The Big Lick

I am going to take a break from tradition and talk about something other than myself.? (Although I will still be using many sentences with “I” in them – here comes the first one …)
I was scrolling through Facebook of an evening when I came across this picture of a Tennessee Walking Horse called “The Dixie Lineman”.
I know a non-horsey person might have to study it for a little longer but it still took me a couple of seconds to comprehend what I was actually looking at.? Wow!!? What can I say?? There is not one thing I can find right with this image. But what you see here is not the whole picture.? Allegedly this horse spent the previous evening in a lot of pain:
I am currently awaiting a reply from Robynne Catheron so I can substantiate her comment.? But I have researched her background and I am prepared to take the above comment as true.
These are what “stacks” or pads look like:

Now.? I know absolutely nothing about showing Tennessee Walking Horses but I do have a fairly good sense of right and wrong.? And I get the impression that this is more than wrong.? It is evil.
I noticed that the image posted on Facebook had some details typed under it –
Gail Walling, up
Trained by: Rodney Dick
of Finishline Farms,
Unionville, TN
Owned by: Judy McDonald
of Bell Buckle, TN.
I decided to try to contact the three people mentioned and ask them why?? Why do this?? How do you become a person who thinks it is ok to do this to another being?? I want to know.
But I thought I ought to learn a little more about this first.? I live on the other side of the world.? Never believe what you see on the internet.? Research a topic before commenting an opinion on it.? Facebook is not real life.? Check, Check, Cross-reference, Check.
I was really happy to discover that not every rider, owner or trainer abuses their horses.? Not at all.? Just rather too many of them.
Below is a video that does contain some very upsetting footage.? And I do apologise for including it but I felt it was necessary.? It is 17 minutes long but the research that has gone into it far surpasses anything I could do on my laptop.? Where possible I have cross-referenced sources and have included them at the bottom of this article alongside all the other sources used in my research.

After watching many videos and reading numerous articles about The Big Lick classes and “soring” I was sobbing.? How can any one person do this to their horse let alone make an unashamed career from it.? The truly weird thing was how proud many of these members were of their traditions.
And they seem to think this abuse is their due – CELEBRATION BIG LICK SPOKESPERSON COCK FIGHTER B.L.COZAD,JR. says Walking Horse Trainers have a constitutional right to sore Tennessee Walking Horses (private property) if the animal cruelty helps them support their families.
I thought I better start with the owner.? After all she is the one ultimately responsible for the well-being of an animal in her care.? And she might not be aware of what is happening to her horse.? I know of several people who have sent horses away to be trained by highly recommended people only to discover their horse has been inappropriately treated.
judy mcdonald
Oh!? How naive am I?? She looks quite sweet here, doesn’t she?? In her Facebook Profile picture.
Aw Bless!? A sweet little old lady aged 79 years of age.? Judy Mcdonald of 3 Castle Walk, Tullahoma, TN 37388.? We know where you live.? I found it within minutes on GoogleMaps
With her court records listed simply as 10+ for violations of animal cruelty.
Here is a link to one of them:,%20Walling,%20&%20Beard_Redacted.pdf
Yep!? Grandma here is a serial abuser of horses.? I have not found an email address for her yet.? But I am working on it.? One question Judy – is the Vincent McDonald listed as living at the same address your husband?? He looks too old to be your son.? Yes.? I have seen a picture of him too.? I would have made a perfect stalker if only someone was worthy of my attentions.
I did find most of her telephone number on Spokeo but would have had to pay to get the rest of it.
But I decided against it.? After all Gail M Walling (59) of 2980 Fairfield Pike, Wartrace, TN 37183 (telephone number 931-389-6057)and married to Mark Walling (employed by Shoe Man 61) was much easier to trace.? (I seem to remember finding out about Ashley and Heather Walling too.? Her kids?? Perhaps?) She seems quite proud to be infamous.? Photos abound of this woman riding in what I now know to be Big Lick classes.
I found an email address for Gail Walling.? So I sent her this:

I am trying to find the correct Gail Walling. Is it you?

