Ok, first you said that you wanted a calm, no mud slinging argument but you seem to be the one to get argumentative. I don't want this discussion to be hateful and have finger pointing/name calling. I am not doing any of those... but I can argue my points just as anyone else can. :) I am not trying to be rude, I promise. :)
Are you saying that Plantation walking horses are sored? How about easy gaited classes? To my knowledge only Big Lick horses are sored, and even then, Big Lick competitions have caught enough scrutiny and have been shut down. I am not saying that the abuse doesn't happen...I am just saying that the gait they are looking for in Big Lick classes can be TAUGHT. It doesn't need to be MADE. Yes, I am saying that some plantation and lite shod horses are sored. NOT ALL, but it does go on in classes other than the "big lick". You said yourself "to my knowledge". And just because they have caught scrutiny doesn't mean it doesn't happen regularly still. They are just getting better at covering it up and doctoring the horse's feet. I agree that they can teach an animated gait.. but probably not as animated as they are now. I never said otherwise. And with these types that don't wear a chain in the show ring, they have other means of "soring" one. Pressure shoeing, standing on blocks, etc. Here are some examples of Plantation horses that certainly don't appear sound... YouTube - Res. World Grand Champion Plantation Show Horse SOLD!!!! YouTube - midnight mover plantation walking horse YouTube - Plantation Pleasure, Cut of Chrome
I was at that barn 6 days a week as I worked there as a Stable Hand and exercise rider. I held horses while they were being shod. I rode, I cleaned stalls, I was there. There was nothing out of the ordinary going on there. Ok, good. I was just asking. I see how it came across, because I was blunt about it. Didn't mean to sound rude.
Horses were ridden 6 days a week. They were started at 2. They were taught slow, consistent gaits first. Rollers were added to emphasize the stride. The shoes were built up slowly. Week by week. The gait was developed there. If a horse didn't have what it took to bring out the big gait, they were either shown in other classes or sold as a trail horse.
I have made this point before and will continue to make it. Say there are 100K TWH right now. 1% of them will become Big Lick horses. 2% will be trained to do the gait. Of that 1%, 50% will have suffered some sort of abuse. So a half of a percent will have shown Big Lick and never been sored or abused. Would I rather see that the abuse never happens in the first place. ABSOLUTELY. I am not for soring or hurting horses.
With that 1% in mind, lets just assume that every one of those horses is limping lame by say...age 15. I see by your avatar you are a jumper. How many jumpers, competitive hard jumpers, are sound after age 15. Without injections? I don't know, and am not going to even venture a guess. But I will bet that if you take a H/J horse and a TWH and work them and show them every single year, the jumper is more likely going to last much longer. I am not stating facts, obviously. But I would personally bet on it.
How about TB's? How many are started as long yearlings, raced until they either don't have the heart or they break down? Then add in that OTTB's have become a very popular mount for high impact riding styles such as Jumpers and Dressage. How many of *those* horses are sound after 15? This is about TWH, not TB's. However, I do not agree with a lot of the racing industry either. But that's a whole 'nother topic :)
How about Reiners? Many of them are started at 2, ridden in futurities and such. Campaigned hard and then sold off. How many reiners, true competitive reiners are sound after 15?
You see? You can make this argument with every discipline.
All showing is done in the name of glory and money. Racing, Reining, jumping, Dressage, Western pleasure. All about the money and the glory. TWH aren't the only ones in the game you know.