THETA, TN –   Part 3 of Mr. David Thomas’s ShelbyvilleNOW –  “Concerned Voices”  –  series stated Opinions of other persons.  It first appeared that was the final part of the series, but  Mr. Thomas’s “Final Thoughts”  are set out below.

BGB previously asked:

“Why didn’t you discuss the  REAL  issues?”:

  • The change needed in the Celebration leadership?
  • The conflicts of interest with exhibitors paying for corporate sponsorships?
  • The problem with the City of Shelbyville and the civic clubs being shown the door?
  • The Celebration suing the USDA?
  • The Celebration trying to control the entire walking horse breed?

In his “Final Thoughts” ,  Mr. Thomas deals with some of these issues.

Concerned Voices   –   Final Thoughts
by David Thomas

In this conclusion to the series “Concerned Voices”   I will give you some final thoughts about the current state of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.

For the past year I have been trying to create a dialog between the different factions that currently exist in the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.   I will refer to it as a breed instead of an industry.   An industry typically has a product to sell to the public,   but it is quite obvious none of the factions are interested in selling this breed to the “public”,  so I will refer to this entity as “breed” going forward in this article.    

There are a handful of people that are willing to move forward in a   positive direction in order to save this breed,   but   the opposition comes from a mindset of “we ain’t changin”.     Change is most definitely hard to take when it comes to something that has become a culture and a way of life.   It is unfortunate that some life long “breed” participants would be so stubborn and let their personal wants and desires   further taint this wonderful animal.    IF  this breed wants to remain in existence,   there will most definitely have to be  some major overhauling done and some leadership put in place that understands what we are facing.     Quite frankly,   greed has destroyed this wonderful animal that we refer to as the Tennessee Walking Horse.

The three articles I composed over the past few weeks were based on the opinions expressed by people within the breed that consider themselves as stakeholders.   Also,   much advice was offered from business consultants and marketing experts as to what needs to be done.     I have received many comments from people that obviously can not or chose not to read the disclaimers in the articles.   It was clearly stated in these articles that the content was derived from outside sources and not my personal opinion.

At this time,   I would like to share with you some thoughts from a long time   World Grand Champion trainer that has retired, but keeps up with current events from within the breed.     I  agree with  this gentleman’s opinion  100%.
This particular trainer says that three things have to happen to turn this breed around.
Here they are:

1.   The Breed can no longer be in charge of inspecting the horses.   Get out of the HIO business 100%.    No form of soring can be tolerated.   That goes from a “little fixin” all the way to “pressure shoeing” , and the  current   leadership still  allows it to continue and in some cases covers it up

2.   New Leadership from top to bottom.   People that believe the Tennessee Walking Horse is worth saving at all costs have to be in leadership.

3.   Change the look of our performance horse.     We must have a neater, smaller foot without a chain hanging on it.     What we have had for the past 40 years is no longer an accepted practice in any equestrian   division.     Something like the Saddlebred and Morgan shoeing is the direction to go.

The trainer that shared these ideas with me stated that “it might be too late” and “we have always been about 15 years behind the real world”.     I hope it’s not too late.   I also hope that some  HONEST  debate will  begin somewhere and begin fast.     I just don’t see it happening.


Mr. Thomas proposes an alternative shoeing package than that presently used, and suggests that Youth Academy Programs are the proper way to introduce children to proper horsemanship, and cites the American Saddlebred as an example.

Walking Horse News

A View of the Five Gaited World Grand Champion compared to the TWH World Grand Champion A Picture is worth a thousand words.

Photo of The Daily Lottery
by Shane Shiflet
Photo of I Am Jose’
by Shane Shiflet
Many small things could be done to improve the appearance of the Tennessee Walking Horse
At first glance you ask what’s wrong with this picture?     Look at the little things.   That makes a huge difference in the public’s eye.
1.   Shoe & Pads
2.   General Grooming
3.   Action Device
4.   Posture of Rider
5.   Bit Length
6.   Overall Professional Appearanc


Many people from all over the United States,  who are not familiar with the Middle Tennessee landscape and the Nazi-like resistance to change by the sore Big Lick diehards,   cannot fully appreciate Mr. Thomas’s attempts to bring these matters out into the open for public discussion.

The Folks up here at Theta, while not always agreeing on every point, applaud Mr. David Thomas  for making this effort