The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw this article on USA Today and thought I would post a link:

Priscilla Presley campaigns against 'soring'

I'm really glad she's trying to do something about it. It's hard to understand how she could have been around Walking Horses for so long and not noticed the unconventional ways in which the show horses are shod. But maybe she really only had a couple of them for pleasure and didn't actually go to the shows, I have no idea.

Anyway, she's doing something to fight it now, which is great in my book. Go Priscilla!

I really don't understand the big lick folks. They are afraid of their industry going down the drain, but don't they see it's already in the sewer? Every single horse owner outside their small niche finds it grotesque and disgusting. And they are worried about their businesses? What about their reputation and the future of the breed? Shouldn't that count for something?

I still think the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse needs to be that of a Cadillac trail horse. So many people out west are looking for and riding gaited horses because they are so smooth and fun out on the trails. And they cost good money out here. I mean, $8,000-$10,000 some people are asking for gaited trail horses. It's outrageous. So why don't they re-promote the breed and breed for high-class trail horses? Surely they throw-out a lot of young stock when they are breeding for big lick. For every one horse that is a show ring star, how many are thrown out as basically worthless? Wouldn't it be better to get a fair price for each and every horse than breed to cull for show horses?

Or is the breed too far gone to be saved as an actual using horse? I hope that's not the case! I understand the show bloodlines are not the best trail bloodlines (or so I'm told) because they are high strung and pacey. But there just HAS to be some good naturally gaited horses still out there being bred. Right?

I was just talking to some ladies I was riding with the other day. I have an older Fox Trotter mare who is unsound and I was lamenting on how hard it is to find a decent gaited horse that is also affordable. And the gal was like, "yep, if I need another I will go back east." Sigh. I guess I just hate to see the breed ruined by the big lick show people when a lot of us would LOVE to have nice gaited trail horses.

The TWH definitely has an image problem. I just don't understand why they don't reinvent themselves as the Cadillac of trail horses. I'm sure that's why the Presleys ended up with them to begin with. That's why I have a Fox Trotter and most of the ladies I ride with have Fox Trotters or Walkers or Spotted Saddle Horses or Rocky Mountain horses. Peruvian Pasos.

Anyway, just thought I would post a link to the article. I wish TWH breeders would dump big lick and reinvent themselves. Maybe I am an eternal optimist, but I think the breed can be saved.

Just look at Midnight Sun. Why don't they breed for that? HE doesn't look like the horses of today. He looks like a total blast to ride!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,138 Posts
Because trail horses don't command big prices, nor do they shed glory upon their trainers. Once a breed goes down the glory road, it's a hard climb back to ordinary good horses, if they ever do get back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Oh the Big Lick, if the Lickers had their way, the entire breed would be shipped off to slaughter because "only padded horses are useful" mentality. The comments at the USDA meetings are just sickening. Yeah, you love your horse so much you will ship your entire farm to slaughter because you can't have pads and chains.

The TWH as a breed is still viable, how viable after the new rules, depends a lot on how all of us react going forward. Yes, the TWH has a lot of problems, from a PR standpoint, the soring has nearly destroyed the breed, pacing (which is required for the pads and soring) is very hard wired in many lines, especially the show lines, and a few of those show lines have some serious health issues.

Now, the larger questions will be:

1) How will smaller shows deal with the inspection rules?
2) Will "open" shows allow gaited classes?
3) Will other gaited breeds welcome the TWH to their shows (most do except for the padded division)
4) Will the flatshod TWH become a "go to" for gaited horse enthusiasts?

The soring has put a long shadow over the gaited horse in general, as a lover of the TWH and gaited horses in general, I cannot wait for the chains and pads to be gone, although soring will still be an issue, at least for another few years. Support the USDA in the HPA rules, please write in if you cannot attend one of the USDA meetings, and support the sound gaited horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,038 Posts
Elvis has a Tennessee Walker named Bear. He used to deck it out in parade gear and show off for his fans outside the Graceland gates. Priscilla rode horribly from what I saw on a documentary showing her riding, but that was years ago, maybe she improved, lol.
 
  • Like
Reactions: anndankev

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,414 Posts
I grew up watching TWH at one show per year....always thought they were so weird. I loved the Saddlebreds, and of course the jumpers.

