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Kay26 10-05-2010 06:20 AM

TWH why do people want to exaggerate their gait ?
Okay so i'm no expert on TWHs, nor am i pretending to be tbh i don't know that much but i typed TWH into you tube because i was bored and had been having a little nosey in the gaited section of the forum and some lovely natuaral moving TWHs came up and also alot like this:

Now like i said i'm no expert on TWH but i'm pretty sure they do not naturally move like this, correct ? I can't even think how you would get a horse to do that but it certianly doesn't look smooth or natural for the horse it actually looks unstable i think. Any way for some of the comments on various videos some people we're horrified and others seemed to think that was how TWH were ment to move.

So my questions are (providing i'm correct and its forced) how on earth would you make a horse walk like that ? And why do people want to/ think its acceptable if its now how the breed should walk.

Like i said i don't know much about TWH so i would love some experts on the breed to give me a bit more of an education since im a non-gaited owner of a tb haha.


Jacksmama 10-05-2010 09:00 AM

Ah yes, the wonderful world of big lick show Walkers. There are many ways they train them to move out like this. Some use weights. Some use HUGE built up shoes. Some sore the horses, I actually spoke with a ferrier that used to work at a big TWH barn and the owner asked him to put a plate on the bottom of the foot with a small hole in it so he could jam a nail up in the hole and it would hurt with every footfall and make the horse a "high stepper". That's when he refused to work for that BO anymore. Looks like the horses in the video have large build ups on. It's not as popular as it once was, people are finally starting to realize how cruel it is. From what I'm told after just a few years of this the horses are physically in pretty bad shape, which doesn't surprise me when you look at how uncomfortable the gait looks. Thats one of the things I like about showing Rockys, they check before EVERY class to make sure there are no scars from soring and that they just have regular shoes on, any evidence otherwise and the horse is disqualified.

Tennessee 10-05-2010 09:11 AM

I've always wondered this, too. I love TWHs, but I will never buy one, especially in Tennessee where it is all about who steps the highest and who cost the most. I think the TWH has a BEAUTIFUL natural gait, and people should just leave it at that.

It is by force that a horse walks like that. Jacksmama gave a good indication of how they do it. I know a girl at my school that ties some kind of chains or something around their hooves to make them step higher. I'm not sure of the details exactly, but she's a sadist anyways so I imagine it hurts them.

Jacksmama 10-05-2010 09:17 AM

Yes, it's very painful for them. I've heard horror stories of somehow rigging something on their feet so that when they bend at the fetlock some sort of acidic substance(mustard oil maybe? I am not sure what exactly but it burns them) touches the heel so they exaggerate and "pop" their feet. I would own a Walker, they're great horses, but I would want to know where they came from and that they have never had any of this treatment if I didn't buy a youngster to avoid it.

Tennessee 10-05-2010 09:23 AM


Originally Posted by Jacksmama (Post 771714)
I would own a Walker, they're great horses, but I would want to know where they came from and that they have never had any of this treatment if I didn't buy a youngster to avoid it.

That's why I don't own one. I live in their state of origin, and it seems it is worse here than anywhere else. I know quite a few breeders and owners of Walkers, and even though they excell in the show arena, there's no way that I would pay even 50 cents for one of their horses. With their jacked up feet and lunatic personalities (I'm not generalizing the breed. I'm just talking about the ones that I know.) it seems like a lost cause to me. And it's a shame, too, because they are absolutely beautiful horses.

corinowalk 10-05-2010 10:27 AM

When I was growing up I rode a TWH who was a former big lick horse. A WGC horse actually. He never showed one ounce of lameness or troubles. He came to us with heaves but that can be common in show horses. I am not defending BLW but saying that there are good horses who make a return after their show careers are over.

Jacksmama 10-05-2010 10:31 AM

Of course! I didn't mean to imply they are all ruined forever after showing or anything, I was generalizing. I can only imagine the stress put on their legs and back after a few years of this though.

corinowalk 10-05-2010 10:38 AM

Not to start an argument or to thread jack but this is a question I have had for a while. Do you think the stress on a TWH legs is any more than the stress on this horses legs?

Both horses are exagerating their natural gait. Both are show horses chosen for high performance. Just wanted to see if anyone else had an opinion on this.

Kay26 10-05-2010 01:27 PM

Well i think the main point for me is the method in which the horses are trained or forced to act like this, TWH that are moving like this are (according to what i have heard) forced through raised shoes and chain etc which is painful however most dressage horses (though i know their are cases were inhumane methods are used) are not forced through pain but trained to move these ways.

I don't really know enough about it to say much more but alot of dressage horses can still be ridden into their 20's as they are supple and fit but it seems the TWH asked to move like this often have problems later from what i have heard so it must be more strain ? However like i said i am no expert on either so i happy to stand corrected.


ETA: I've done a little reading apparently horses can be trained to have 'big lick' movement without chains etc but it is rarely the case. Just wanted to say that.

Jacksmama 10-05-2010 01:53 PM

IMO, especially the TWH forced to wear the big build ups are under more strain than dressage horses. Not to take away from the difficulty of many dressage moves, but often a good dressage horse is trained for years to get these movements and as the training progresses the horse is conditioned. The TWHs have these shoes slapped on and let loose in the show ring as 3 yr olds when they're still developing. Maybe it's a bit like wearing 6 inch high heels as an 8 year old little girl and joining marching band?

It IS possible to train a TWH to high step without using these less than savory aids, but it takes time and knowledge as well as the horses natural tendancy to be a high stepper and unfortunately the majority either don't take the time or don't have the knowledge to do this naturally. The build ups, chains, and soring are all shortcuts, and I think most of us that have spent much time with horses know that shortcuts normally come around and bite us in the tookis. Maybe if people approached training a big lick more like humane dressage trainers do the TWHs wouldn't be in this situation.

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