TWH: "No Market for the breed. . ." - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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TWH: "No Market for the breed. . ."

At the TWH sale down in Lexington, KY last weekend, I picked up a free copy of one of the TWH publications. There was an article about the TWHBEA's first executive committee meeting of 2010, and I found a comment from Performance Horse Vice President, Ty Irby, quite interesting.

The article stated that Ty Irby "emphasized that horse show development is critical, especially outside of Middle Tennessee." The direct quote from him was "we are selling to each other because there is no market for the breed outside of Tennessee."

No market for the breed, Mr. Irby? Really?

Granted, the economy is in a slump so many people simply are not buying horses. That much was obvious at the sale. There were some very nice, sound, beautiful horses going for under $1000.

But his comment about there being no market for the breed just shows how serious the problem of the TWHBEA's collective rectal-cranial impaction really is.

They've been focusing so much on shows - especially giving the spotlight to the padded/"performance" classes - that they seem completely oblivious to the fact that most of the TWH owners outside of Middle Tennessee want nothing to do with the Big Lick Freak Show.

There absolutely IS a market for the Tennessee Walking Horse outside of Tennessee. It's just that the demand is for naturally-gaited, flat-shod horses for trail and recreational riding. The average TWH owners have no use for high-stepping padded horses that need to stop and "blow out" frequently and can't make sudden turns because it will trip over all the junk attached to its hooves.

Membership is dropping. A lot. In the past four years, TWHBEA memberships have gone from 18,457 to 10,942. It just baffles me that the leadership at TWHBEA seems so bent on continuing to support and promote Big Lick that it will sacrifice all else and run the whole organization into the ground.
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 08:55 PM
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Fantastic post. It's idiots and comments like this that only prove what an utter waste of time and existence the TWHBEA is. It's like they're trying to simultaneously convince the world that they've won the battle against soring, all while completely and utterly ignoring the individuals who've never sored to begin with. And they're all so arrogant and self centered that they actually believe they're fooling the rest of the world.

The world loves TWH. It's somewhat ironic that the very thing that makes them famous is the same thing that prevents them from being a "popular" breed. So many novices and beginners don't even consider TWH as ideal first mounts because they look at the trash being promoted and assume they're only show horses. It's also ridiculously hard to get your hands on non-show Walkers in many parts of the world. My friend has four - they're absolutely divine animals. She does everything with hers. They had to bring them in from the US. I bet if you handed me 10 decently broke TWH today, I could hand you a minimum of $20,000 in a couple weeks, that's how intense the need for reliable and quiet trail horses is around here.

How can it even be that in this day and age we can still allow this horrific injustice to occur right under our noses?

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 08:57 PM
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You're right, there is a market for Walkers. I had been wanting one since I was little and saw my first horse show at the fair. The first one's I saw were not the "big lick" horses. They were flat shod, and being shown natural. Not to mention that while researching the breed, I found that they are overall calm level headed horses. Perfect for what I was wanting one for...trail riding. And there are a lot of people in my area that use them for that purpose also. I finally got my first Walker back in Nov. I think they are a beautiful breed.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 09:35 PM
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I agree; I would help the breed a lot to be marketed as the Cadillacs of the trail horse world rather than Big Lick monsters. I know many, many older riders who would be all over it, and of course some young ones as well. They just need to minimize the emphasis on show TWHs and add more on the fabulous trail/pleasure horses they are.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 02:30 AM
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What were the prices like at the sale? Just curious. :)
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LadyDreamer View Post
What were the prices like at the sale? Just curious. :)
I think the highest one I saw while I was there was a filly that went for $5000. . .she was apparently bred out the wazoo on both sides. A five year old Walking pony went for about $2000 - the little thing was already broke to death and I think the price went up because people got into a bid-fight because they wanted the pony for their grandkids.

One ten year old big brown and white SSH went for about $2000; he was close to 17hh and very beefy, so a good horse for someone a little heavier. I watched him in the ring beforehand and he seemed like a very gentle soul.

There were others that went for anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 - a lot of them were SSH or nicely-marked. Many more went for less than $1,000 or were "no sale" because the bidding didn't go high enough. If someone was in the market for a Walking Horse, Tattersall's was definitely a good place to be last weekend.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 02:53 PM
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I have heard very good things about TWH's on trails. That being said, I would worry about taking the show TWHs and slapping them on the trails because their minds and bodies are used to working in a very different way. A show TWH should go to an experienced rider/trainer or out to pasture for the easy life.

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post #8 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by roro View Post
I have heard very good things about TWH's on trails. That being said, I would worry about taking the show TWHs and slapping them on the trails because their minds and bodies are used to working in a very different way. A show TWH should go to an experienced rider/trainer or out to pasture for the easy life.
Agreed - as with any horse that has had limited work outside of an arena, you would want to transition a horse from the show ring to the trail gradually. This would probably be especially true if the horse has spent a lot of time wearing the stacks for padded classes.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-15-2010, 09:27 AM
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I hope the memberships for the TWHBEA dwindle into nothing this year. They really are giving the TWH a bad reputation...not just them, but big lick shows altogether. There are a lot of misconceptions about the breed. Maybe if they held the big lick shows without the use of pads and chains then more people could come to appreciate the breed for it's natural smooth gaits. If a person where judging the TWH based only on what they see at the big lick shows, they wouldn't think 'Wow, now that'd make a great trail horse'. I think that's what ole irby was talking about. There isn't a market for those high-stepping, padded walking horses, unless you are showing. I think he wants more big lick shows and he doesn't give a hoot about the breed in general, especially the ones that have gone on to be trail horses. It's a shame though, because the TWH does make a great trail horse...they really are the 'Cadillac of the trails' IMO. I must admit though, my opinion is extremely biased . I own a TWH and I think he's the best horse in the world, the greatest trail horse there ever was, the prettiest, the smartest....well you get the picture . And he agrees with me
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-15-2010, 12:50 PM
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Well, if you didn't have pads and chains you wouldn't have a big-lick show LoL. But yeah it would do wonders for the breed image if TWHBEA quit promoting/supporting the padded horse. Sure the show organizations would still do it I am sure, but if TWHBEA being the breed association diverted the resources they use promoting the big-lick horse into the the casual trail and competitive trail uses of the breed I believe demand and thus prices for TWHs would go up.
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