Honey, I am SO with you on this. We moved to Kentucky last year and I was so excited to go to my first walking horse show, not ten minutes from our home!
That was my first and absolutely last show. I had to leave before the first hour was up. I could not believe how unnatural those poor horses looked as they lurched around the ring! Their front ends were so jacked up with the pads (and most of them had hooves they could never have walked on if the pads were removed--they were eight to ten inches too long, but only on the front of the hoof) and their back ends so squatted under it almost made me cry. There is absolutely NO WAY this is not detrimental to the horse. It would be like me putting one of your feet in a 12" platform shoe and the other in a flat ballerina slipper and making you run a marathon. How will you feel afterward? Extremely sore, one-sided, overdeveloped on one side and pretty much crippled overall. Then I leave you in those shoes as you grow, develop and age. Imagine how you will feel when you get to be old (if you make it that far).
I will post a few pictures and a video I took there when I get home. I sat by one of the ends of the ring, so I saw their hind ends as they went around, and it was just sick how those poor horses are forced and constrained to move.
This whole practice is shameful and was only developed because some trainers in the 40's couldn't or didn't want to train to the level a beautifully gaited, high-stepping horse requires and the crowds and judges continued to want the Big Lick gait. All about money and fame. SICK.
Originally Posted by Honeysuga
Even the so called "kind" padding throws off the horses entire skelatal structure and how they move. Knowingly doing this, to me, is abuse. I love to see the big grapefruit joints of the "kind" padded horses and hear the owners say they are perfectly fine, it is such a trip. I don't think a person who will do this to an animal just for the ribbons and showing should be allowed to even own a goat.
I think that big lick showing looks disgusting. Even the non sored horses are so sickle hocked form stretching their hind tendons so they can literally walk only on their hind ends. They constantly look like they are going to have to sit on their haunches just to keep from falling.
And those ridiculous bits with foot ling shanks they use, no wonder the horses constantly have the "wild eyed" look, I gaurntee if they could talk they'd just beg to be shot to stop the pain.
Look how paddle footed they are, how badly those legs swing out, how the joints flex unnaturally to support those heavy pads. This is sick.
And in my opinion I think the whole TWH industry should be shut down, to fix the problem. Boo hoo to those who don/t sore, its for the greater good.
*steps off soap box...for now*