The Tennessee Walking Horse

utfantilidie

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There is nothing prettier than the Tennessee Walking Horse and I have been to shows and saw them cantering around Neyland in the 70's. I know people that worked horses and seems like the soring by some trainers anyway sent that into a tailspin imo.
 

JRich

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I own a Walker (along with others) and am involved in the local equine community. @IPorange is correct. Soring is how you get the "big lick" gait, and although efforts are finally being taken to eliminate the process, it still occurs and owners try to mask or disguise evidence of it during competitions. If UT wishes to use one in their pregame, it would be worth the effort to get one that has not been trained by barbaric methods.
 

HarsinVol

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I own a Walker (along with others) and am involved in the local equine community. @IPorange is correct. Soring is how you get the "big lick" gait, and although efforts are finally being taken to eliminate the process, it still occurs and owners try to mask or disguise evidence of it during competitions. If UT wishes to use one in their pregame, it would be worth the effort to get one that has not been trained by barbaric methods.
Thank you for that, I got an asschewing in another thread for even mentioning this cruelty.
 

FCTA

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We, at Tennessee, need to remember that the Tennessee Walking Horse is not only a horse but a symbol of alumininum bats, tarps, bicycle chains, bleeding sides from spurs, horses trying to hide in the corners of their stalls, horses that require two people pulling and two people beating to get the horses out of their stalls, gag bits used on horses whose mouths have the corners cut with a pocket knife, all the above mentioned hoof/pattern abuse. Violence, just like we love it!

If we ban that Prancing Puddle of Misery from our sidelines, if the sore traveling horses are not rewarded, this practice will soon end. People might stop supporting the sore shows.

Middle Tennessee will collapse entirely into the State Of Alabama!

Quite frankly, there is very little positive to say about an industry that has been run - including the inspections and judging - by trainers and their big owners, and is as infected, rotten and inflamed as a pus-filled boil that needs to be lanced, cleaned out, disinfected and healed.

Certainly, we, at UT, do not need to pile on the unfortunates!
When your family has raised, trained, fed, and stayed up cold nights taking care of the horses, have won numerous world championships then you may speak.
 

FCTA

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I own a Walker (along with others) and am involved in the local equine community. @IPorange is correct. Soring is how you get the "big lick" gait, and although efforts are finally being taken to eliminate the process, it still occurs and owners try to mask or disguise evidence of it during competitions. If UT wishes to use one in their pregame, it would be worth the effort to get one that has not been trained by barbaric methods.[/QUOTE
 
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Brave Volunteer

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Easy fix. We don't need variety, Simply select a single trainer to supply the horses just like we acquire access to our blue tick hounds! If needed simply have their methods validated each year and if that is not enough have the Vet School walk over, or catch a shuttle from the AG campus, to the stadium and inspect each horse on gameday. Bet those supplying horses would comply with rules as defined.
I absolutely agree with this.
 

sechamp2012

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Back in the 70's when I was in school, there was a different Tennessee walking horse that circled the field before each game. If I remember correctly, this tradition was stopped because there were several instances of the horses almost slipping on the field due to rain or traction. Since the horses are so very expensive, it was not thought to be worth the risk. So now it is done only at homecoming and when the weather is good.
I know little about this but the TN Walkers I saw as a kid had enormous exaggerated steps. I also knew the horses were in pain from the articles I read but I told my daughter these horses are not doing the enormous exaggerated steps like in the Seventies. I told her with the safety-conscious environment I'm sure these horses are just trained to do that step. It's a spectacle but nothing like the '70s but as long as the horses are protected I'm fine with the less exaggerated strides. As someone said it adds to the pageantry.
 

MADISONGAVOL

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When your family has raised, trained, fed, and stayed up cold nights taking care of the horses, have won numerous world championships then you may speak.
Any animal mistreatment in any form or fashion is inhumane and the people who do it deserve whats coming to them. I have no sympathy for them
 
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tdawgs

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I have nothing to do with PETA. I just think putting acid on a horse's legs to make it walk "pretty" is not something we as a school should associate with.
Sort of like selling alcohol at a state supported public school of higher education where the average age of under graduates is 18-20 yrs? I will hang up n listen.
 

Fightmaker

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I have personal experience in being around these horses firsthand that never had a day of training. No one was ever mean to them in any form or fashion. They still have a spectacular natural gait. I don’t understand why people have to abuse them to get a desired result.
 
