CHANGE.ORG HITS OVER 5,000+ SIGNATURES – AAWHA & FOSH DECLARE VICTORY – COLUMBIA AND MAURY COUNTY BOYCOTT HORSE SHOW – LICKERS RETREAT TO SHELBYVILLE – DAILY HERALD NEWSPAPER COVERS THE STORY

COLUMBIA, TN –  On Saturday,  the “Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show” in Columbia, Tennessee became the “Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show” in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Daily Herald Editor Mr. James Bennett’s story on the former “Gulf Coast Charity  Horse Show” in Columbia appears below.   Mr. Bennett planned to cover the Horse Show Saturday,  but he never got the chance because the “Big Lick” saw “enough” and folded its tent and retreated to the Champions Arena at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration grounds.

AAWHA (All American Walking Horse Alliance) official Jeannie McGuire hit the nail on the head when she said,  The horse show is being moved to Shelbyville tonight because the “Big Lick” cannot stand the hot light of public scrutiny.”

Backing her up was this video:

And the 5,000+ Change.Org Petition signatures, asked local citizens to speak out and boycott the “Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show” on April 24 – 25.

https://www.change.org/p/erin-jaggers-executive-director-maury-county-convention-and-tourism-bureau-tom-massey-city-manager-of-columbia-tennessee-charlie-norman-mayor-of-maury-county-tennessee-speak-out-against-boycott-the-animal-cruelty-big-lick-tennessee-walking-ho

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FOSH (Friends Of Sound Horses) President Teresa Bippen – Letter To The Editor of    The Tennessean:

http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/04/23/letters-editor-economy-walking-horses-incarceration/26255161/#

Stop soring of walking horses

I am writing as president of Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization that has fought to end soring of Tennessee Walking Horses for 15 years.

Soring is the deliberate infliction of pain upon the front legs and hooves of a horse to achieve a high-stepping gait in the show ring.

Soring is animal abuse, illegal and cheating. FOSH does not believe it is in the best interests of the residents of Columbia to provide a venue for the Big Lick Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show on April 24 and 25 at the Maury County Park.

What is the “big lick”? An exaggerated, unnatural high-stepping gait of a Tennessee Walking Horse for the show ring that is achieved through soring, chains on the horse’s ankles and stacks on the bottoms of their hooves. FOSH knows a lot about the big lick and soring. We created  www.hpadata.us  (nearly 13,000 Horse Protection Act violations) and  www.stopsoring.com.

FOSH organized four Sound Horse Conferences (www.soundhorseconference.com) and held the 2014 conference in Brentwood.

At the 2014 conference, several veterinarians spoke out against the big lick and soring, including Tennessee resident John Haffner, DVM, who 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 a horse has not been sored, they do not learn it.”

In short, would Columbia residents want a dogfight at the local show grounds? Dogfighting is no different than soring.

Both are illegal animal abuse.

Teresa Bippen

President, Friends of Sound Horses

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A Rally Demonstration was held on West End Blvd. in Nashville on Thursday drew attention to the “Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show”.

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THE ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

THE ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

MR. CLAY HARLIN AND FORMER "BIG LICK" TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE TRAINER MR. CARL BLEDSOE INTERVIEWED BY HOLLY MEYER WITH THE TENNESSEAN NEWSPAPER

MR. CLAY HARLIN AND FORMER “BIG LICK” TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE TRAINER MR. CARL BLEDSOE INTERVIEWED BY HOLLY MEYER WITH THE TENNESSEAN NEWSPAPER

It was followed by another Rally Protest on Friday at the Maury County Park. where the Horse Show is being held.

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MAURY COUNTY PARK – COLUMBIA, TENNESSEECOLFRPROTEST03 COLFRPROTEST05 COLFRTHORSPORT09

The Columbia and Maury County public got the message, apparently wholeheartedly agreed,  and boycotted the “Gulf Charity Horse Show”.

No one was in the stands on Friday night.  It was raining  slightly off and on, but the public never showed up before it wasn’t  raining.

COLFREMPTY01

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Daily Editor Editor Mr.  James Bennett got it right when he said,  “The industry, crawling on its knees with two black eyes, stands on the precipice of a great comeback or a colossal collapse.”

TWHBEA Executive Committee Member  Mr. David Williams is whistling past the grave yard with his party line comments. His boss Mr. Frank Eichler has hung a “For Sale” sign on Rising Star Ranch where Mr. Williams is employed.

MR. DAVID WILLIAMS,  MANAGER OF RISING STAR RANCH OWNED BY MR. FRANK EICHLER

MR. DAVID WILLIAMS, MANAGER OF RISING STAR RANCH OWNED BY MR. FRANK EICHLER

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http://www.showcasephotographers.com/sba/index.php?sbo=ry1501212

And Mr. Williams Rising Star Ranch problems intensified when long time customer Mr.Jeff Mitchell had approximately 40+ Tennessee Walking Horse mares in foal to stallions standing at Rising Star Ranch in the latest Animal Cruelty scandal involving Tennessee Walking Horses.