Soring is a gawd awful practice...no horse should have to endure that...however, have you ever watched the flat shod horses show? There is very little discernable difference in the gaits, which makes it sooooo boring. If the industry depends on showing, it is sunk.

Trail horses do not generate enough revenue to be viable long term....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Because trail horses don't command big prices, nor do they shed glory upon their trainers. Once a breed goes down the glory road, it's a hard climb back to ordinary good horses, if they ever do get back.
I see you are in California. Are not the prices for gaited horses sky high there? I know I am at the low-end of the horse market, but when I look for a trail horse I am looking to spend around $2000. A lot of people are charging $8,000 or more in Arizona and California (from what I've seen in ads) for gaited trail horses. Not show horses. Not even necessarily well gaited horses, just well trained trail horses that can perform some type of gait. I think that's pretty good money for "just a trail horse."

How big of a market can there be for big lick anyway outside of Tennessee and the surrounding states?

Soring is a gawd awful practice...no horse should have to endure that...however, have you ever watched the flat shod horses show? There is very little discernable difference in the gaits, which makes it sooooo boring. If the industry depends on showing, it is sunk.
About flat shod horses being boring. Doesn't that go for pretty much every non-gaited horse show class as well? I mean, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, pretty much any regular, non-gaited ridden class, you are looking at a bunch of horses with almost identical movement. I don't see how a flat-shod gaited class would be any different. So I don't know. I don't go watch shows much anyway. If I do go, it's basically for the shopping. :wink:

Wasn't Midnight Sun flat shod? He looked pretty good to me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Trail horses do not generate enough revenue to be viable long term....
Out of curiosity, I wonder how much revenue the average sales horse needs to generate for a farm to be viable long-term?

Does the average horse need to be $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 or more? Are they actually getting those prices for the big lick horses? What about the horses that don't make the cut? Would you be better off getting a lesser price for each horse than big money for a single horse and have a lot of horses that don't make the cut? I wonder how the economics of it would work.

I think in the desert southwest, horses prices are high because we have to feed hay all-year-round. And the hay prices are high because it's a desert. Also, there is a high demand because there are a lot of retirees who like to trail ride gaited horses but there are very few breeders. So that's why I think we have high gaited horse prices. But I don't see why there aren't more horses shipped out here from places like Missouri where it is cheaper to raise and train them. It seems like there should be a good market for that. But what do I know. I don't breed horses. :think:

I just know that I once got a 16 yr old Fox Trotter broodmare for $500 and absolutely feel like I stole her because most places charge about $8000 for a gaited trail horse, whether it actually does the breed-appropriate gait or not. I mean seriously, I've met people that have paid $10,000 for Missouri Fox Trotters that step-pace instead of fox trot. If you are actually shopping for one, you pretty much give up if you are in my price bracket. That's why as much as I would love another gaited trail horse, when horse shopping I won't limit myself to gaited horses with my beer budget.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,138 Posts
I see you are in California. Are not the prices for gaited horses sky high there? I know I am at the low-end of the horse market, but when I look for a trail horse I am looking to spend around $2000. A lot of people are charging $8,000 or more in Arizona and California (from what I've seen in ads) for gaited trail horses. Not show horses. Not even necessarily well gaited horses, just well trained trail horses that can perform some type of gait. I think that's pretty good money for "just a trail horse."
When I look on Equine Now or Dream Horse the Walkers seem pretty much in line with other trail horses, price wise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
The vast majority of TWH owners don't show or sore or get involved in abusing their horses. There are plenty of barefoot or flatshod Walking Horse shows and registries that continuously grow. The TWHBEA membership numbers are falling, sure. But that's because of people like me who don't want to be affiliated with them because they refuse to condone Big Lick torture. Many who are angry with the TWHBEA have turned to alternate registries such as World Walking Horse Association and the International Heritage Walking Horse Association (History).

My sweet 4-year-old gelding (shown in my avatar pic at 14 months) is a great-grandson of Midnight Sun. There are many built like him out there that I've found, but I went out of my way to find Walking Horses who are bred old-style without any modern show breeding.

If you're on Facebook, there's a group called The Natural Tennessee Walking Horse. It's a large community of natural, barefoot or keg shod Walking Horse owners. They don't do sales on the page, though. Heritage Walking Horses is another group, they do have sales. There is another group called Gaited Endurance Horses and yet another one called The Versatility of the Gaited Horse and Gaited Mule. There is also a group called Only True Natural Gaited Horses. Colorado Gaited Trails is another one and they sometimes have trail horses up for sale by members. If you're on Fb, look around at these sites. I don't know how many of them do sales, but it can't hurt to connect with like-minded TWH enthusiasts.

