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”.
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.
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.
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.
* * * *
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.