Roy Exum: The ‘Lickers’ Are Desperate


The Chattanoogan, Friday, June 21, 2013

article.253708The Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA), desperately trying to cling to the now-seedy image that has resulted in a half-century of abuse to Tennessee Walking Horses, accused U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) of “misleading and inaccurate testimony” on Thursday when, in fact, the Shelbyville-based organization is today considered a haven of false propaganda.

PSHA is the latest acronym of a club that those responsible for the Walking Horse Celebration has just launched to hide the tarnished reputations of other groups that revere the “Big Lick,” an unnatural gait that many believe can only be achieved by torturing and soring the magnificent animals.  Whitfield had sponsored an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have instead helped cripple those who apply caustic chemicals and agents to the horse’s forelegs so they’ll pick their painful legs up higher.

The Farm Bill was defeated for the second straight year in Congress yesterday, 234-to-195, and while it is unknown what Congress will do next, there is no doubt the horse welfare advocates will swat away any attempts by the PSHA to sell itself as a legitimate entity after years on consistent and rampant horse abuse in what is laughingly now called the “performance” animal.

In a poorly-advised press release, PSHA charged that “Whitfield failed to tell his former members of Congress that:

CLAIM: “The amendment eliminates a total division of the equine breed, impacting more than 10,000 horses that would be deemed no longer fit for their intended purpose.”

FACT: Horse shows wouldn’t skip a beat. “Dirty Lickers” might lose their jobs but if a massive effort to remove the cheaters from the game is successful, it only stands to reason that more people would show because the playing field is level. Believe this, the cheaters are well-known.

CLAIM: “Take from hard-working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and income without cause or any scientific evidence”

FACT: In just the last year, five men have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from horse abuse and two trainers – convicted Jackie McConnell and just-caught Larry Wheelon – still face state charges. If Wheelon is found guilty on all 19 horses that were “scientifically” found to be abused, he could technically die in jail. We have more “cause” than the war in Iraq!

CLAIM: “Eliminate … self-regulation … which is far superior to federal government.”

FACT: Over half of the top horse show judges in the group SHOW have past violations of the Horse Protection Act and a recent check of the Trainer’s Association showed its members were rife with violations. (Wheelon headed its ethic committee) Trainers president Mickey McCormick has over a dozen suspensions – all by the US Dept. of Agriculture. “Self-regulation” in Shelbyville would outlaw mirrors.

images-3CLAIM: “Eliminate … self regulation (in order to make the federal agency bigger).”

FACT: If mankind is ever going to do away with the “Dirty Lickers,” honest USDA veterinarians and inspectors are the only answer. How many USDA inspectors to you see at a dog show or county fair? The sleazy side of the Walking Horse industry has smeared the reputation of 95 percent of owners who are clean, sound and honest. Horse abuse for cheap ribbons must stop. America has clearly had enough.

CLAIM: “Creates a Federal bureaucracy at a huge cost to taxpayers ….”

FACT: You want to see a bureaucracy? Go to Shelbyville, TN and just follow the money. The Breeder’s Association just fired its president, allegedly so his boss could win a ribbon. The same Breeder’s Association is floundering in a stinking sea of public perception and there is, in fact, “so much smoke that anyone can tell the Dirty Lick is ablaze in troubles.” The National Celebration has turned into a fiasco with heavy financial losses.

Yet the press release from PSHA claims the Whitfield Amendment, if it stays on the next effort to get the Farm Bill through Congress, will ruin the walking horse industry. If ever there was a press release written by Pinocchio, Thursday’s missive from the so-called PSHA was surely it.


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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Mary Anne Gardner

    This is a mean business but with a few men this cruel sport can be put to bed !! To think a horse has to go such cruelity just to have a BIG LICK and win a little ribbon!! Stay behind these mean man and make that BIG LICK a thing of the past!! Thanks to all the folks that have worked so hard to uncover this terriable treatment of these wonderful horse!!
    When you see a horse almost unable to walk with white boots on and fight the air for the BIGGEST LIKE he can do!!! Know it’s not right!!Let’s make this sport a thing of the past. PLEASE help watch out for these horses, we are their voices!!

    June 21, 2013
  • Margaret

    Id willing to go undergo surgery to remove the heel spurs in both my feet IF they could then be transferred to Larry Wheelon who would be forced to run a marathon with no foot protection other than a pair of running shoes. He wouldn’t be able to do it. The pain is excruciating and would render him so sore the law would say it was be cruel and unusual punishment.

    And that’s for the beginners of what Dirty Lickers do to these brave horses. I remember last year being shown a pic of what can happen–the horse literally pulls his foot from his hoof. I almost lost it. Horses with laminitis that have gone without care have that.

    Hotshots, hitting horses with clubs? All for a lousy blue ribbon? Are you freaking kidding me that these people can self regulate? They’ve had over 40 years to try to clean up their act. They can’t or they won’t. One of the worst of them actually trains and is a judge. You honestly think they can self regulate. Cow manure.

    June 21, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    Yeah this is just sick, I believe in even making these statements make them look even more guilty to me anyway, I believe that statements are so off the wall that everyone and I mean everyone can see that and really KNOW the truth so I think this is just making it worst which is GOOD…. SHAMEFUL, I met a woman the other day and she shows her and her husbands mules in Shelbyville and I SAID I have hear so many bad things about that place she said oh so many don’t even know the half of it, she said she has seen who ever put an opened can tin can underneath the saddle so the horses will keep their heads way up, I wanted to say did you do anything BUT I did not know this woman so I just listened, JUST so, so sad these horses have to suffer like this, I happen to have one beauty that I can not even imagine him suffering like that. Those who do this don’t love and care about horses it is just about BREEDING and the money and oh lets not forget that BIG BLUE RIBBON…

    June 21, 2013
  • Sue

    Self-regulate? You mean like BP did in the Gulf???

    June 22, 2013