WVLT-TV reports that American Horse Trainer Monty Roberts has reaffirmed his commitment to end soring as Tennessee Walking Horse events prepare to resume.
Soring is the act of intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait.
Roberts, known as “the man who listens to horses,” has been teaching others a natural, non-violent method of training horses.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Larry Edwards, Hall of Fame Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, said. “That filly started out scared to death, trying to climb over the pen and when he finished with her, she was as gentle as she could be.”
Join Monty Roberts
On July 25, 2019, the United States Congress passed H.R.693 — The PAST Act — 333-96. The PAST Act abolishes the use of “stack and chains”, central to horse soring.
This victory marks the first time Congress has moved to strengthen laws against soring since the practice was first banned.
The Senate version of bill has yet to make it to the floor for a vote. Vivian Farrell of the Fund for Horses urges everyone to please join Monty Roberts in pressing for the passage of S.1007.
“Senators Mitch McConnell and Marsha Blackburn will be employing their full arsenal of tricks to defeat S.1007 and keep the “Big Lick” alive.
They can be defeated, but it will “take a nation”. We are that “nation”.
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. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait. Horses do not have a voice, so we protest for them until “Big Lick” animal cruelty no longer exists.
Horse soring is the intentional infliction of excruciating pain on a horse’s front hooves and lower legs causing them to “snatch up” their front legs in an exaggerated gait called the “Big Lick” prized in Tennessee Walking Horse competitions. It is a vicious and ugly business.
These highly painful treatments are applied not only on competition days, but also throughout the horse’s entire competitive career.
The article opens with:
Have you seen See My Magic?
The 13 year-old Tennessee Walking Horse named See My Magic whose handling outraged horse lovers around the world, was calmly loaded into a trailer behind a pickup truck and driven to an undisclosed location last week on the morning of April 4th, neighbors report. Pierce County Animal Control, which has been involved in this case since 2012, would not give any details.
The chestnut-colored horse had been locked in a stall for at least two years wearing angled performance shoes several inches high, according to owner Ted Taylor of unincorporated Pierce County near Roy, Washington. Animal News Northwest first reported this story in January 2016.
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When See My Magic‘s story broke online, it created a furious storm across the country through every social media outlet available. Online fundraisers, together with private donors, pitched in and raised more than $20,000 in an attempt to buy the See My Magic‘s freedom. The owner would not sell, couldn’t sell — the horse himself being the evidence of the owner’s laundry list of criminal abuses.
Not surprisingly while all this was going on, the horse’s owner, Pierce County Animal Control, and local and national Tennessee Walking Horse associations remained predictably silent.
“Through it all,” the report states, “See My Magic continued standing — silent and isolated — in his stall, occasionally peering out through the barred window at the rainy world beyond.”
The Dodo reported that See My Magic had not been out of his stall “for years”.
“We suspect the horse has been in the stall for more than three years and possibly even four years without ever having been let outside,” animal activist Nicki Callahan, who lives about 50 miles away in Seattle, told The Dodo.
Suddenly, on Sunday, April 3rd, See My Magic was loaded up and driven off, never to be seen or heard of again.
What happened to See My Magic? Our guess is he was likely killed or sent to slaughter. Dead horses leave a trail. Slaughtered horses do not. They are turned into meat and other products. So slaughter would be a highly useful way for the horse’s now highly notorious owner to get rid of him.
See My Magic was living, breathing evidence of Ted Taylor’s illegal activities and law enforcement’s failure to enforce the law.
Horse soring is not just about the abuse and suffering of walking horses competing for ribbons in show rings. It is about the ongoing mental and physical suffering from beginning to end, during training and competition.
There is a bill pending before Congress, the PAST Act of 2019, that will stop horse soring dead in its tracks. It has passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House 333-96. It now needs to pass the Senate — an even sterner challenge — difficult but not impossible task, with your help.
Will you give 10 to 15 minutes of your time right now to contact both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor S.1007 (the PAST Act of 2019) to help Tennessee Walking Horses and put an end to the abominable practices associated with horse soring?
You can do it online very easily in a few easy steps: 1. Draft your message, 2. Find your two U.S. Senators’ contact forms online, 3. Copy and paste your message into the message box. 4. Hit send!
Your message should include, “Please cosponsor and commit yourself to voting for S.1007, the PAST Act of 2019, which will eliminate horse soring, an abusive, highly painful and sometimes crippling training regimen, used to exaggerate an already naturally, beautiful high stepping gait, for competitions.”
Some senators post e-mail addresses on their websites while others post comment forms. When sending e-mail to your senator, please include your return postal mailing address. It identifies you as a constituent.
Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.
In a commentary published on June 10, 2019 in The Daily Herald Newspaper of Columbia, TN, CCABLAC (Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) Founder Clant M. Seay writes concerning flagrant horse soring in Tennessee Walking Horse competitions:
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. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait. There was no truce over Civil Rights in America, nor will there be a truce over “Big Lick” animal cruelty. Horses do not have a voice, so we protest for them until the “Big Lick” animal cruelty no longer exists.
More recently, in a post published on September 11, 2019, Seay informs us:
ALL top three Celebration Trainer BOYZ — Mr. Rodney Dick, Mr. Herbert Derickson and Mr. Gary Edwards — are about to go on USDA Federal Suspension for alleged “HORSE SORING” (“Big Lick” Animal Cruelty to ‘Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horses), along with the Walking Horse Trainers Association “Trainer Of The Year”, Mr. Phillip Trimble, it sure looks like the whole bowl is chock full of “bad apples”.
Seay had already reported Dick’s suspension:
World Grand Champion “Big Lick” Trainer BOYZ Mr. Rodney Dick upholds “Tennessee Tradition” of going on the USDA federal suspension list for alleged “horse soring” shortly after the conclusion of this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
In the face of the continued failure of the current law to effectively protect the Tennessee Walking Horse from soring, how can the U.S. Senate fail to pass current legislation that will effectually end it?
A U.S. Senator (possibly more than one; the Clerk wouldn’t specify) has put a “hold” on S.1007 in order to prevent the bill from getting a vote. 60 Senators are required to invoke cloture, a procedure used to break a hold and get a bill its rightful vote by the full Senate.
Action to Take
Type up what you want to say. Go to Senate.gov and find your two Senators. If you don’t know who they are there’s a drop down box where you can sort by State. Click on their links to go to their pages. Click on the email link. Copy and paste your message. Send.
Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You will need to know your Senators’ names before calling.
Speak from the heart. This will impress your lawmakers more than anything else. If you have any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask us in comments below.
The House version of this bill passed 333-96 due to your participation and hard work. Let’s rid these horses of the extreme cruelty of soring.
FEATURED IMAGE Rodney Dick competing in the 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration on this year’s 2019 Grand Champion, I’m Mayhem. Photographer Unknown.