Tennessee Walking Horse industry goes on the offensive

by HEIDI HALL

Cross-posted from The Tennessean

Tennessee Walking Horse peers from his stall.  HSUS image.
Tennessee Walking Horse peers from his stall. Inspections abound at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration event in Shelbyville, Tennessee. HSUS image.

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is going on the offensive this week after disputes with federal inspectors at the Celebration, the industry’s premier event.

U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians are in Shelbyville, Tenn., checking competing horses for signs they’ve been intentionally injured to induce their unique gait. Frequently during the competition — including on at least five occasions this morning alone — USDA veterinarians have cited horses when local inspectors and an independent veterinarian found no signs of injury.

Tonight, the face of the walking horse industry’s reform effort collected a bilateral soring citation. Shelbyville trainer Winky Groover recently appeared in several newspapers and television reports explaining what’s being done to clean up walking horse shows. Read full report >>

Image not filed with original report.

6 thoughts on “Tennessee Walking Horse industry goes on the offensive”

  1. The whole big lick industry it dirty to the core. Just because you have a group of hired barn hands do your dirty work for you or pretend it doesnt happen because you don’t see it makes it okay is totally not okay. That is why the owners and others affiliated with the training in any way need to be convicted. As a owner you are responsible to see what and who is doing to your horse, go watch what your ferrier does to your horses feet. Visit you horse at night sometimes unexpected, especially during show season or right before a show. I bought a horse from good ole Winky Groover, which was on suspension back 6 years ago, the horse was a beautiful Black Walking horse with lot of heart. He packed a big lick, we found out within 6 weeks the inside of the track how people treat legs with burn agent to keep horses from cracking and hair loss. They were really nice to explain the craziness to us. We found out quick he had bad scarring and what we should continue to do to keep him in the show ring. We turned that beautiful big lick into a real horse without pain anymore too him. He had contracted heels, a band that was soring him when tightned down, a spring to keep his contracted heels from contracting anymore that was soring him and screws placed very well hidden when he starts pounding to make even more pain. We found this in our first ferrier service and took it all off. Took him about a year to turn to a normal horse and still after 6 years does not have very good feet because of the abuse. I was offered $10,000 dollars for him at that time but was not in any way permit someone else to continue the abuse he was use too. I rallied against the abuse 6 years ago and am glad finally things are being done. My horse is a beautiful sprited boy who is still has a champions heart without the pain. This is a money making industry for lawyers, polititions, all the horses owners, trainers, barns and many people in high power who do not wany to lose the things they gain from this big lick industry. They need to be burned, beat up, shocked and left to die to see how it feels. Shame on you big lick supporters to defend this just because you are too dumb, too money hungry, or too stupid to believe or go see for yourself. Impossible for a horse to naturally put most of his weight on his back legs and squat, impossible without soring in some way, are you all just too ignorant to understand the anatomy of a horse. Read up on it people. Guess what, The ones that got thru the inspections for the big lick at the Celebration this year found some way around by paying someone off or hiding the soring somehow, that is a problem. There are people still cheering for abuse because they don’t understand what that horse represents in the ring or don’t believe. We have got to stop it somehow and take them all down all the way up the ladder. We need more hidden videos everywhere like the dea and fbi come in on drug problems, these are people that need to be treated the same and put in jail. They will be taking these things off the horses for now because after the big shows they give the hoof a breathing period to heal until they start training in the early spring and the whole process starts all over again. We need to keep the pressure on and more and more evidence to bring the big lick abuse away for now and always. How is it possible that all the suspensions keep piling up and you still see all the trainers and owners are still around. They need jail time not suspensions, they have had suspension after suspension for as far as I know over 5 years now, how is that possible for them to still be able to operate in the industry at all. How did Winky get back after all his supensions, that is crazy. Let’s don’t forget that only the strong survive, there is another whole group of young walking horses that are not strong enough to make the circuit from the suffering or cannot perform enough or quick enough. They get sold, slaughtered or go on to have problems until they die too from complications from the abuse they went thru. These are the unforgotten we can’t see and are done in at 2 years old or earlier, shame on you. This needs to be a federal offense with federal imprisionment and federal ways to investigate. USDA needs more help to stop this by the federal Government to end it for now on.

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  2. Yes VG I know it was undercover exactly my point if you had nothing to hide you wouldn’t care…..My point is the Walking Horse Trainers hide so much and I know that from being around the barns…They are ruthless, underhanded and evil people…So I won’t need to pack my bags anytime soon I’m sure!

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  3. The video taken of the soring and beating of those Tennessee Walkers by the HSUS was taken undercover, not just walking up and knocking on the door or by invitation. So, no, highly doubtful you will be receiving any invitations. Sounds like a great friend to have along though if you did.

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  4. Thank you VG ……..Not that I’ll have any open invitations but I would take a Police Officer friend that rides on a mounted division and a video camera…. If one has nothing to hide I’m sure we would be welcome….Not expecting that to happen anytime soon what do you think?

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  5. Well said, Peggy. And right on point. I agree. I would be surprised if you received an invitation. If you do, take someone you know and trust with you.

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  6. Thank God they cited the “SPOKESPERSON” Winky Groover cited in 2005 and trying to hide things in 2012…….Give us a break as to think you’ve changed ……….I hope they nail every last one of the Trainers and Owners……..I just can’t believe that Winky Groover or any of the Trainers has had this awakening to “CLEAN up there ACT” Like an addict that continues to relapse ……..Guarantee when the trainers don’t WIN or PLACE guess what they will go back to….You guessed it soring and whatever else it takes…….I say good for the USDA…. STOP it from the Start…….How crazy to have a Spokesperson that has been known to do what all of the others do………CRAZY, INSANE!!!!!……..Get a Spokesperson with Horses that show natural and Flat Shod and Honest ….Not a Greedy ,Money Hungry, Known Trainer that has been cited in the past….I keep forgetting Winky Groover says he doesn’t take part in any soring practices but I’m sure he has other people do it for him ……….That’s how he can claim he has learned his lesson it’s a play on words……..I challenge any Walking Horse Trainer to allow someone like myself to spend several weeks following them around and watching every move they make from start to finish and putting cameras throughout their barn video surveillance would be great…..I’m sure I won’t have many invitations!!!!!!!!!

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