Yesterday I received this response to my blog post on the Tennessee Walker Horses. It is purported to be from William Ty Irby, so for the sake of this blog post we’ll assume it is actually he, although I can’t prove it. The IP addy of the person posting resolves to the appropriate place in Tennessee though. Mr. Irby Sr. is the father of Marty Irby, who was discussed at length in that blog post as a reformed “Big Licker” who is now a evangelic “Flatter.”
So, “Mr. Irby” has taken issue with what I’ve written, and the suggestion is that I’ve fallen for HSUS propaganda and lies. He writes:
“Ms Clemenceau: Please do not “throw around” my name, especially when you have no clue about which you speak! It is apparent from your article that YOU ARE ANOTHER OF THE GULLIBLE IDIOTS FALLING FOR THE HSUS PROPAGANDA & LIES! My son does not speak to me & has purposefully withheld his cell # from me! Where were you 44 years ago when the HPA was passed? How many performance horse shows have you personally attended & observed today’s inspection process for you to become an expert? Send me your email address & maybe I can send you some FACTUAL information to help better educate you on the matter! This would include FACTS disclosing my son Marty’s personal vendetta against the TN Walking Horse Celebration & the Chairman of it’s Board. Please try to learn more about the subject so you won’t be broadcasting incorrect information!”
Clearly, this comment, which you can read in the blog comments section, deserves to be called-out….
For years, the fox has watched the hen house in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. The “Lickers” turned the Tennessee Walker Horse into a freak show to the
general public and other horse owners. I can hardly bear to watch that awful flailing “gait” in the show ring, and the quality of riding in the “Big Lick” classes is the poorest I’ve ever seen of any breed show. Have I attended any “performance shows?” No, the short answer is that we don’t have any such shows in my part of the world, so the sum total of my experience comes from watching videos. That’s more than enough for me – thank god the “Big Lick” is unheard of where I live.
TWHBEA has lost members in droves, and it is solely due to reputation. You have lost the public and turned cheating into high art. And now the TWHBEA has backed itself into a corner because many flat-shod TWH owners won’t join with you, and why would they? On Feb. 21, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette ran a story quoting Mike Inman, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration (Sore-abration?) saying that the cost of most seats at the 2014 11-day show has been cut to less than half the usual price. Boxes with six seats that normally cost $575 will run $200 this year. And better boxes that normally cost $625 will be discounted to $500.
You’re fixated on blaming the HSUS when numerous other organizations that I highlighted in the original blog post all agree that penalties for soring need to increase. Not only is the PAST act backed by HSUS, but it is endorsed by veterinary groups. There is no indoctrination by HSUS or any other group. This is an effort to end a series of brutal practices that have been condoned and celebrated at the highest levels in the industry.
If soring, pads, chains, elongated hooves, long shanked bits, and all the other action devices used to create the “Big Lick” and cripple the breed were to go away, then good riddance to them. The physics and equine biomechanics that occur as a result of attaching these giant pads to the hoof confirms for me that the process is never benign. Unshod, flat shot, light shod are the only way to go. In my opinion, the only way to stop soring is to eliminate the “Big Lick” overall. Why should your industry be given any more opportunities to clean itself up – the abuse has gone on for decades, culminating with the arrest of Larry Wheelon.
And why would I give you my email address? In order that I can become the recipient of cringeworthy messages like the masterpiece sent to your son by Chip Weddington? If you had actually wanted to refute anything in my blog you could easily have done it in the blog comments. But you didn’t. If your son won’t give you his contact information, I can certainly understand why. Friends and family who condone abuse are not worth it.
Not everything out of Tennessee is as good as this: