Now I'm back from my foray into "The Mists" for both pleasure and work, I am catching up on my personal email. Once again a big THANK YOU to my friends in the West for a fabulous weeked at Purgatorio. It was a blast! The week stuck in a class room overlooking the SFBay afterwards was less fun, however. <sigh>
Anyway, at Purgatorio last week, I got into a conversation with several folks about Tennessee Walking Horses. My horse, Tucker, is a registered TWHBEA and NPWHA gelding ("Ladd's Credible Threat" on his papers). Alas, his just-turned-6 year old brain does not yet have a well developed sense of patience and the little he does have all but disappeared after an hour of waiting around BEFORE the procession so to all who were entertained by his goofball antics in the lineup during coronation, my apologies. I just hope he was more entertaining that annoying?
Anyway, while he is registered TWHBEA, he is and always will be a "Plantation" walking horse in the "Trail Pleasure" category. He is shoed in simple keg shoes like those used by most pleasure riders and no artificial doodads or action devices have EVER been used to get him to do his signature gaits. He is totally Au Naturale! I should know. I raised him from a foal and trained him myself. (Insert proud horsemommy comment here...ahem. LOL)
As one of the questions I was asked was to do with the difference between Plantation and Performance ("Big Lick") Walking horses, I though this article might be of interest.
The performance or "stacked" Walkers are the high priced creatures who are trained to do a ridiculous gait and spend their
short lives on 6-12 inches of pads, steel and lead weights and outrageous shoes to perform in the high stakes, big money world of top level TWHBEA shows. As this article explains, the USDA has finally pulled it's proverbial finger out of it's you know what to enforce the 1970 "Horse Protection Act" forbidding abusive practices known as soring which I can attest are still widespread in the "Performance" TWHBEA world. (I know, I've seen it, it's effects and know who the people are who still do it!) In effect, the USDA caused the shutdown of the prestigious annual "Celebration" show in Shelbyville TN...the first time in 68 years a "World Grand Champion" has not been named. Any TWH breed show even in the Plantation category in which I compete, requires all competitor horses go thru an inspection process before every class. This process, called DQP (no, nothing to do with Dressage queens, I'm afraid) is simply de riguer but can indeed vary
substantially by show and inspector.
I am not alone in hoping that someday, all action devices, soring practices and even "stacks" will be outlawed from the Tennessee Walker world. Hooray to the USDA for finally doing it's job. As a member of the Walking horse "Industry" mentioned in the article, I applaud the decision to cancel things and hail the USDA's crackdown. It's about darn time! If it weren't for the fact that the TWHBEA is the only organization legally able to record breed registrations and sanction breed shows, I'd have quit it years ago. The NPWHA and other organizations emerged specifically for those of us who object to "Big Lick" walking horse practices and has it's own shows and circuit. However, the TWHBEA still has the monopoly on stallion approval so double registry is common.
Lady Ariadne de Glevo
"No hour is lost that is spent in the saddle"
~Sir Winston Churchill
"Well behaved women rarely make history"