Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

Big Lick horses: Training babies

When training horses for human-imagined and -staged competitions, it often begins when the horses are very young. It is no different with sored or “Big Lick” horses and heartbreaking.

The jerky, unnatural high-stepping gait called the “Big Lick” is induced through what is called horse soring, achieved only by inflicting unconscionable pain on a horse’s lower legs and hooves during training and competition, and even when the horse is at rest in his stall (as pictured above).

Here are the opening paragraphs of a Clant Seay post about baby “Big Lick” horses. We give a short introduction below, but please feel free to go straight to the original post.

In “Living Inside the ‘Big Lick’ Bubble Part 1”, Seay writes:

Begin Quote

SPARTA, WHITE COUNTY,  TN. Mr. Jalon Foster, 28 years old, works at a “BABY HORSE” training operation — Marcom Stables — where he “starts” Tennessee Walking Horse show prospects under saddle to see IF they can perform the “BIG LICK” gait.

Marcom Stables of Sparta, TN is a “Mom and Pop” operation.  The Marcoms supervise Mr. Jalon Foster and his barn help in “starting” the “BABY HORSES” [who] range from 18 months old and up. Foster  makes a good living selling “BABY HORSES” to rich people who then vie for a 50 cent ribbon.

Mr. Jalon Foster, Trainer BOYZ – Facebook Photo.
Mr. Jalon Foster, Trainer BOYZ. Foster is the son of Bonnie and Lyndon Marcom of Marcom Stables. (Facebook Photo)

Mr. Lyndon Marcom is a former employee of “Big Lick” Walking Horse Trainers Association BOYZ President Mr. Bill Cantrell who will start serving a USDA Federal Suspension for alleged “Horse Soring” following the 2020 TN Walking Horse National Celebration.

The “Starting Process” involves putting heavy “STACK” shoes on the hooves of what Mr. Foster calls “Babies”, and then riding them with CHAINS on  their front feet to see IF they can perform the “Big Lick” gait.  Mr. Foster also uses “gimmicks” such as blinders and overchecks and tie downs — all to train the bitting and head carriage necessary for the “Big Lick”.

End Quote

Take a look at 2 year old “Big Lick” Walking Horses in competition to see what Mr Seay is referring to. All that egregious pain and suffering . . . for this.

By Clant Seay (Billy Go Boy)

There are many images of baby “Big Lick” horses at Mr Seay’s original post you must see. Warning: Not for the squeamish.

Native Tennessee MTSU Horse Science Professor Equine Vet Dr. John Haffner states unequivocally that “Big Lick” is animal cruelty —“a pain induced gait” — “a business built on the suffering and pain of horses”.

What You Can Do

H.R.693 (the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019 (or the “PAST Act”), passed the U.S. House 333-96 last year.

As of this writing, its companion bill, S.1007 currently has 51 cosponsors enjoying bipartisan support just as the House version of the bill did.

Achieving 51 is a majority of the Senate but this may not be enough as the bill has powerful enemies, in particular Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell plus the sinister Senator from Tennessee 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 keep the “Big Lick” alive.

Contact both of your U.S. Senators, either (1) thanking them for co-sponsoring and asking them to press for a vote, OR (2) asking them to cosponsor S.1007 at their earliest opportunity and press for a vote. Remind them that the House version of the bill passed 333-96, showing that the American people overwhelmingly wish for a complete end to horse soring. The bill also has bipartisan support.

Are you willing to help these horses today? Right now?

You can do it easily online in a matter of minutes. Or you may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request. Find your two U.S. Senators here.

Need talking points? See the Fund for Horses’ PopVox page. Recommended: Sign up for an individual PopVox account and weigh in on everything you wish. Your message will be delivered directly to your lawmakers — guaranteed. No kidding.

Thank you!

P.S. The Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee bill increased funding to enforce the Horse Protection Act from the current $1 million in FY2020 to $2 million in FY2021. While this sounds positive, it will not end horse soring. If $1 million for inspections failed to protect horses miserably, so will twice that.

Featured Image: HSUS.

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Related Reading

Horse Soring 2019 Year in Review »

New to this Issue?

• Visit the Fund for Horses website for our Fact Sheet, FAQs and Images »

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