Chances of Federal Rule Abolishing “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty Takes Punch In The Gut With Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) Joining Others Asking For 60 Day Extension

THETA, TN – Media is a poppin’ all over on the story that covers when the rest of the folks are doing something else.

And as usual, brings it to you first.




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These letters reflect that the  Tennessee and Kentucky Congressional delegations,  for the most part,  have united to ask for a 60 day extension from September 26, 2016 to November 26, 2016,  for Comments on the proposed USDA Regulation to enforce the Horse Protection Act  to eliminate “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty.

The big surprise is U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s (R-TN) signed the Thursday, August 11, 2016 letter.   That was the same day that the Kelly Drye Law Firm letter on behalf of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration arrived at the USDA.    Until now,  Senator Corker has been, more or less,  neutral.   He no longer appears to be so where the elimination of the “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty is concerned.  The question is begged, what happened that caused him to change?



A lot of things can happen in 60 days, and this year,  the next President of the United States is going to be elected in 86 days on Nov. 8, 2016.

Nephew Eugene says the Lickers are desperately trying to get the USDA to the conference table,   and then negotiate some type of compromise so the Lickers can keep the Pads and Action Devices, and continue the 46 years of “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty since the Horse Protection Act was passed in 1970.

And apparently,  for whatever reason,  U. S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)  has gone along with it.


  • Will the USDA be able to withstand the Licker onslaught for the 60 day extension?


  • If the decision is left up to USDA Aphis Administrator Mr. Kevin Shea, who has been all over the place in the last four years regarding enforcement of the Horse Protection Act,  then there is not much confidence that the 60 day extension of the Federal Rule removing the “Pads and Chains”  will be denied.   Having said that, Administrator Shea did select Ms. Bernadette R. Juarez in January 2016 to enforce the Horse Protection Act, and enforce it, she has.

USDA Aphis Administrator Mr. Kevin Shea

USDA APHIS Deputy Administrator Ms. Bernadette R. Juarez

USDA APHIS Deputy Administrator Ms. Bernadette R. Juarez



  • Do “The Horses” have a chance?



  • Thanks to you, and the Good Lord, Yes.


  • WHO will be elected President of the United States on November 8, 2016?


  • You never know what horse is going to win the race,  who a woman is going to marry, or who will win a political race.  That being said, the obvious path to the Regulation abolishing “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty being made part of the Horse Protection Act is the election of Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next President of the United States due to her close relationship with US AGSEC Tom Vilsack.

If Ms. Clinton becomes President, she will appoint a Secretary of Agriculture to succeed Secretary Vilsack  who will be favorable regarding elimination of “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty and will see this matter through.   Senator Corker was being considered by Republican nominee Mr. Donald Trump as a VP choice, and Senator McConnell supports Mr. Trump and spoke at the Republican National Convention along with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

AG SEC Tom Vilsack and Presidential candidate Mr. Hillary Clinton - Photo Credit - DesMoines Register

AG SEC Tom Vilsack and Presidential candidate Mr. Hillary Clinton – Photo Credit – DesMoines Register

Nephew Eugene believes IF the USDA caves in,  and grants a 60 day extension until November 26, 2016, that will not be in the best interests of “The Horses”.

The election of Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton as  President of the United States will trump all of that.

Radar says that  “The Horses” definitely appear to be “With Her”.




Random Thoughts:

  • When Brother Roy Exum gets through “Yowling” about “Dirty Lickers” – he needs to call his Chattanooga high school buddy Bobby Corker up and find out what in Hades is going on?
  • AG Sec Tom Vilsack needs to tell Asst. Secretary for Congressional Relations  Mr. Todd Batta, to reply on behalf of Dr. Kay Carter-Corker,  and inform all the distinguished luminary signatories on the two letters starting with Senator Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr.,   and advise them that he “Hears A Train A Coming”,  and they need to get off the tracks, and there ain’t going to be no 60 day extension and the LIckers have had 46 years of Due Process.







Sohn: Lobby to stop abuse of Tennessee walking horses

August 13th, 2016

by Pam Sohn

Tell USDA what you think

“The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register July 26, 2016, and is available for public comment at!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009. It can be viewed online at Consideration will be given to comments received on or before September 26.

In less than two weeks, the annual 11-day Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is scheduled to begin in Shelbyville.