hello.? i am very sorry to bother you but i am searching for an old friend from school.? her name is or was gail walling.? but i have discovered there are over 40 gail wallings in tennessee.
if you are the correct one:
i am angharad davenport-scott and you have known me since 1965.? we both rode horses since we were little girls and competed at show-jumping.? i think they call it stadium jumping in america.? you moved there in 1980.
if you are not the correct one:
oh well – another one checked off the list.? lol

Unfortunately the email address is no longer valid.? So the search continues on that too.
Onwards and upwards and now I turn my attentions to Rodney Dick of Finishline Farms in Unionville, Tennessee.? How odd!!? This man has absolutely no online presence.? Luckily the same cannot be said about his half-brother (to a different mother) Bradley Dick who is all over the internet.? Shouting from the roof-tops to BAN the Big Lick!!? Yey!!
I will continue to search for their email addresses.? And I will search for those of other abusers too.? I am fully aware that they will not reply to me.? And that they are so heartless that receiving a missive from a Welsh bird across a great big pond will make no difference to how they see the world and how they see their actions.? But I am going to do it anyway.
It will go something like this:
Dear (?? – um…maybe not) Person
Without resorting to using examples of other people being cruel to other animals in other “sports”, or using financial gain as a reason, please could you explain to me how you justify your treatment of your, and your clients’, horses?
I am fascinated by the fact you can publically inflict horrendous levels of torture to such a noble creature and not only get away with it but actually have your evil behaviour applauded.? Amazing!? I almost want to applaud your audacity – although definitely not your actions.
Does no-one ever question you?
Would you do comparable things to a child?
What on earth does your veterinary practise say about all this?? Surely they do not condone this?? Or if they do, I would not mind betting they don’t advertise the fact to their more discerning clients.
[ok readers, we are jumping out of the letter for a moment.? below is listed some of the veterniary practises in tullahoma, wartrace, bell buckle and unionville that have email addresses or websites.? i intend to send them the email that is below the below addresses.
OH!!? and many more besides.? you have access to google yourself.? but if you are up for a challenge why not email some or all of them yourself?? i find it a good way to “vent”.? at the end of the day we all live in communities and we are affected by those who surround us.? these big lick people will need to use vets.? and if everytime they do that vet comments something then surely it will eventually eat into their consciousness.? like water torture.? slowly, slowly, drip a? buse.
i propose sending something along these lines:
Dear Doctor Blah Blah
It has recently come to my attention that certain members of your community are indulging themselves in heinous acts of cruelty to their horses.? As far as I can gather they are obsessed with winning small lengths of flat ribbon fashioned into rosettes coupled with some wreath-formed flowers.? I do not feel the recompense is worth a life time of being tortured by red-necks.? Do you?
If you are condoning such behaviour I call upon you to remember that you are a vet.? Sir!!? (I know and madam too but I feel Sir!! was more dramatic.)? Sir!!? You hold within you a sacred duty to help animals first before you help yourself to their owners’ finances.? Shame on you for not doing something about this terror that is within your midst.? Are you telling me that you go about your duties within a community and DO NOT HEAR of things that are going on.? Really?? I live in a french farming community and everybody knows everything about everyone. (Or so they like to think.)? But for the most part life is lived very much in the public eye.? I cannot even pee in a field without a bonjour! from a hidden farmer fixing his fences.
So you think that you can tell me that you have never heard of an entire industry that revolves around cruelty that is within your own community.
I believe in faries too.
Yours with hugs and kisses
And we are back to the other letter:
Please will you read this article?? I feel it could give you an insight into your abnormal behaviour.
And this one:
And this one too:
Do you remember when you were a small child?? A little innocent creature toddling around the farm.? What did you think of all the beautiful animals?? Did you love them?? Pet them?? Bury your baby face into their warm fur and inhale their innocent creature smell?? Loving their warmth and their soft, velveteen muzzles?? Or did you twat them about the head with an electric cattle-prod just like your Pa does?? Can you remember?? Will you try?? Because children are not normally born vicious.? They learn that behaviour.? And while they are learning it they are not normally comfortable with such lessons.? You must have been afraid at first.? You must have known, on some childish level, that what your father was doing was wrong.? You must have.? Go back to that place.? Think.? Please.? Your horses beg you to.? I beg you to.? Sanity demands you to.
Mahatma Gandhi, I am sure you will have heard of him, Indian dude, no hair, Lennon-style glasses, said : ?The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated?.? Wow.? Think on.? I have a funny feeling if you were to be judged by this you would be found wanting.? How does that make you feel?? Can you feel?? Can you feel guilt, empathy, love?? Could you pass a doctor’s Psychopathy Test?
1600?s philosopher John Locke suggested, ?Harming animals has a destructive effect on those who inflict it?.? If you cannot stop hurting the horses perhaps you could stop hurting yourself and save the horses by way of default.
Anna Freud advised, ?Cruelty can be a symptom of character disorder?.? How does that statement make you feel?
“Most researchers agree that animal abuse is not just the result of a personality flaw in the abuser, but a symptom of a deeply disturbed background. Perpetrators of violence against animals are predominantly adolescent males, who come from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
Studies show children who abuse animals have been victims of abuse themselves, have witnessed domestic violence in the home or learn from their parents to react to anger or frustration with violence. These children perpetrate that violence against a vulnerable member of their household, usually the companion animal.” [1]
Do you agree?? Do you care?? Do you even understand?? Did your father shag your dog?
Lots of Love


