The “Big Lick” is akin to dog fighting and cock fighting
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM Tuesday's Horse
June 2019

The Tennessee Walker 'business' is built on the suffering and pain of horses - the fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by ‘soring.'

From Wikipedia: Soring is the practice of applying irritants or blistering agents to the front feet or forelegs of a horse, making the horse pick their feet up higher in an exaggerated manner that creates the movement or "action" desired in the show ring.

Tennessee Walker
Walking Horse Big Lick. Google image.

Thanks to the citizens of Columbia and Maury County who boycotted the Columbia “Big Lick” Horse Show recently.

The “Big Lick” is animal cruelty.

Native Tennessean, MTSU Horse Science professor and equine veterinarian Dr. John Haffner said, “The “Big Lick” is a pain induced gait — it is a business built on the suffering and pain of horses. The fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by ‘soring.’

When one soring technique becomes detectable, another one is developed.

The Big Lick is a learned response to pain, and if horses have not been sored, they do not learn it.

Daily Herald Editor James Bennett referred to Tennessee Walking Horse shows as a “sport.”

Legendary Tennessee sportswriter David Climer said: “For years, many of those involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry have yearned for its competitions to be taken seriously as a legitimate sport. Blood sport, yes. Legitimate sport, no. Soring is still in common practice, and everybody knows it. Soring is a means to an end — a high-hooved prance produced via pain and abuse. An irritant is applied here, an abrasive chemical rubbed there. The sadistic trainers even develop ways to keep the tortured horse from reacting when the hoof is inspected.”

In his column Friday, May 31, Bennett blamed the problems of the “Big Lick” on a “few greedy competitors.”

It’s not “a few bad apples; rather the entire barrel of apples is rotten.

The “Big Lick” is no better than dog fighting and cock fighting. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait.

Bennett suggests an answer might be independent inspections.

The “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horse Racket is akin to dog fighting and cock fighting. Imagine using inspections to deal with dog fighting and cock fighting. 

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