mine: twh



“I was surprised to hear that they cut my butt out! I’m here to tell you that my butt is not dangerous. And there are many, many more dangerous things that people are happy to broadcast. I don’t know what that says about the world we live in, but it probably says something.”

anonymous asked:

I have a couple of questions about big lick and you seem like a good guy to ask. First, i dont really understand what it Is? Ive also heard that its all inhumane and abusive, but ive also seen otherwise very humane and knowledgable horse people says that big lick can be done humanely, so? I have no idea what to think of this discipline, i just feel kinda lost.

OK so I’m not a big lick/TWH expert by any means but here are the basics as I understand them:

Some breeds are gaited. The Tennessee Walking Horse is one of them. It’s especially known for its running walk. Originally, this gait was really popular because it was so comfortable to ride, so they were useful plantation horses, and they Looked Fancy. Big Lick developed because of the transition from using horses for work (farming, cavalry, pony express, yada yada) to horses being used for recreation - specifically here, shows. So you have a bunch of people riding their TWHs around trying to look the fanciest, without any actual goal beyond winning and looking fancy. It becomes an aesthetic thing, like a lot of current show scenes (western pleasure, saddleseat, a lot of dressage tbh, halter shows, reining, etc). Welfare and practicality go out the window because you don’t actually have a reason to keep your horse healthy, sane, and sound. Because you don’t need them to do work. You don’t need them to live long, healthy lives. This is why we see such an increasing number of horses being competed as two and three year olds (when they’re still 2-3 years from actual physical and mental maturity), and retiring before they’re even ten or early teens. It’s all about the benjamins and about winning the biggest prize.

So, how do you get the TWH to exhibit a fancier gait? Firstly, bigger shoes and longer hooves. Weight on the legs mean that the legs are lifted higher. And there is a spectrum here, from flat shod but hooves too long:

to moderate pads:

to fucking giant stacks:

These result in a higher-stepping gait.

But where do you go from there? Well, from there you get to the most controversial part of the TWH industry, which is soring.

Here’s an 11 minute interview with a convicted trainer explaining how soring works, but I’ll summarize:

Soring is when you make the front feet hurt, so that the horse is really fast to snatch them off the ground because they’re so painful. There are a lot of ways to sore a horse. I’ve read about putting marbles between the hoof and pad, people putting tacks in there, people over-trimming the sole of the hoof until it bleeds or bruised, adding extra deep nails, anything to make the foot sore. The most well known method (and this is usually what people are talking about when they talk about soring) is putting caustic chemicals on the horse’s ankles, and then adding chains, so that the metal chains bang against their already super painful pasterns.

Those pictures are taken from show screencaps. These stacks and these chains are allowed at the show. They are not just training tools. They are out in the public eye. People just lie about the application of chemicals.

All of this is done to make the horse fling up their forelegs, and step deep under with their hind legs like so:

Here’s another example of the kind of ‘stepping under’ that is caused by soring:

I don’t say this lightly but these horses are crippled. The trainer in that interview says so. He acknowledges that you have to essentially torture the horses to make them ‘walk’. That horses end up dead from the pain. These are animals that can barely stand (and sometimes literally cannot stand) on their own feet. And the end result is this:

Wow so fancy! So flashy! So great! I personally don’t get the appeal, and the appeal doesn’t even MATTER, because it’s about the physical and mental abuse and not about the end result, buuuuuut let me drop this comparison in here:

This^ is Champagne Watchout, who was exhibited flatshod at the 1999 TWH National Celebration, next to horses ridden with giant stacks. I recommend watching this entire video as the contrast between the gaits is unbelievable. It’s an amazing example of the difference between the beautiful, smooth, comfortable and NATURAL gaits of the TWH, vs the clusterfuck that is Big Lick.

My gifmaker stopped working so I’ll leave you with just some pictures of un-stacked, un-sored TWHs.

These^ are the horses that were bred to be comfortable to ride for long distances. Even those last two horses, exhibiting more dramatic movement, look like actual horses instead of dying frogs.

There are so many more issues related to TWHs (historical racism, the position of the saddle and rider and the damage to the back, the riding of two year olds, horses that literally can’t stand, that colic from the pain and die, horses that collapse because they literally can’t walk, the fact that horses are trained to get through vet inspections by being punished for exhibiting signs of pain, the HORRIBLE bits, the owners and judges and trainers all colluding to lie about abuse, god I could go on forever) but these are the very basics and all I’m gonna try and pack in here lol.

If there are any TWH/big lick experts who want to correct me on any points, go ahead, I know my terminology isn’t perfect. But this is why big lick exists and why it’s so horrible, and why literally every riding discipline accused of cruelty goes ‘well at least we aren’t big lick!’. Because big lick is the actual worst.


H I D D L E S W E E K — F A V O R I T E  I N T E R V I E W

The Late Late Show with James Corden. Are you ever “Thomas Hiddleston”? I am if I’m on the naughty step with my mum, and I’m about four years old, yes. It’s if I’ve been misbehaving, and I’ve been very naughty. “Thomas! Thomas, for heaven’s sake, it’s the middle of the night! Will you go to bed?” That kind of thing. But even when you said it, it was kind of slightly sexual. Oh, dear.

I think the saddest part of our school system is when everyone’s super stressed with work and emotions toppling on them and you hear the words “I don’t care anymore.” Not the kind in which you still care, a lot as a matter of fact, but when the one who loved learning and exploring the unknown gives up. They’re tired. They’re not dealing with it anymore. I’m sorry they took the fight out of you. I’m sorry they took it out of me. You deserve better. We were curious kids, and now we’re prisoners in a cell of impossible expectations and facts and broken morals, but the cell still holds strong. Yet we don’t. We’re done. We don’t care anymore. And I don’t think we will ever again.

    It is not that they have become a united front. That, he knows, is an impossibility. He is with the angels, and she belongs on the other side, now and always. But the beauty - nay, the grace - of their….understanding, is that if she reaches across the line for his hand, he will always, without fail, take it. 

     Heaven or hell be damned. 

psa: the Picnic is not next chapter of TWH . I’m writing and already on page 13… so……it’ll DEFINITELY be the chapter after next chapter…. and fyi, the picnic is going to be over the span of 2 - 3 chapters so…  sit tight all. there may or may not be adultery coming your way. 


Both horses are Tennessee Walking Horses. Both horses are completely barefoot. What you’re seeing is both of the gaits a Tennessee Walking Horse can perform naturally, first in real time and then in slow motion.

The first horse is racking. Notice that she has very little head movement. A perfect rack should have 0 head movement and, if any, a very very slight up-and-down. Side-to-side head movement is always a pace. Also notice her hind legs. In the rack, a horse’s hind legs should land in the same spot as the corresponding front, or slightly behind. This eliminates suspension. You see different in the second horse because he is performing a running walk and that gait is slower than a rack. In order to pick up speed but remain smooth, the racking horse’s hind legs do not reach as far. The case may be different for speed rackers.

The second horse is doing a running walk. You can see a definite difference in head movement - his horse’s head bobs up and down pretty significantly. That’s normal and a great way to tell if a horse is in correct gait. The hind legs should either match the landing of the corresponding front feet, or overstep them slightly. An active running walk will most likely have an overstride. There is a theory that the more a horse oversteps, the smoother he will be, however that theory has not been proven.

There is no definite criteria for front leg lift between the two gaits. The racking horse in this example has pretty average lift. Not quite a daisy clipper but definitely not a park horse. A horse could have more or less front leg lift and still be in a rack. The running walk should ideally be more similar to a walk, so leg lift should not be as dramatic as a rack can get.