7 replies on “The Big Lick”

The Big Lick ! A ” CELEBRATION ” of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Celebration,????? How can one celebrate such Blatant, Evil, Obscene acts of cruelty ! ! ! ! What most concerns me is that participants of this Barbaric event, see nothing wrong in what they are doing and apparently neither do their Veterinary Profession. ! ! It beggars belief.

Liz – have a peek at your facebook page. I have left you contact details of one of the two practices who “tend” to Judy McDonald’s horses. I have contacted them myself and am awaiting a response. I am also “talking with” several “controlling bodies”. I am using quotation marks because I strongly feel I am being lied to. An american reader of my blog who is a psychotherapist had expressed an opinion that people in the video are displaying facial tics indicative of liars. mmmmmmmm? i think he may be correct.

If you think the soring is bad, and those 8-12lb shoes are bad, just check out “stewarding”. For those blissfully unaware what “stewarding” is, because the padded TWH is inspected to see if the horse is “compliant” the horse’s pasterns are rubbed. If the horse flinches he is deemes sore and not allowed to show. So to prevent the horse from flinching during papation, the horse is hit with a baseball bat or a cattle prod to the head/face if the horse flinches from pain. This teaches them a worse pain will happen if they flinch.
I’ve rehabbed over a dozen former Big Lick horses and the trauma and PTSD the horse’s carry is devestating. It takes months to years and some never recover.
Just google HSUS Jackie McConnell and you will see stewarding and soring in action.
Please help us by going to the USDA and leave a comment in support of the USDA removing stacks and chains and revamping the crooked HIO inspections.
Also please contact your Representatives and Senators and ask their support in the PAST Act and to support the USDA against the Big Lick’s paid politicians Sen Mitch McConnell ($800K in donations) and Rep Lamar Alexander ($100K+) in support of removing abuse from the TWH.

I am almost lost for words. Well done, Jane Lutz, for taking the time to re-hab over 12 horses! Well done! I know how hard it is to rehabilitate traumatized horses but I cannot imagine how hard it must be to recover from the abuses these animals have had to endure. The world needs many more like you.

Bravo! Your article and style are worthy of awards. Thank you so very much. I am the President of Friends of Sound Horses, an organization that has been battling this evil of soring for 15 years (soring is the deliberate infliction of pain used to create the Big Lick gait): There is one major show left in this season and a petition is taking off to protest it in North Carolina where there will be about 40 Big Lick classes. It can be signed here: We cannot thank you enough for using your writing talents to spread the word.

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