JACKSON, MS – When the University of Mississippi Medical Center Blair E. Batson Childrens Hospital (favorite charity of the Archie Manning Family) pulled the plug on “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty in 2015, it was a turning point.
Until then, people in Mississippi’s Capitol City didn’t look hard at the annual “Big Lick” horse show – they just knew it made an annual financial contribution to the Childrens Hospital. Once Mississippians knew what went on down at the Fairgrounds, and it could hurt the beloved University and its treasured Childrens Hospital, the public outrage resulted in a decision for the Childrens Hospital to never accept another dime generated by Animal Cruelty.
It was made in seven days, and the “Big Lick” hasn’t been the same since. Frankly, the “Lickers” never saw it coming, and then couldn’t understand it when it did.
To set the record straight, the leading families of Jackson, Mississippi founded the Mississippi Charity Horse Show in the 1930s. They were equestrians, and never dreamed that endemic Animal Cruelty would besmirch their beloved horses show.
The crowd gathering in Jackson this week has nothing in common with those men and women who loved horses, and started the Jackson Horse Show.
As witnessed by the empty seats at the Fordice Center on Friday night, there is no longer any semblance of public support for the “Big Lick”.
FRIDAY, APR. 1, 2016 – FORDICE EQUINE CENTER – MISS. STATE FAIRGROUND
The Friday night horse show started shortly after 6:00 p.m. and ended a little after 11:00.
In the last class, accomplished horse show organist, Mr. Larry Bright, played “Dixie” as the “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horses went “Running Walk” one last time. Make no doubt about it, just like the strains of dear old Dixie, the “Big Lick” is dying, slowly, but surely.
Society has changed, and the searing image of Animal Cruelty now defines the “Big Lick” and all who still cling to it. The “Big Lick” days are numbered. The WHOA (Walking Horse Owners Association) and FOSH (Friends of Sound Horses) have shown that there is a way forward for the Tennessee Walking Horse breed that does not include pads and chains.
The past is the future, if you will.
About 53 years ago, this very same real estate on the Mississippi Fairgrounds witnessed another change in society and the established order of things, when the civil rights struggle was playing out. At that time at the annual Carnival Ball held at the Jackson MunIcipal Auditorium, the debutantes were escorted by young men dressed in Confederate regalia, and the band played Dixie. When the civll rights changes came, stockades were built, not far from the Fordice Equine Center, to house civil rights workers who protested for the right to vote and integration of public schools. NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated by a cowardly sniper in 1963, and in 1964 the Freedom Riders came to Mississippi. They were housed like “Big Lick” horses in those temporary stockade enclosures.
PANAMA CITY BEACH GULF COAST HORSE SHOW FOUNDER – MS MARTHA “SISTER” BLACKMON-MILLIGAN OF PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA
Ms. Sister Milligan’s Four Horses Showing On Friday Night:
- Dixie Majorette – 2nd Charlie Green (Leading HPA Violation Citations) Up (Three Year Old Mares/Geldings – RC (Riders Cup)
- Its High Maintenance – 2nd Charlie Green – Three Year Old Stallions – RC
- C Me Push – 7th of 7th – “Sister” Milligan – 15.2 & Under Mares/Geldings
- Paroled From Hard Time – 2nd Charlie Green – 15.2 & Under Stallion – RC
Then to top it all off, Ms. Milligan exhibited a Paso Fino Horse.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016 – “BIG LICK” SCENES FROM THE FORDICE EQUINE CENTER AT THE MISSISSIPPI STATE FAIRGROUNDS IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
SHOW MANAGER MR. ROBERT TAYLOR TELLS LICKERS THAT USDA VETS AND CELEBRATION SHOW HIO INSPECTORS ARE WORKING HARMONIOUSLY
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016 (NIGHT TWO)
- 26 Total Classes – 90 Horses
- 19 “Big Lick” Classes – 71 Horses (3.75 Horse Average)
- 7 NON “Big Lick” Classes – 19 Horses (2.70 Average)
There were 208 Ribbons available in 26 classes on Friday night.
And 118 of them went unclaimed.
Nephew Eugene says Saturday night beckons.