From what I've heard, gaited horses are more pricey in California and certain other parts of the country. I've heard of people going out to Tennessee, buying cheap registered TWHs for trails and coming back and selling them in Cali for sky-high prices. I paid $1500 each for my horses (from Montana and Colorado), but they were babies. Around here (DFW, Texas), I would have paid a lot more for similar bloodlines. In Tennessee, I would have probably paid less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
I was having problems uploading the pics, but if you follow the link at the end of this paragraph, it'll lead you to excerpts from an ebook about Tennessee horse breeding back in the day. The Tennessee Walking Horse chapter starts on page 57 and if you go from there, you can see what the breed and the Celebration used to be before Big Lick abusers took it over. Governors, the rich and famous, entire towns used to celebrate the Walking Horse from what I've found. https://goo.gl/0naiqc

My favorite thing about the shows back then were the Ride-A-Thons. According to Franne Brandon: "Ride-A-Thons featured horses that could win at the shows on Saturday nights, then give their owners a comfortable trail ride, sometimes with a box lunch provided, at a Ride-A-Thon the next day." (pg. 4 http://twhheritagesociety.com/onewebmedia/NovemberDecember2015_Highlights.pdf)

The pics of these rides look so fun. I would totally get involved in natural TWH shows (I hate anything involving being in an arena) if a long trail ride with a lunch was promised the next day lol. What a great way to advertise trail horses.

Photo "The Ridathon near Shelbyville, Tennessee" (11/11/1941) is property of Tennessee State Library and Archives.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Regarding costs of production, in East TN (which is a low cost area compared to most) to put a foal on the ground and take it to weaning at 90 days will run in the $1500 to $2500 range. That's a big "delta" but it reflects the difference between doing it in the shadow of Nashville vice the shadow of Ten Mile as well as just normal variability. This cost does not include a stud fee. That can be significant if you're breeding to known blood or very modest if the stud is a "back yard horse." It also reflects that the folks around Ten Mile do a lot of their own maintenance vice calling the vet for routine stuff like vaccinations, etc.

So if you buy a foal in TN for under that range somebody just took a hit.

To raise a foal from 90 days to three years (my personal limit for starting saddle training) will run a minimum of $100/mo. That presumes pasture raising and minimal training of the foal. So now add $3300 to the foal cost.

So if you buy an unbroke horse for less than $4000-$5000 somebody has taken a hit.

Now you start the horse and the cost around here to get a youngster under saddle will begin at $750/mo. This will buy you a very young trainer, a very questionable trainer, or somebody who just likes to train youngsters. Figure 90 days to get this done and there's another $2250 into the horse.

Now if you buy this green broke horse for under about $7000 somebody has taken a hit.

Want to train the horse for a discipline (dressage, jumping, eventing, endurance, Working Equitation, etc.)? Plan for $1000/mo. This, again, will be a low end trainer. That does not necessarily mean a bad trainer.

These costs are TN costs; CA costs which will be significantly higher.

There will be a measure of variability in these numbers based on just where the people are doing their thing. But they are quite "ballpark" accurate, IME.

I'm a very long time, once quite active, opponent of the cabal of Basin Families that created the Big Lick and have defended it to the last. I'm pleased to see a real effort to end the systemic cruelty of the Big Lick system. Mrs. Presley may be late to the party but she ultimately came and that's a Good Thing. We should be happy she is lending her voice to the effort.

Not much a fan of the current administration, I'm afraid, but in this it appears that they are following the law in this initiative.

There WILL be some very strong, negative consequences for the Walker industry in the short term. Already depressed prices for horses will sink even lower as the big barns dump stock that can't comply with the new rules (and that could be a LOT of horses). The TWHBEA may not survive and that is a problem because if they go under what happens to their massive pedigree data base? There will be a lot of unemployed "trainers" looking for work and many of them couldn't train a frog to jump (all they know is "nailing on a gait"). Some rural TN counties will see big drops in tax revenue as farm land used by the big barns with their big facilities collapse in value. It will really be "buyer beware" when looking for trainers for some time. It won't all be sweetness and light.

G.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top