporations spend enough money buying politicians to make sure that this is never going to happen anyway. Certainly not when people like yourself keep casting votes for the “pro business” candidate.

    • Linda Pierson Bassel   ·    Top Commenter ·  Owner  at  Bassel Medical Transcription

      Randy Jensen, the big lick division of TWH showing (tiny tiny tiny – less than 1% of walking horses shown) is responsible for 94% of horse protection act violations. To say that they are “taking care of the problem” is laughable. They are not, and they do not intend to ever eradicate soring, just hide it and cover it up. It must end. Getting rid of this small division will immediately result in less abuse of the walking horses and is the only solution. More than 40 years after the Horse Protection Act became law, soring is rampant. More than 50% of horses shown at the most recent Celebration showed signs of soring. It is time to pass the PAST Act and finally start to protect these gracious beautiful gentle horses.
    • Lesly Evans Johnson

      Bringing a halt to the big lick does not abolish the Walker and did you just say the fox is the best one to clean the henhouse?
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. Janssen, if this equine equivalent of dog fighting had taken care of its “problem,” the torture of innocent animals, there wouldn’t be a problem. Instead, soring has continued unabated in various forms since the mid 1950s. There is nothing “sporting” about showing horses in pain and fear, victims of blood lust, insatiable greed and the unbound ferocity of hideous cruelty.
  • Randy Janssen   ·    Top Commenter ·  St. Mary’s University

    To all those who think that the USDA can pay for this added work inspecting TWH without having to reduce other more important functions, please list all of the governmental functions that pay for themselves without using tax dollars.
    • Lesly Evans Johnson

      The CDC Foundation. Multiple veterans 501s that take up where the VA leaves off. Same for private organizations helping the education system. There are many, many examples. Some might say congress is rampant with private fund support…
    • Randy Janssen   ·    Top Commenter ·  St. Mary’s University

      I said what government not private function. 501 corporations are private.
    • Lesly Evans Johnson

      You asked for examples of governmental functions that pay for themselves without using tax dollars. That only leaves support/assistance by the private sector, including 501s. I was giving you a few examples of governmental functions that are supported in a big way by non-tax dollars. You implied that all governmental functions are only driven by tax dollars. That isn’t so. Many functions are also supported by private funds, not just tax dollars.
    • Cynthia Lansing   ·    Top Commenter ·  Butler University

      Mr. Janssen, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has already reviewed this legislation and released its finding: the bill will have no effect on direct spending.
    • Marcella Covault   ·    Top Commenter ·  Lawton, Oklahoma

      Cynthia Lansing I don’t know how anyone can believe that any government bureaucracy is unbiased and truthful. Underestimates of cost and impact have been shown and ignored many times over the past decade, in particular. Our national debt increases, and bureaucracies have to justify themselves by “finding” legislation pressured by do-gooders for passage (or threats of lawsuits) will have no effect on direct spending—what hooey. When has a government agency EVER lived within its budget and not overshot estimated expenses? Try NEVER in these times when the behemoth federal government keeps expanding its control over citizens for whom it is supposed to work. We keep burdening our grandchildren with more debt and allowing the Big Brother government to wrap its tentacles around every aspect of our lives.
    • Billygoboy

      Marcella Covault Ms Covault, how citizenry a treats their animals speaks volumes as to their values. If the PAST ACT results in the elimination of the present cruelty to Tennessee Walking Horses represented by the sore Big Lick, the money will be well spent. And the grandchildren will grow up in a world where animals who don’t have a choice will no longer be harmed. It’s an investment worth making.
  • Todd Money   ·   ·    Top Commenter ·  Owner  at  Photographer

    I was once a County Leader for The Humane Society of North Carolina. I found their Views and Ideas to be radical leftist, similar to that of PETA. This very topic hit home with me, in my 47 yrs I have worked at and with many Stables that trained walking horses. Not One time have I ever seen anything cruel or abusive to any Horse at any time. This very Topic prompted my resignation I find so many people commenting on Issues that they have no clue about. They read an Article,or their best friend told them and they jump on a misguided ban wagon.
    • Billygoboy

      Mr. Money, who are some of the Trainers and stables at which you worked during the last 47 years? Did the horses wear stacked chains? Did you see Horses “Fixed”? Do you consider “Fixing” or soring cruel or abusive? The All American Walking Horse Alliance is a grassroots movement of Americans who want the sore Big Lick to end. When you have Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Diane Feinstein both on the PAST ACT, that “radical leftist” talk goes out the window. Cruelty to animals in the name of family entertainment is no longer acceptable in 2014 America.
  • Susan Slater   ·    Top Commenter

    It is an evil , cruel,cartoon of horses used, abused for ego and for money, as “animal entertainment ” to the ignorant.
  • Djofraleigh Anderson   ·    Top Commenter

    Rodeos are next.
    • Billygoboy

      Do they invite Cock Fighters like B. L. Cozard, Jr. to come speak at Rodeos. They did at the 76th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. For real.
    • Michelle Zinitz   ·    Top Commenter ·  School Of Life

      Well, sunshine, some of the activities at rodeo should be banned.
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