I didn’t have much time at the barn yesterday, but I did have a few things I wanted to do while they were all eating. Jubilee’s mane and tail, for instance. I normally brush it out and spray some leave-in conditioner on it and some detangler every other day. However, she’s been neglected since the accident with Zippy and pure craziness. I haven’t touched her mane or tail in over 2 weeks. Sure, if I saw a big tangle I’d get it out really quick, or if I saw burrs wrapped in there I’d spray some stuff in it to get them out, but she hasn’t had a good grooming session in awhile. Since she has so much food and takes forever to eat, mom and I went out with two bottles of detangler and two combs and went to work. She got the tail. I got the mane.
Oh my gosh, this horse has a lot of hair.
It took mom about 20 minutes to finish. Jubilee’s tail doesn’t really get that messed up. Her mane, however…it took me a solid 30+ minutes to get it all combed out and silky. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t a ton of awful tangles and she wasn’t miserable. Her mane is just so thick and long that you have to lift up layer after layer of hair. When you think you’re done, you still have a ton left to do. And Jubilee still isn’t quite used to the attention and is a wiggle worm, so that makes it harder. But finally, finally, we won. And it was gorgeous. And it touched her chest and I remembered how much I love her mane. Then I went up this morning and guess. what. It’s a disaster. Thanks, mare.
So, obviously that’s not the success story I wanted to share considering the success of her nice mane was short-lived. I’ve done quite a few progression posts for Jubilee but this time, I don’t know, it’s different. I took a look at these photos and realized how good she looks. Like, oh my gosh. This horse looks amazing, good for her age, good for where she used to be, good for her breed. She’s fatter than a lot of other TWH that I know, but not only that…she just looks so good. She’s actually turned into a nice looking Walking Horse. I didn’t really expect that to happen. Everyone joked about how much she looked like a mule when we got her, but now? I see why she was once a broodmare/show horse.
I looked at these and realized that we have won a huge battle. This mare is my favorite success story. Out of all of the rescues we’ve had (not just horses but every other animal.) she is my favorite success story. I can’t even explain how much joy this horse has given me and how much pride I have for her. I can hardly believe she’s the same horse. Everything from her personality to her looks, I just can’t believe it. And honestly, she’s one of my favorite horse’s to work with. She’s fun to ride, she’s a joy to be around. My donkey’s grown up. 😉
But here’s the deal – these horses, this breed, they need more attention. Just like Thoroughbred’s need justice after abuse on the track (PS: not saying racing is abusive or racetracks are evil, but we all know there’s a lot of abuse there and it gets a TON of media) these horses need the media. A lot of you all may not be super familiar with this breed or know what all happens and how bad it is in the show ring, but they need justice. Please, please look into how you can help end Big Lick and give horses like Jubilee the freedom to be a horse. A happy, healthy horse.
Here is a bit about soring and Big Lick, information from the Humane Society Website.
Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.
A particularly egregious form of soring, known as pressure shoeing, involves cutting a horse’s hoof almost to the quick and tightly nailing on a shoe, or standing a horse for hours with the sensitive part of his soles on a block or other raised object. This causes excruciating pressure and pain whenever the horse puts weight on the hoof.
Soring has been a common and widespread practice in the Tennessee walking horse show industry for decades. Today, judges continue to reward the artificial “Big Lick” gait, thus encouraging participants to sore their horses and allowing the cruel practice to persist.
How is soring detected?
Federal law requires all Tennessee walking horses and Racking Horses entered in exhibitions, shows, auctions or sales be inspected for soring prior to entering the ring. Any horse who receives first place in a show or exhibition must also be inspected after the winning class.
Typically, an inspector will manually examine or “palpate” the front legs of a horse to see if the horse reacts in pain, and to look for other abnormalities. Horses born after October 1, 1975, are also subject to what is know as the “scar rule”: Their legs should show no evidence of scarring that is indicative of soring, such as missing hair, scars or cuts. While inspectors have jurisdiction to inspect horses anywhere on the grounds of a show, exhibition, auction or sale—as well as in transport to these venues—intimidation, harassment and threats from industry participants have kept inspectors from examining horses outside of a designated inspection area, directly before entering the show ring. This system gives trainers ample opportunities to attempt to conceal soring before the horse is inspected.
In an effort to mask soring, some trainers will apply numbing agents to their horses’ legs prior to inspection so the horse won’t react. Others “steward” their horses at home, putting them through mock inspections wherein if the horse reacts to palpation, he is beaten with a whip, bat or other blunt instrument. The horse learns to be more fearful of the beating than the pain in his legs, and learns to stand quietly. Other trainers will attach alligator clips and other pain-inducing objects to sensitive parts of the horse prior to inspection, causing him to focus on the new source of pain rather than his legs and feet.
In addition to extreme suffering from being sored and shown, many Tennessee walking horses die at a young age from colic, believed to be caused by the extreme stress placed on them in training and by exposure to the toxic chemicals used for soring.
Now, how can we stop it?
Take a look at this article from the Humane Society site about someone who went undercover at shows to show us the trauma that these horses face and how we can help end it.
I can assure you, this breed is the most forgiving and loving breed I’ve met. They will give you their all – their trust, their love. They will fight for their lives, so let’s give them the tools they need to be able to fight and let’s stop this abuse.