“…the animal’s are tossed aside and often sent to slaughter houses”
For those of us who are familiar with equestrian shows or may even have a knack for equestrian sports, we are accustomed to the posh appearance of fancily clad riders on top of perfectly clipped, athletically built horses. While there are many different kinds of equine events that can capture the attention of even the least horse-savvy people, one popular sporting event is that of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.
The Celebration recently held it’s 76th annual event in Shelbyville, Tennessee where nearly a quarter of a million tickets were sold. Considered to be the showcase performance competition for horses, the event looks for a horse’s ability to display the “Big Lick” gait – a movement exhibited when Tennessee walkers swiftly lift their front legs high into the air as they waltz around an arena. Horses are judged on the combination of the over-stepping walk with the typical nod (or rhythmically bob their heads up and down as they walk).
While the competition is specific to Tennessee, similar events occur nationwide (especially in Kentucky) and encourage visitors to gather for an “incredible” experience to view the graceful dance of the Tennessee walking horse. Also, other horse breeds – such as the Hackney horse – have been used as high-stepping show breeds, but due to their graceful charisma, Tennessee walkers remain the traditional breed in the Walking Horse Celebration.
With more than $650,000 in prizes and awards up for grabs, and fair favorites such as decorating contests, dog shows, and trade fairs, who could turn down such an awesome opportunity to enjoy some good old, traditional equestrian fun? Right?
While we would love to support such a grand event that celebrates the beauty of horses, we can’t exactly provide much (or actually, any) positive feedback about this one. Behind the scenes of this “magnificent” show, is the abhorrent practice of horse soring (or abusing a horse until it performs in the “appropriate” manner).
It’s time to saddle up and truly understand the suffering of the Tennessee Walking Horse…(CONTINUED)