I just read a huge conversation on one of the TWH pages on FB about the hyperextension of the BL VS. say Dressage, a racing QH or TB and pacers, and to be honest there isnt much difference, it all depends on when the picture is taken and the angle from which it is taken, depending which side you want to argue. I have seen these "evil" packages, and have handled them and they ranged in weight from 1-2 lbs up to MAYBE 5ish. yes the 5lb package would provide some stress to tendons but these horses are built up to the packages and conditioned to them. so its not just like they are nailed on one day and expected to go.
As far as these horses being stalled all the time and getting no chance to be horses. I believe you would be suprised how many horses are stalled all the time, other than to be worked out or ridden, Id say that there are many here who board their horses that may only get out of the stall to be ridden or worked. That is certainly not unique to performance walking horses.
I'm sure the BL advocates are trucking out the tried and true "every breed has it's dark side" defense. That is probably even true. It does not, IMO, excuse or give a "pass" to anybody's dark side. Indeed, it's "sand box reasoning" that's common among five year olds ("Johhny played the fool; why can't I?"). I would hope that adults get past this; if they don't then they are not very adult.
It's not the weight of the package that is the issue. It's the MOVEMENT that the package causes. The photo dramatically shows one aspect of that movement. As for the "it happens in other breeds" defense how about we ask the advocates of such defense for photos of this sort thing in other breeds? Mind you, if we get them it doesn't really make any difference. Idiocy among, say, dressage riders, is not a license for idiocy among TWH riders.
Frankly, turn out is not required for healthy horse. A healthy horse will likely be a "happy horse" (which, of course, presumes a fact not in evidence, i.e., that horses can ever be "happy"). A complaint about "lack of turnout" is a "red herring."