Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

Let’s get rid of “Big Lick” animal cruelty

Back in June, Clant Seay, the champion of sored horses, wrote a special for the Columbia Daily Herald entitled “Walking Horse competition is not sport.”

We quote liberally below:

The “Big Lick” is animal cruelty.

Native Tennessean, MTSU Horse Science professor and equine veterinarian Dr. John Haffner said, “The “Big Lick” is a pain induced gait — it is a business built on the suffering and pain of horses. 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 horses have not been sored, they do not learn it.”

Legendary Tennessee sportswriter David Climer said: “For years, many of those involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry have yearned for its competitions to be taken seriously as a legitimate sport. Blood sport, yes. Legitimate sport, no. Soring is still in common practice, and everybody knows it. Soring is a means to an end — a high-hooved prance produced via pain and abuse. An irritant is applied here, an abrasive chemical rubbed there. The sadistic trainers even develop ways to keep the tortured horse from reacting when the hoof is inspected.”

Previously Daily Herald Editor James Bennett referred to Tennessee Walking Horse shows as a “sport,” blaming the problems of the “Big Lick” on a “few greedy competitors.”

It’s not “a few bad apples; rather the entire barrel of apples is rotten”.

The “Big Lick” is no better than dog fighting and cock fighting, Seay continued. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait.

The Tennessee Walking Horse breed was hijacked about 50 years ago. It’s now time to end the “Big Lick” forever and allow the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to regain its destiny.

We couldn’t agree more.

Mr. Seay and his group, “Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty” (CCBLAC) were instrumental in the major success of H.R.693 (the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019 or the PAST Act), passing the U.S. House with a vote of 333-96.

It’s companion bill, S.1007 currently has 49 cosponsors with bipartisan support just as the House bill did.

Achieving 51 would be a majority of the Senate but this may not be enough as the bill has powerful enemies, including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and sinister Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn.

So you can see why the bill requires as many cosponsors in the Senate as we can possibly win. McConnell and Blackburn will be employing their full arsenal of tricks to defeat S.1007 and keep the “Big Lick” alive.

How You Can Help

Do you know who your two Senators are? See if they have cosponsored S.1007. If they have you are good right now, but we’ll need you again later.

For the rest of us, please make a phone call to your U.S. Senators’ offices who have not yet cosponsored S.1007. You can call them via the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or you can contact their offices directly. Look up their office numbers here.

Ask to speak to the Aide working on S.1007. Identify yourself as a constituent. State the purpose of your call —  that you wish the Senator to cosponsor S.1007, the PAST Act. Give your reasons why. We like to write our reasons down before we pick up the phone so we don’t leave anything out. Be sure you have given the Aide your contact information before you hang up.

Alternatively, you can contact your Senators’ via the email form listed in the Senate’s online directory.

Need talking points? Get them from The Horse Fund’s stakeholder’s page at Sign up with POPVOX and starting interacting with your lawmakers immediately.

Remember that we may have powerful opponents on the Hill, but we have power too. We vote our elected officials in and out of office.

5 thoughts on “Let’s get rid of “Big Lick” animal cruelty”

  1. We all need to be calling and having our our voices heard. Clant has done a great job in getting the word out to the public, yet most people have no idea what is done to these horses, when they hear about Soring take the opportunity to explain the pain and cruelty and ask them to make a phone call. I have informed numerous people and they have made that call. Soring is as bad as ever and these horses deserve a chance to live a pain free good life. Thank you Clant keep up the good work .


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