The breeds get lumped together all the time. Just like this^^^. Im tired of people who think they know, but don't. The heaviest shoe/pad combo in asb's is still lighter than the smallest stack for TWH.
Not all walking horses wear those! Its one division that wears them. I don't like them either, but its not cruel. The soring that SOME do, that's whats cruel.
Don't bash a whole breed for one division they offer. I know of many TWH folks that absolutly hate the stacks and such. So no, its not all of them. Should they quit a breed the love just because of the stacks or soring. Id hope not. One must stand up for their belifs and leaving a breed they love because of controversy is a silly.
OP, there is cruely in EVERY breed and every dicipline. Please don't judge the TWH because of people. They are good solid horses that have got caught up in the rediculiousness of people. If the TWH wants motion like that they could have bred for it, but instead the bred for the RW and lost the motion. Now they want it back and the only way to get it is breed for it and wait or 'stack 'em high'.
Very good point, I think TWH does get lumped into one division, do I think padding etc is the way to go? No, but I do know that just because it is the section of the breed that recieves the largest amount of media doesn't mean that the entire breed is walking the same path. There are plenty of walkers our there in shows or not that are natural moving and great solid horses. To me stacking of any kind is a little bizarre, even if it is smaller than the smallest, do I think it is cruel if it is within reason? No not necessarily cruel, but to me if the horse is a good horse and talented enough for showing, you shouldn't need it. That is the kind of horse I want to show...not a horse with gimmicks. But again, some people use them for animation (small stacks, weighted shoes etc) and it gives them an edge I guess.
I agree that the padded horses have turned their breeding around and it is now that they are bred for less motion as they want pacey so that the the angle they are moving at in the pace with pads makes them walk more. I own and train TWH mare in Canada and she has amazing motion and naturally gaited enough that she runwalks in the pasture. I trail ride her or show her either barefoot or with regular shoes on because of the trails and she canters beautifully with ease. In Western Canada we focus a lot more on the showing quality of a naturally gaited horse and they best natural movement.
Some pictures of her at recent shows (barefoot or regular trail riding shoes)