The walking horse show in recent decades has become the poster child of cruelty to animals with the onset of outrageously stacked and weighted shoeing techniques, sometimes combined with caustic chemicals. This year’s competition will be held Aug. 24 through Sept. 3.

It hasn’t always been like this. Nor does it have to stay this way.

The majestic and graceful Tennessee walking horse has been around since plantation times in the late 18th century, when farmers used smooth-gaited horses to cover lots of land quickly and comfortably. The horses had a distinct gait that was fast like a trot, but not at all jarring. Their step became known as a running-walk, and those utility horses were flat-shod, patiently trained and carried an outstanding reputation for calmness.

The first Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was in 1939, but caustic chemicals and weighted or stacked hoof devices didn’t become the short-cut training methods — called soring — until the 1950s or 1960s.

Now the resultant torturous, lurching “big-lick” is big business — especially in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Industry voices had long said that abuse was limited to just a few “bad apples” trying to make it to the big time, but in 2012, the country was shocked by video on prime-time news showing a big-timer — one-time Walking Horse Trainer of the Year Jackie McConnell — and his stablehands abusing horses in the name of “training them” to step ever higher and higher.

Many in the industry knew McConnell’s barn had been raided by federal agents during the 2011 Shelbyville event. What they didn’t know until the video debuted was that the Humane Society of the United States had hidden-camera video of the abuse. In 2013, McConnell and several of his associates pleaded guilty here in Chattanooga to federal charges. In an apology video that McConnell made as a condition of his probation, he said soring abuse is widespread in the industry.

The publicity of the McConnell case prompted activists, including Tennessee’s Priscilla Presley, to lobby Congress to pass a law ending soring for good by banning all soring devices, including stacked shoes, pads, chains and foreign substances at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions.

But the horse industry and its supporters are strong and moneyed. Their lobbying stalled the legislation in committees.

None of Tennessee’s Republican leadership would support the bill, and some — including Sen. Lamar Alexander — sponsored a watered-down industry-led bill that masqueraded as reform but in reality maintains the status-quo.

Last month, the Obama administration’s U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed rule changes to its enforcement of the Horse Protection Act that would effectively eliminate soring by banning the soring devices. In addition, a branch of the USDA would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing veterinarians and veterinarian educators as horse inspectors. Those inspectors would replace industry-approved lay inspectors.

This week, a hearing on the proposal drew hundreds to Murfreesboro, Tenn., and it’s clear that the proposal faces a long and uphill fight. Predictably, horse trainers complained the proposed regulation would destroy their industry and put them out of business.

That’s hardly true. The industry will suffer more (and has) thanks to the face it gives itself with this horrible abuse — a fact made clear by continually falling show attendance.

Horse lovers will always love and pay highly for true Tennessee walking horses — the ones that walk naturally and smoothly, thanks to traditional flat-shod and patient training methods. This breed was showy long before chemicals and over-sized hooves degraded its graceful walk.

Trainers would do themselves and these horses a favor by returning the breed to its graceful roots.”

August 12, 2016–The-Lick.aspx

Roy Exum: Transparency & The ‘Lick’

Friday, August 12, 2016 – by Roy Exum

Roy Exum

The disgraceful “Dirty Lick” crowd of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry already knows its one-way ticket on the next Titanic has all but been punched. The Obama administration, by virtue of an executive order, is on an iceberg course to rid the scandalous industry of pads, action devices and pressure shoes that – always combined with clearly sadistic soring — force the helpless breed to lift their excruciatingly painful forelegs in a grotesque manner so the horses will do an unnatural dance called “The Big Lick.”

Understand, the majority of Congress and the Senate have co-sponsored pending legislation to alter the Horse Protection Act, but with the “Dirty Lick” heavily contributing to every Republican congress member and senator in the state where the illegal torture is most abused and most overlooked, let’s just say cash often can make our government a huge joke.

Tennessee Republicans can’t be bought, it is said, but you can rent them short or lease them long, dependent on your whim.

Earlier this week a textbook chapter on gamesmanship went on a five-hour parade in Murfreesboro. The USDA held a hearing over the proposed changes towards decency and the Dirty Lickers acted exactly as everyone hoped – the government officials were slighted, yelled down, mocked, accused, berated, insulted, and scorned by the loathsome cheaters in a way not a one of the slime will ever get to heaven.

