Horse Health

Controversy surrounds MS Charity Horse Show – “Big Lick”

Posted by Marsha Thompson at WDAM Channel 7

Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital recently turned down charitable donations from the Mississippi Charity Horse Show

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) – Controversy is swirling around an upcoming Tennessee Walking horse show that features ‘Big Lick’ classes.

A group called the Walking Horse Alliance says this is cruel and abusive.

Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital recently turned down charitable donations from the Mississippi Charity Horse Show. Over 5 thousand people have signed a petition to stop the “Big Lick” competition, according to Oxford attorney Clant Seay.

Seay sent us numerous USDA documents citing previous abuse at this Jackson horse show.

Blair E. Batson’s Children’s Hospital says the national controversy over the way Tennessee Walking horses are trained and handled, particularly those performing the “Big Lick style”, brought them to the decision.

Here is the statement from UMMC:

After careful reflection, the administration of Batson Children’s Hospital has asked the organizers of the Mississippi Charity Horse Show to discontinue donating proceeds of the event to the hospital for the benefit of its patients. We are grateful for the generous support of the Charity Horse Show over the last several years. This support has included not only monetary contributions but also opportunities for patients under our care to be involved. Although we are comfortable the Mississippi show complies with all applicable laws for the protection of horses, the national controversy over the way Tennessee Walking Horses are trained and handled – particularly those that perform in the “Big Lick” style – has brought us to this decision. We are not in a position to evaluate the strongly held beliefs and assertions on either side of this issue, so our decision is intended to remove the Children’s Hospital from the controversy.

Big Lick is a horse picking up it’s hooves higher than it’s natural motion.

The Humane Society says some competitors have been known to illegally ‘sore’ the horses ankles by applying a caustic chemical that burns them. Chains and stacked shoes are then applied. The horses react to the pain and step higher.

Robert Taylor, the show promoter, tells me USDA veterinarians and USDA inspectors will be at the show to catch those who abuse horses.

Some 300 horses from around the southeast are expected to compete in the show March 26-28th. Taylor, a retired show promoter says this show is legal.

Taylor also says he is disappointed Blair E. Batson has declined donations. He says other deserving charities will receive donations.

Last year Batson received $45, 000.00.

3 replies »

  1. This Blair guy needs to learn a hard lesson in animal husbandry, care and treatment of these horses. While anybody who has a lick of horse sense would do everything to keep their horses feet and legs in good shape, this by just doesn’t have a clue. He’d be a good candidate for teaching by example….apparently he doesn’t get it when he reads, hears about the damage that he is causing. I applaud childrens hospital for their decision to decline donations base in the nature of the business.


  2. There is no way to make a horse do this Big Lick other than by abuse. But until show judges stop awarding the Big Lick and there is no longer money to be made by the owners/trainers, this won’t stop. As with everything else in this country, it’s all about the money. Horse show enthusiasts should stop supporting and attending any show that features Big Lick classes. When the money goes away, so will the abuse.


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