Someone stated that the National Walking Horse Association will be showing the horses in their natrual gait, without the big shoes, is this true also?
That is true. The NWHA does not allow those stacks/pads, and there are no Big Lick/performance classes offered at their shows. They are all about the naturally-gaited Walking Horse.
I think part of the reason TWHBEA lost out on the chance to represent the breed at the WEG is their apparent reluctance to really crack down on the soring. They continue to actively promote the performance classes in glossy pamphlets and videos. Who knows, maybe they really are trying to make a change for the better, but from the "outside" it doesn't seem like they're all that interested.
The TWH is kind of a world of its own, and many of the people who have grown up around Big Lick horses see it as perfectly "normal" for a horse to move like that. They talk about the stacks and chains as "just something you have to do," and it's not a big deal to them.
What they don't seem to realize is that other horse people, outside that segment of the TWH breed, are looking at those padded TWHs and just shaking their heads in disbelief. Or maybe disgust.
It makes me sad that the silhouette of the Big Lick horse is what generally comes to most people's minds when they think of TWHs. I think the organizers at WEG made a wise decision in choosing the NWHA to represent the breed at the upcoming games, because it will be a chance to show the world how true, natural Walking horses are supposed to move.