Exaggerated gait of Tennessee Walker gotten through the abusive practices of horse soring.

Pepsi drops Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration sponsorship

ABC News Reports:

Exaggerated gait of Tennessee Walker gotten through the abusive practices of horse soring.
Exaggerated gait of Tennessee Walker gotten through the abusive practices of horse soring.
    In the wake of an ABC News investigation revealing extreme animal cruelty, Pepsi has canceled its sponsorship of the annual Tennessee Walking Horse championship, the Celebration.

    The discontinuation of the relationship was “effective immediately,” according to Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco. The company said its logo was removed Wednesday from the Celebration website, prior to the broadcast of the ABC News report on “Nightline.”

    The report featured undercover video made by the Humane Society of the United States that showed one of the top trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, Jackie McConnell, beating and torturing horses in his stables outside Memphis.

More on this story, video >>

13 thoughts on “Pepsi drops Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration sponsorship”

  1. And Lisa…I agree with every single thing you posted. I cried uncontrollably watching that beautiful precious horse being beaten. It broke my heart into a million pieces watching the sheer horror on his poor beautiful face. I hope that sub-human who calls himself a trainer gets plenty of Jailtime, and fined into the thousands! I am still reeling over this.


  2. I’m soooooo happy that Pepsi stepped up to the bat and backed out of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. I am hoping that Coke will follow suit and drop their support of the cruel and inhumane rodeo coming up in Cheyenne.


  3. Subject: Please ” clean up” this sport

    I’m very pleased and proud of Pepsi ‘s decision to pull their corporate sponsorship from the annual ” TN Walking  Horse Celebration” in Shelbyville, TN . I have been a longtime resident  and have never found a reason to ” celebrate” the abuse and torture of such lovely animals. Although each equine discipline has their share of bad apples, the walking horse/gaited community is by far one of the most notorious for its barbaric practices in the name of “sport”. I have always thought it ironic that the breed was named ” walking horse” as many of the horses in that show industry/training program can hardly stand and are usually crippled  and maimed for life.

    While I recognize that the Shelbyville community and otherwise responsible horse owners/ trainers will suffer as a result of not having Pepsi as a sponsor, it may pressure all those law  abiding and responsible   horse owners/trainers  to “police” eachother and treat everyone as guilty until  proven innocent in this out of control situation!

    A big thank you to the HSUS for bringing  a sad reality to light  once again. Im sure it was not easy to gather evidence and be a part of such an atrocity. Again, thank you to Pepsi for being brave enough to take a stand and withdraw corporate sponsorship for this event. Pepsi has shown some corporate responsibility on their part. I have always been a coca-cola girl myself but I think I may give Pepsi another try! And for what it’s worth,  Pepsi stock just went up in my book!

    Shelly Walker
    Franklin, TN


  4. Damn you Jackie McConnell!! How dare you abuse horses like that! I hope someone takes a cattle prod to you so you know what it feels like. Scum like you give this breed a bad reputation that it doesn’t deserve. Somehow I believe you’ll pay for this crime. What you do is NOT training. It’s abuse. I call it as I see it and your actions are ABUSE! The film footage on Nightline made me physically sick.


  5. The breeders, trainers and everyone connected with these horses have always known about the cruelty. It’s went on for so long it’s a way of life so all of them look every place except confronting the cruelty and stopping it. I hope from now on at every T. Walker horse show there is large crowds carrying signs demanding this sport be shut down. As we all know every horse that ends up crippled because of the injuries from this cruelty is sold out the backdoor to slaughter.


  6. (Apologies in advance, Vivian; this may be a long one…)

    I watched all of that video I could stomach and am left with impotent and undirected RAGE.

    How, in the name of all that is Holy, is this considered ‘sport’ or ‘training’?

    There HAS to be some recognition of horses as the athletes they are otherwise they would be as theoretically useless in events of this nature as cows. And yet, in all of these events – gaiting, steeplechase, racing, showing, dressage – some asshat of a human thinks he can improve on Nature with brutality, torture or drugs.

    Does anyone remember the story of Phar Lap – a homely Thoroughbred racer from the 1920’s who almost literally had the heart of a giant? His althleticism was so pronounced, he was literally weighted down to slow him down. Yet they could not slow him nor stop him from winning.

    Where the hell is the pride in owning one of these glorious animals chosen for their visual appeal and natural abilities? And where the hell is the pride of knowing your horse has won – not because you burned him or beat the sh*t out of him – but because he sought to please you?

    I have a friend – a cowboy who exhibits his horses in roping events. And he is the last person – gruff, Old West, swaggering – you would ever think capable of ‘baby talk’, but that is what he does. His horses are bonded to him, nuzzling him and whickering in his ears and this man simply smiles and asks, “Do you love Daddy?” And they do. He is a winner, not because he brutalizes his horses but because he treats them kindly and they DO for him because they WANT to.

    Isn’t that exactly what we strive for ?

    Governing bodies of these events have lost sight of the mission – showcasing the NATURAL talents and abilities of the animals themselves. That they look away, cover up or bluster publicly about how these incidents are ‘rarities’ is shameful. Shameful! There is no talent involved in a Walker that steps high because his ankles are burned, an Arabian mare carrying her tail high because she has ginger on her anus, a Thoroughbred running fast because his blood is the consistency of water from Lasix.

    And this is NOT competition. A TRUE horseman or woman doesn’t need artifice to be accomplished, nor does a natural athlete like the Horse.

    I’m left to grieve that Walker on the video – the one beaten in the crossties. When his career as a competitor is over, where will he go? Having had what should have been the best portion of his life stolen from him, who will he ever trust not to hurt him? Without a human with great patience and a willingness to reach him inside his broken mind, that dear Horse will become fodder for the meat grinder.

    Damn these people. Damn them all.


    1. Lisa, I love your comments, so please never, ever worry about length.

      The art of horsemanship is dying, or has just about died, which is tragic for everyone.

      It is difficult to fathom that the owners have no idea, but there are always some who will claim they did not. If they did not, then they are irresponsible owners and should be thrown out of whatever sport, and not allowed to “own” or compete horses.


  7. That louse (Mc Connell) should spend the next 20 years of his life in prison- and have blistering agents applied to his feet every day. Good for Pepsi! I’m proud to drink it! What I have to wonder at is, did the owners know about the torment their horses went through, and did they actually condone it????


  8. I know plenty Tennessee Walkers, One in particular , although i am not a trainer, she was not ever trained , we bonded she would do anything I asked her to do !!!!!


  9. Bravo for Pepsi !!!! There is and never was any excuse to beat or torture Horses…………… Pepsi made a good choice, dont be a party to this kind of Horror…….but Pepsi should also make the statement publicly why they pulled out !!!!!!! Jackie MC Connell should be ashamed of himself !!!!! He is a coward !!!!! It shows what kind of trainer he he is, any good qualified trainer who knows horses would never beat or torture a horse , he would just ask !!!!!


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