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XMR

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I'm going to weigh in here again for a moment (I noticed I weighed in on the previous page 11 years ago). There are valid arguments on all sides .... abuse versus natural versus anything else. My family trained these horses for many, many years. The horses lived like royalty and their every need was administered to immediately. Even if we ate canned potted meat the horses never did without top of the line nourishment. Their stalls were kept neat and clean and many had fans in their stall windows to ward off the summer heat. Their water to drink was maintained through an auto feeder so fresh water was always just a sip away. They wore heavy blankets in the winter to not only keep warm but also to keep their coats shiny and short-haired. They were washed and soaped daily and their manes and tails were picked out where one could run a fine tooth comb through it.
Their training consisted of many hours in the saddle to get the timing correctly and to encourage the horse to reach farther with its front hoofs while driving the backend to overstep the planted front hoof. All horses have gaits that "walk" (4 beat), canter (3 beat), and a 2 beat gait that is either a trot or a pace. The trot has the near front leg and the off back leg moving in unison while the pace has the front and back leg of the same side moving in unison. The Tennessee Walking Horse is the only breed whose faster gait is not a 2- beat gate but remains a 4 beat gait for a much smoother ride where posting in the saddle by the rider is not required.
Now has the industry lost some of it's early grandeur? No doubt as many have tried to hasten the training process to be competitive in the showring, hence a bad image on the breed itself. My family has been out of the horse business completely for the past 35 years and I no longer even keep up with it. myself.
I am proud to say that my father rode the walking horse at the game against Georgia Tech in 1979. The horse was a 4 year old World Champion and Dad exhibited him many times carrying our nation's colors at horse shows as well as at the Royal Mews in England back in 1980. My father passed away years ago and I never got into the horse business myself but chose to draw a steady weekly paycheck without the worries and hassles of competing and trying to make a living in a business that has so much potential for failure. The Tennessee Walking Horse is still an extremely beautiful and graceful animal and its docile nature is a bonus for those both young and old.

By the way, if anyone has a picture of the 1979 Georgia Tech game with the horse, I'd love to have a copy. I was stationed in Germany at the time in the US Air Force and didn't get to see it.
Here's a pic of my Dad and the horse when they went to England in 1980.
View attachment 412643
Who was your dad?
 

Rickyvol77

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No it isn't. Anyone can feel free to do their own research and see that it isn't false.

By SOME people, you mean it's an epidemic throughout the TN Walking Horse community, to the point that competitions had to be totally shut down because virtually all entries were disqualified. The official associations have also sealed some of their records to keep from revealing how widespread it has been over the last 50 years.

Right, padding is the classic method. Nowadays, many "augment" the padding by putting sulphuric or hydrochloric acid in the pads, or just small sharp objects. Hence the "soring."

Many that have the wide and high gait that has become so iconic ARE tortured to achieve that. The original gate is much more natural and diagonal, but still achieving the original effect-- which wasn't intended just for visuals like now, but rather how the ride felt on saddle back.


You telling me what said is false is an outright lie. Anybody can look this stuff up. The TN Walking Horse community has had a problem for some time, and many are in denial about it.
Who cares
 

guido4198

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ME...Among others, that's who.
I'm sorry this thread has been resurrected. No, that's not true....I'm sorry this thread HAD TO BE resurrected would be more accurate.
When I was a young man in the late 1960's, my family was involved in showing Tennessee Walking horses in a pretty big way. I remember my uncle paying $50,000.00 for a horse back when that was a lot of money and he wasn't even seriously "competitive" at the Celebration. As a high school kid...I was just along for the ride, to help at the shows and in the barn. There was NO QUESTION that horses were being abused to get the Big Lick you had to have if you even thought about trying to win anything. Over the years after high school I got away from that whole world. I've read about various horse protection efforts over the intervening years, read about raids at some of the big shows and even some punishments handed out. I have been HOPING the practices I witnessed "back in the day" that force the unnatural gait were eliminated. Sadly, it appears they haven't been. Lest anyone read this and think I'm some kind of liberal kook...you should know that over 25 years of my working career were spent in the beef industry...slaughter and processing. I've hunted the globe...taking pretty much everything that walks, crawls or flies that I was interested in. IMHO...mistreating horses "for a Big Lick show" is right up there with dog fighting.
I will absolutely be contacting my legislators asking WTF....???? I thought this had been dealt with.
 

WoodsmanVol

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I do want to be clear that I am not saying every Tennessee Walking Horse is abused. I'm saying the ones that are kicking their feet up as high as their shoulder are almost certainly abused, i.e. the Big Lick horses.
Where there is big enough money involved, you can be sure a form of abuse is happening. No matter what field of industry is involved. Animal training of all sorts is no exception.
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beamerman

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It does. But the type we use now has an exaggerated gait brought on by causing sharp pain through various methods when it plants it's front feet, modifying it to always walk that way.

The historical Tennessee Walking horse's gait was much lower, and can be seen as such in black and white clips from the 1930's and such.


There's a reason why the FBI has shut down several of the recent Tennessee Walking Horse judging events in recent years: rampant widespread animal torture.


Google it.
Agreed and accurate. I remember growing up raising quarter horses and my uncle raising walkers. He was furious losing a competition because of the way the other horses were trained.
He always said someday those people would be out on their place. Some have. The pageantry is nice though.
 

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