MR. JEFF MITCHELL, ARRESTED ON 55 CHARGES OF AGGRAVATED ANIMAL CRUELTY

MR. JEFF MITCHELL, ARRESTED ON 55 CHARGES OF AGGRAVATED ANIMAL CRUELTY

Mr. David Williams brother, Mr. Tommy Williams was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi on assault charges for making internet threats and faces a June 18, 2015 arraignment date.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

On Saturday,  March 28, 2015,  “Gulf Coast Charity Show” Manager Mr. Todd Fisher attempted an assault on AAWHA Media Rep Clant M. Seay at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show.  On Monday, 31, 2015,   Hinds County, Mississippi Case #15-0783  was opened,  pending the identification of the alleged perpetrator.  Mr. Fisher admitted to being the perpetrator before a Maury County Deputy Sheriff at Maury County Park on Friday, April 24, 2015.    And obviously,  the pictures confirm it.

MR. TODD FISHER,  EXHIBITOR AT MISSISSIPPI CHARITY HORSE SHOW - "GULF COAST CHARITY HORSE SHOW" MANAGER

MR. TODD FISHER, EXHIBITOR AT MISSISSIPPI CHARITY HORSE SHOW – “GULF COAST CHARITY HORSE SHOW” MANAGER

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MR. TODD FISHER, “GULF COAST CHARITY HORSE SHOW” MANAGER

MR. TODD FISHER, "GULF COAST CHARITY HORSE SHOW" MANAGER

MR. TODD FISHER, “GULF COAST CHARITY HORSE SHOW” MANAGER

It is anticipated that a Hinds County, Mississippi arrest warrant will be executed in the near future for Mr. Fisher’s arrest on Assault charges.

Mr. David Williams’s TWHBEA has lost over 25% of its voting eligible members in the last 18 months,  and it refuses to provide transparency or accountability to its members by not publicly providing current numbers on::

  • Foal Registrations
  • Horse Transfers
  • Monthly membership numbers
  • Cash on Hand

TWHBEA Executive Director Tracy Boyd vamoosed giving short notice in December 2014, and Mr. Walt Chism is now serving as temporary Executive Director for the past four months.

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No horsing around: Tennessee Walking Horse industry cannot afford any more cheating

Saturday night’s events were moved to Shelbyville, home of the National Walking Horse Celebration, this year scheduled for Aug. 26-Sept. 5. The arena at Maury County Park was soaked from rain Friday night and Saturday morning, forcing show manager Todd Fisher to switch Saturday night’s competition to the indoor arena in Shelbyville.

The horses and fans were greeted by a handful of protestors in Columbia. They’ve been upset with treatment of the horses for years, especially since widespread reports of animal abuse surfaced in the media and congressional hearings.

“It had absolutely nothing to do with the protests,” Fisher said of the change of venue. “We have tables sold for people to enjoy the event with food and drinks, and we thought the weather was just too bad to keep it in Columbia on Saturday.”

The protestors were planning to present a petition to Maury County Mayor Charlie Norman and Columbia City Manager Tony Massey, saying they did not want the event in Columbia.

“The horse show is being moved to Shelbyville because the ˜Big Lick’ cannot stand the hot light of public scrutiny,” Walking Horse Alliance official Jeannie McGuire said, noting the Shelbyville arena is on private property.

The money and fame from world championships have never been overwhelming. But like in other sports such as baseball and football, there are cheaters who break the rules. Just as Pete Rose bet on baseball and Alex Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs to hit home runs, there have been shady characters through the years.

Tennessee Walking Horse supporters know they need to weed out the rule breakers, the trainers who care more about winning than the horses. Then cannot afford another misstep, in the arena or outside of it.

“We are a competitive entity, and with any competitive entity, people look for an advantage,” Walking Horse breeder David Williams of Shelbyville said. “I hope it never happens again. We are regulated and transparent. We are open to anyone who wants to inspect our horses.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society have become involved. The USDA requires inspections, and the Humane Society has put the pressure on the industry to come clean, or face sanctions such as suspensions, fines and possibly arrest.

Congress considered two bills in 2014 to outlaw some practices, but both bills died despite much fanfare and posturing.

North Carolina and Mississippi have been two states in the spotlight recently with events related to Tennessee Walking Horses. The North Carolina State Fair banned the “Big Lick” competition, and Mississippi children’s hospital disassociated itself from the group as a charity fundraiser.

Columbia stages a September competition after the National Walking Horse Celebration. It has become a source of pride for hundreds locally.

On the other hand, animals cannot decide their own fate. In the hands of unscrupulous trainers, they can be abused.

Will it stop? If not, the support will wane, and no one will care who’s world champion. The industry will continue, in the meantime, to enjoy benefit of the doubt in its backyard.

The horses are responsible for millions in economic development throughout Tennessee, with more than $38 million pouring into Shelbyville alone.

Walking horses are synonymous with Tennessee, just as thoroughbreds are to Kentucky. It’s a beautiful vision clouded by an ugly reality.

The industry, crawling on its knees with two black eyes, stands on the precipice of a great comeback or a colossal collapse.

“Our horses are better than they’ve ever been,” Williams said. “We’ll make it through this, and our sport will be better than it’s ever been.”

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James Bennett is editor of The Daily Herald. Contact him at  jbennett@c-dh.net. Follow him on twitter @jbennettcdh.

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Nephew Eugene says Mr. David Williams is wrong … again.

The USDA APHIS is enforcing the Horse Protection Act differently in 2015 than it did in 2014, but that’s a story for another day.

Radar says Mr. Bennett is exactly right – it’s going to be a colossal collapse.

And he also says “Big Lick Big Lie” sums up Mr. David Williams comment, and virtually everything else that Mr. Williams says on the TWH subject.

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