Roy Exum: Osborne’s Letter Is Bogus

Roy Exum The Chattanoogan

From: The Chattanoogan
By: Roy Exum

Roy Exum The Chattanoogan

Roy Exum

It is not my nature to comment on letters written to, mainly because I believe folks are just as entitled to their opinions as I am. On the other hand, good and reasonable people ought to know that a letter entitled “Tennessee Walking Horse Is The Most Inspected Breed In The U.S.” was written by a publicist who is being paid to be a shill by a sordid group that is desperately trying to thwart badly-needed legislation to end the torture and abuse of Tennessee Walkers.

The author, Phil Osborne, works for a public relations company called Purple Strategies. Their sole mission is to stop the PAST Act from becoming a law that would strengthen the federal Horse Protection Act. Believe this: the “Big Lick,” a reviled group headquartered in Shelbyville, is paying thousands of dollars to defeat the bill so they can continue “business as usual” after a well-documented half-century of endless abuse.

To further connect the dots, Steven B. Smith, the head of the rapidly-disintegrating Breeders and Exhibitors Association, is a key player in the “Big Lick” and serves as Senator Lamar Alexander’s state campaign chairman. His son, Stevie, is a principal for Purple Strategies. It is widely believed Alexander’s defiant stand against the PAST Act is due to his close association with the Smiths – Stevie has even worked on Alexander’s previous campaigns.

Sadly, a bigger truth is that the “Big Lick” is believed to be on its last breath. Regions Bank just pulled its sponsorship of the now badly-tainted National Celebration, which is held in August, and public perception of the unnatural gait has caused many other horse shows to not include it any longer. Faced with ever-dwindling crowds and fewer entries, the Celebration has hemorrhaged thousands of dollars in recent years and is called “The Freak Show” by sound horsemen.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
1 Comment
  • Margaret

    Just a note about USDA they are as dirty as the BLM. There was a big sex scandal at the slaughter up the freeway from me. Ranch Meats recalled I think 8 million lbs of beef. Along with scuzzy employees there is a big sex deal between owner/manager and the USDA inspector.

    The Dirty Lickers can’t go down soon enough for me. It was butt ugly from the first second I saw it and remains so. Just the gait is all outta synch with a horse.

    Horses don’t wear high heels. I hated watching the Jackie McConnell video when it first came to light and I still hate it. There is absolutely no justification, reason to ever treat an animal like that. And those high heels are bracketed onto the hoof. The chance that a horse can step right out the hoof is enormous.

    I was at IEC a couple years ago and Keith Dane showed a picture of a horse who had stepped out of his hoof. It was sickening. It was repulsive.

    All this over a freaking blue ribbon. They’re sick.

    I recently met a lady who told me her horse was TWH. I immediately looked down, no high heels, no chains, all the hair on the front of the pastern was nicely intact. I thanked her for not soring her horse. Weirdly she answered that it was illegal in Northern CA? Maybe we’re a bit more intense on vet checks since were not in TN?

    June 27, 2014