The Tennessee Walking Horses and gaited saddlebreds have scared a lot of people away from gaited horses, I think, or at least from upper level gaited horse competition. That’s why I make so many posts sharing my wonderful sport with you - so everyone can see that there are wonderful and ethical…
Reminder that equine sports CAN exist with rigid tack and equipment and shoeing regulations to protect the welfare of the horses :)
The whole situation is disgusting, but I want to emphasize what he says around 2:30: ‘once the horses are crippled like that, they won’t eat, they hurt so bad, and you have to keep them on so much pain medication that they won’t get up’. He adds that many horses die from ‘stress colic, from all the pain’.
This isn’t just a matter of arguing over what training methods are ethical. These horses are literally dying.
Maybe the sickest part is the bribery he speaks of in the video. These are horses being subjected to unimaginable pain, to create the most extreme gait possible, and despite all of that, the winner can be determined with bribes. The ‘quality’ of the gait itself, which the horses are tortured to accomplish, means nothing.
From the news article:
He sentenced Davis, 39, to one year in federal prison and a $4,000 fine conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act, witness tampering and transporting and entering a sored horse into a walking horse competition.
He’s been in custody since July 2011 and will be eligible for release this July. As part of his plea agreement, he will appear in an educational video to speak out against horse spring.
His co-defendants — Christen Altman, 26, of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Jeffery Bradford, 33, of Lewisburg, Tenn. — each received one year of probation and $1,000 fines. A fourth co-defendant, Paul Blackburn, 35, was sentenced to one year probation and a $1,000 fine in January.
I will never understand big lick. Whenever I think about it for too long, I give myself a stomach ache. The sport is such a perversion that it literally has nothing to do with the horses anymore. Seriously, where is the fun for the participants, what is the draw? It’s not a competition to see who breeds the best horse, because the natural talent of the horse isn’t even being judged (and any natural talent the horse did have is squelched out by the abuse). It’s not a riding competition, that much is obvious to anyone who has seen how these folks ride, and it’s sure as hell not a training competition because zero training goes into producing these gaits - it’s all external gimmicks and attachments, no learning on the horse’s part. So where’s the fun in it? What do you have to feel good about when you win? “Hey, I’m better at bribery and abuse than everyone else, look at my trophy and prize money”?? Wake up, big lick supporters (and I know I have a few followers that support big lick, although I don’t know why as my blog is about as anti big lick as it gets). You people are an embarrassment, plain and simple. You should be ashamed.
Researchers found that saddle type did not appear to impact movement in a group of Icelandic horses.
This is weird to me because I haven’t met very many Icelandic riders who use treeless saddles, or who think they fit all horses? I’ve only ever used one on one horse, who was clearly much more comfortable in the treeless saddle I was using. And the only real difference between Icelandic saddles and dressage saddles is that they often have a flatter seat (better for riding tölt and pace, dressage saddles tend to have a very deep seat that puts you in a great position for trot and canter but doesn’t let you adjust yourself for other gaits) and they are specially made to fit Icelandic horses (dressage saddles that fit adult riders are often made for larger bodied horses than our Icelandic horses). I haven’t heard this bullshit about the saddle helping shoulder movement - we just don’t put the saddles high up on the withers like you see with jumping saddles, that gives the shoulder a little more room but when I rode dressage on my Irish sport horse his saddle was placed the same way, a bit further back than the jumping saddle. Obviously the fit of the saddle is what allows the horse to move uninhibited, not the style of the saddle. I mean.. Duh. Was this ever not obvious? The whole reason you have vets and saddle fitters and trainers working together in Iceland is to create saddles that FIT THESE HORSES SPECIFICALLY. Comfortably. Not to change their movement lol.