My lands, it was worse than a Trump riot and exactly what the Obama regime wanted in order to serve a “very cold” dish of revenge when the outgoing president hands the Tennessee Republicans the biggest back-handed slap the horsemen of the world could ever hope for. (Wake up, Dilbert, the Dirty Lick is simply Obama’s ideal messenger, especially with the GOP so deeply mired in the muck.)

Now, in the name of “open transparency,” I am going to show you exactly how blatantly stupid those who represent you in Washington truly are. This will also illustrate how amazingly naïve they believe Mr. Obama and his crowd are, this after the Democrats have led those who should have been representing us for the last 7 ½ years around by their pointy little earlobes.

Far worse — and here is the key – these same callous Republicans are trying to get re-elected on what? This Tuesday, November 8th of course, why do you ask?

Just this: what you are getting ready to read just appeared in the dirty lick’s newsletter, “The Walking Horse Report.” Published by Dirty Lick czar David Howard, let me share this missive exactly as it appeared but, just like the Obama administration most assuredly will, keep the date November 8th in the back of your mind because it is the one thing you won’t see in Howard’s cunning notice:

“The USDA proposed a rule to amend the Horse Protection Act on July 26, 2016.  The rule would devastate the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, along with the Racking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse and other related breeds.  The proposed rule would eliminate Horse Industry Organizations and put in place a system of USDA certified and licensed inspectors driving the cost up substantially on show management.  The rule would also ban the use of pads, action devices and hoof bands.

“Because of the devastating nature of the rule to the citizens and economies of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, representatives of those states sent a request to USDA seeking a 60-day extension to the comment period.  The current comment period ends on September 26, 2016.  If the extension were granted by USDA, the comment period would go through November 26, 2016. (Wink! Wink!) The letter also stated as a reason for the request, ‘APHIS had little, if any, contact, with members of the industry in an effort to develop the proposed rules before their publication.’”

“The members (of Congress) signing the letter included Scott DesJarlais, Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black, John Duncan, Stephen Fincher, Phil Roe and Chuck Fleischmann from Tennessee.  Andy Barr and House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers signed on from Kentucky and Bob Goodlatte did so from Virginia.”

That, my friend, is the most transparent and the most damning document the Dirty Lick could possibly devise and the most embarrassing collection of signatures before any general election in the state’s history.

Sit down with your pre-schooler and you neighbor’s kindergarten twins and say, “Do you think the USDA will give Obama six weeks before the election to prepare and sign the Executive Order or do you think POTUS will walk around in the Rose Garden until 2 ½ weeks after the election? Hmmmm?” My merciful Father in heaven!

To assert the APHIS has had “little, if any contact” with the Dirty Lick is absolutely ludicrous – how about at every big horse show where the USDA sees clear and irrefutable evidence of constant and continued soring.

The Lickers, in open defiance and with repulsive disregard for the horse, have had a Civil War relationship with the federal Horse Protection Act keepers since it was penned in 1970. The whole of the United States has watched aghast as the abuse of the Tennessee Walker, much aided by Tennesseans who literally sit in Congress we have since learned, has become the biggest blight in the nation whenever animal cruelty is mentioned in any way.

So, yes sir, Mr. Obama will receive the loudest cheers of his two terms in the White House when he signs the most deserved Executive Order this nation and its most heralded horse has ever deserved, just as the cheaters deserve all and more that can and hopefully will befall them.

But try to answer me this without cracking up: Do you really … really think ole Chuck Fleischmann, the despicable DesJarlais, and the other Republicans with the dark hearts are going to slide a 60-day extension past the Obama crowd? To hear it told, the GOPs have proven time and time again in recent years to be mere amateurs going up against the White House professionals.

What millions of sound horse lovers  wouldn’t give to see Barack Obama do the Dirty Lick in on his way out. If only we could whip some of the money-changers out with him ….


August 11, 2016

Priscilla Presley campaigns against ‘soring’

Michael Collins, USA TODAY 10:57 a.m. CDT August 11, 2016

WASHINGTON – Priscilla Presley fell in love with Tennessee Walking Horses when her husband at the time, legendary singer Elvis Presley, bought a pair of the horses to keep at Graceland, his 13-acre estate in Memphis.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Presley discovered the ugly truth behind the beauty of the breed’s high-stepping gait: Some trainers put chains, foot pads, even caustic chemicals on the horses’ legs and hooves to make their natural high step even more pronounced and give them an advantage at horse shows.

