THETA, TN – Mr. Chris Nerland asked Friday on BillyGoBoy Facebook page. if a “Big Lick” supporter could produce a book or CD on how to train a “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horse.
“Is there a book or CDs out there on how to train a big lick horse?”
I asked my friend Harold if he had ever heard of such. Harold said his wayward Big Licker cousin Jack who died six years ago had one, and he’d ask his widow Malvenia over at Thompson’s Station if she would let him borrow it so I could show it to you.
Here it is:
THE CARE AND TRAINING OF THE TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE
MR. CHRIS NERLAND FACEBOOK QUERY
“If I am speaking incorrectly regarding the TWH and how the gait is achieved, I would appreciate a correction. I can only speak from my own observations of the breed, both in the ring and in pasture, combined with my knowledge as a farrier and trainer as to how enhanced action is achieved. I would give a fair chance to a Big Lick proponent if they could explain (including the shoeing, stretchies, etc.) how the Lick is bred (what makes a colt a potential performance horse?) and trained. We hear from “our” side all the time. Is there a book or CDs out there on how to train a big lick horse? Every other discipline has dozens if not hundreds of clinicians, trainers, who want to show you how to train and show your horse. Even Saddleseat has Helen Crabtree, Rick Wallen and now Smith Lilly. Why not lay out in detail what it takes to produce a winning performance TWH? It is not fair for us to criticize the end product if we have no idea whatsoever what it takes to produce it. Lay it out there (anonymously if you wish), and let people decide from an informed position, instead of being bombarded with horrible images all the time. Otherwise, you and the breed will continue to be judged by the most egregious violators and abusers.”
A native of Arkansas, Mr. Joe Webb trained three generations of World Grand Champions crowned at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
- Rodger’s Perfection – 1959
- Perfection’s Carbon Copy – 1964
- Mark of Carbon – 1979
When Mr. Webb was training Tennessee Walking Horses, a lot more “saddle time” was involved in making a show horse. Mr. Webb believed in snaffle bits and training the horse in the basics of horsemanship before ever starting the build up associated with the “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horse.
“Teaching him to come up in front can come after he has developed a good reach”
Mr. Webb’s book explained about how to train a “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horse from the selection of the colt to nutrition to preparing the colt to enter “Training” to the actual training of the horse.
In his book, Mr. Webb provided “how to” pictures and diagrams, many of them were horses he trained.
Born in 1928, Joe Webb was sort of a Monty Roberts before there was a Monty Roberts. He operated a riding school and camp for kids in Westerm Arkansas. Joe Webb grew up and came of age before the advent of the “institutionalized soring” of Tennessee Walking Horses.
Joe Webb could have made it without “fixing” a horse. He had a way with animals. He taught two horses to hold a rope while a mule jumped over it. Mr. Webb taught horses to count, sit up on two legs and roll over. Many people were introduced to the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse at Joe Webb’s facility.
Mr. Webb’s book did not go into detail on “How To Fix” a Tennessee Walking Horse.
The first edition was published in 1962, and the 3rd Edition released in 1979.
The Tennessee Walking Horse was not shown in built up pads until the mid 1950s, and the horse was exhibited in a rubber bell boot, rather than a chain. Please note the relatively straight top line of “Go Boy’s Shadow” compared to the deep seat “squatting” Big Lick gait which eventually evolved.
GO BOY’S SHADOW – 1955 – 1956 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION
The “Soring” and “Fixing” started in the mid-1950s, and it accelerated until the Horse Protection Act was passed in 1970.
The “institutionalized soring” has now continued for the past 60 years.
Here is Mr. Joe Webb up on “Rodger’s Perfection” in 1959. Please note the increase in elevation from 1954.
RODGER’S PERFECTION – 1959 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION
As “Soring” took off, the posture of the Horse changed. Please notice that “Rodger’s Perfection” is not shod with a pad/stack build up.
Here is Mr. Joe Webb up on World Grand Champion “Perfection’s Carbon Copy” in 1964. Please note that the elevation is more pronounced, and the bitting more severe.
PERFECTION’S CARBON COPY – 1964 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION
And here is Mr. Webb riding 1978 World Grand Champion Mark Of Carbon. Notice the difference in the increased elevation of the horse and length of the shanks. Also, Mark of Carbon is pictured in a collar type action device.
MARK OF CARBON – 1978 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION
Interestingly the sire of “Rodger’s Perfection” was a horse named “Midnight Mack K”.
Mack K was an enormously talented horse.
MIDNIGHT MACK K – JACK SLAYDEN UP
MIDNIGHT MACK K PEDIGREE – MIDNIGHT SUN/MERRY BOY CROSS
As one can see, Midnight Mack K had the genetic ingredients of the Natural Tennessee Walking Horse imbued with the bloodlines that created the natural walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse.
Here is the Pedigree of “I AM JOSE” – the 2014 World Grand Champion. Please note that Midnight Mack K. makes up the bottom side of “Jose Jose” with “Merry Humoresque” being a Midnight Mack K. grand daughter, and 76’s Ruby is also a grand daughter of Midnight Mack K.
Here are 2014 “I AM JOSE” and 1959 “RODGERS PERFECTION’ photos – more than just a little family resemblance there – but “I AM JOSE” is much more elevated than “Rodgers Perfection”.
2014 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION – “I AM JOSE”
1959 WORLD GRAND CHAMPION – RODGER’S PERFECTION
One can only wonder if the Tennessee Walking Horse breed had taken the direction it was heading after WWII, instead of developing an artificial “bastardized gait”, the Tennessee Walking Horse might now be “America’s Horse”, instead of “America’s Equine Outcast”.
AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOC. founded in 1940 now has 350,000 members.
TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE BREEDERS founded 1935 now has 5,500 members.
Nephew Eugene says this was a real travesty.