Roy Exum: A Horse Trainer’s Letter
Tennessee Republicans need to wake up and realize that the public will not forget who they chose as their bedfellows when it comes time to vote. The Big Lick is no longer acceptable since it can only be achieved through painful methods. Americans do not want tortured horses. We are better than that. ~ HfH
From: The Chattanoogan
By: Roy Exum
There are 435 members in Congress and, to date, 248 of them have signed on as co-sponsors of a pending bill that will help eradicate sadistic horse abuse in Tennessee. A vote is expected later this month on H.B. 1518, which is also called the “Prevent All Soring Tactics Act” or, for short, the PAST Act.
The bill is necessary because of a loathsome group of people centered in one state – Tennessee – who cling desperately to the idea unless a Tennessee Walking Horse is “sored,” it cannot accomplish what is known as the Big Lick, an unnatural gait that true horsemen around the world now view with great disdain.
Sadly, of the 248 members in Congress who now support the bill, the seven Republican members of Congress from the state responsible for the federal legislation – Tennessee — blatantly refuse to do so, along with Tennessee’s two Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. It is believed this is because Alexander’s state campaign chairman, Steven B. Smith, is an avid Big Lick proponent and is now the president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association.
The truth is the Tennessee Walking Horse industry is crumbling badly since the public has been made aware of the heinous methods used to torture the defenseless animals. While Tennessee’s Republican officials can turn a blind eye, the fact is Maryville trainer Larry Joe Wheelon is now awaiting trial for allegedly brutalizing 19 horses last spring and abuse throughout the Walking Horse industry is well noted.
Carl Bledsoe, a horse trainer in Georgia, has written Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield (who originally sponsored the PAST Act) a heart-felt letter offering any help he can give to get the bill into law. Bledsoe admits he has sored horses in the past but today he enjoys a better life.