“It’s barbaric – it’s absolutely barbaric,” said Presley, who was married to the rock-‘n’-roll king for six years before their divorce in 1973. “I don’t know of one kind-hearted person who has seen this and could go on to one of these shows knowing what is being done to these beautiful, beautiful animals.”

Her own horses weren’t subjected to the practice, but Presley’s revulsion on learning about it would add another line to a resume that already included actress, designer and businesswoman. Now, she’s an animal-rights activist on a crusade to end the controversial practice known as “soring.”


Public hearing to examine proposed crackdown on horse soring

The practice is illegal, but some trainers continue to use it on Tennessee Walking Horses and similar breeds. Presley and other activists have been lobbying Congress to pass a law to end soring for good. The legislation has stalled, in large part because of strong resistance from the horse industry and its supporters.

But the Obama administration may be on the verge of doing what Congress won’t.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in July it’s proposing changes to an existing federal law, the Horse Protection Act, that would effectively eliminate the practice.

One change would ban all soring devices, including stacked shoes, pads, chains and foreign substances, at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions. Chemicals used for soring already are banned from such events under federal law, but chains, hoof bands and other devices are not.

In addition, the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors. The new trainers would be veterinarians and veterinarian educators.

Presley was so horrified by the soring practice that she decided in late 2013 to end the Graceland Challenge Trophy award at the nation’s premier walking horse competition in Shelbyville, Tenn. The trophy had been awarded since 1983. (Photo: John Partipilo / File / The Tennessean)

Right now, the horse industry is responsible for training its own inspectors to look for evidence of soring. But critics say the self-policing system is ineffective because the inspectors are employees of horse-show organizations and are often exhibitors themselves, a conflict of interest that leaves them with no incentive to find violations.

Hundreds of people attended a hearing on the proposed changes in Murfreesboro on Tuesday. Horse trainers complained the proposed regulations would destroy their industry and put them out of business.

Presley, who said she’s hoping to attend a similar hearing next week in Sacramento, doesn’t accept the trainers’ argument that eliminating soring would leave them with worthless or almost worthless horses.

“That reveals how little they understand and appreciate the natural beauty of the Tennessee Walking Horse,” she said.

Presley still owns two Tennessee Walking Horses, which she stables at Graceland. She said she first learned about soring a few years ago when she was approached by Keith Dane, a senior adviser to the Humane Society of the United Sates, which has been working for years to end the practice.

“I could not believe this went on,” she said.


Groups look to Obama to end ‘soring’ for Tennessee Walking Horses

Presley was so horrified that she decided in late 2013 to end the awarding of the Graceland Challenge Trophy at the nation’s premier walking horse competition, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. The trophy had been awarded since 1983.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, is a lead sponsor of the anti-soring bill in Congress. Presley said she’s disappointed that other members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation haven’t gotten on board.

She’s especially critical of Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Republican from South Pittsburg, Tenn., who is pushing legislation to create a new horse inspection system but would keep it under the jurisdiction of a single horse industry organization. Opponents say the bill masquerades as reform but would do nothing to change the status quo.

“It’s pathetic,” Presley said of the bill.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. (Photo: Helen Comer / Gannett Tennessee)

“I believe he has done very little in Congress,” she said of DesJarlais. The legislation he’s pushing calls his integrity into question and shows his lack of compassion, she said.

DesJarlais defended his bill in a statement, saying he’s worked with regulatory agencies and the horse industry to establish clear standards to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse while preserving the Tennessee tradition. The statement noted the horse’s cultural significance to the state and to DesJarlais’ congressional district.

“I am pleased with the great strides the Tennessee Walking Horse industry has made and believe we are seeing some very positive results,” DesJarlais said. “Of course, I welcome an opportunity to meet with anyone who has an interest in the Tennessee Walking Horse and would be happy to speak with Mrs. Presley to hear her thoughts and ideas.”

Presley said she hopes the new anti-soring regulations will be put in place before Obama leaves office in January.

The law “needs to be changed, and it needs to be done soon,” she said.”

Front Porch - Hilltop Market - Theta, Tennessee

Front Porch – Hilltop Market – Theta, Tennessee