#Animal Welfare
United States of America

The Tennessee Walking Horse is known for its high-stepping gait in the show ring. The horses that perform these gaits are called "Performance" or "Big Lick" horses.

The accentuated gait may be accomplished using inhumane hoof trimming or pressure-shoeing techniques. Tall & heavy (sometimes 5 1/2" or more) shoes are put on their front feet coupled with chains around their pasterns to exaggerate the natural gait of the breed for show purposes.

In order to high step, the horse's hindquarters must step DEEP under the body. The walk is completely unnatural and comprises the entire balance of the horse. The walk is totally unnatural and freakish but more importantly, is PAINFUL to the horse.

The shear walk causes the horse to breathe heavily further demonstrating the painful exertion caused by this unnatural walk. Further indication of pain and strain can be seen in the horses eyes.

It is well known that these horses are also abused in order to create this gait, a process called "soring". Soring is an illegal practice per the Horse Protection Act (HPA) federal law that is still being used on a regular basis to achieve the desired action for the show ring. Cancellation of the annual National Walking Horse Celebration was a direct result of the 7 out of 10 horses presented at the show being disqualified.

The Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA states: Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse's gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse's forelegs through the injection or application of chemicals or mechanical irritants. When the horse walks, a sored horse responds by quickly lifting its front legs to relieve the pain.

We, the undersigned, declare our displeasure with the Lions Club and their sponsorship of the Sixth Grinders Switch Walking Horse Classic for allowing the performance of "Big Lick" Tennessee Walking Horses being held on Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at Maury County Park in Columbia,TN.

We believe that the reason these horses are still in the show is because the association does not get enough support from the local public to eliminate them. We acknowledge that as the local and general public, we do not approve of the performance of "Big Lick" TWH and therefore will not associate ourselves with your venue as a display of our non-support.

If the association eliminates the Performance and "Big Lick" TWHs from its May 2 venue, then in return, we can support your efforts by participating in your venue and promoting it to outside sources as a sound and reliable venue for safe and natural representation of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Stop "Big Lick" Tennessee walking horse shows petition to Tennessee was written by Carla Schube and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.