Roy Exum: And Now, ‘The Real Big Lick’

Sunday, May 27, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about horses, and darn little about people, but when I first wrote about a notorious abuser known as Jackie “The Jerk” McConnell this time a week ago, I had no way of knowing that story would open such a can of worms it would result in hundreds of impassioned emails, a sickening look at the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, and the very real chance America can indeed bring an end to a half-decade of torturing and abusing beautiful animals.

Right now the top 20 horse trainers in the walking horse Rider’s Cup competition have amassed 164 violations of the federal Horse Protection Act, this in just the last two years. Anyone who dares to say these are “isolated incidents” or that the nauseating soring of show horses isn’t still a rampant scar on the walking horse world is most definitely a liar.

But just as a “big lick” thrills thousands at a walking horse show when the champion horses so deliciously prance before the crowd, the time has come for those who love a half-million registered walkers in the United State to come across with “a real big lick” that will overwhelm the questionable leaders, kayo the scurrilous trainers, and stifle the rich owners whose lust for the “blue ribbon” has far outplaced their morals.The rank-and-file people in the walking horse world have to realize that this is an election year in the United States.

Politicians, whether you think they deserve to be in the cell with Jackie the Jerk or not, are now running for all types of office on the national and state level. No matter the state where walking horses are kept, all of these politicians seek the same thing – your vote.

These politicians will promise you anything to get your nod and now is the time, especially in Tennessee and its surrounding states, to leverage the ghastly undercover video that the Humane Society has just provided of “Jackie the Jerk” walloping horses into hard-fisted legislation that will punish these atrocious creeps so badly that nobody will dare harm an animal – be it a walking horse or an alley cat.

Now, it is one thing to tell a political aspirant you want tougher laws. He’ll grab your hand, yell “Vote for me!” and his eyes will already be on his next mark. Don’t fall for that. No, you urge the candidate to come out publicly, long before the lobbyists get to him, and ask him to write down what he will do against animal abuse before the election. Then you make him sign it.

There are those who are running for judgeships. Ditto. There are men and women very eager to be the state legislator in your district. You are catching on. The walking horse people simply need to get a picture of Jackie the Jerk brandishing his electric cattle prod and, in a polite yet determined way, contact every soul who desperately wants your vote and get their “yeah” or – in horse  lingo – their “neigh.”

The walking horse community is governed by a very powerful group out of Shelbyville. While there are all kinds of rumors and accusations now flowing, there is good reason to believe that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam did not sign an animal protection bill the very day before Jackie the Jerk pleaded guilty because of influential persons whose interests, shall we say, lie elsewhere.

What every supporter who wants the industry cleaned up -- and the chronic abuse stopped -- needs to do is to write letters, make telephone calls and request a written “position statement” from every person running for public office. Believe me, campaign promises are like the wind but a signed document is an instrument that just might hold a candidate to his word.

If my guess is accurate, you are going to need it. Yes, the Justice Department is angry and you are angry but for “the real big lick” to work you have to set a fire under each candidate’s seat of the pants. You have to demand a written “position statement” in order to not only share it with every horseman and horsewoman you know but – remember this -- that you can send by registered mail to whoever is the winner the first morning after the election.

Don’t underestimate the cheaters. People have written me all week, warning me to “watch my back,” claiming that there are seedy types who will burn down my barn and shoot my livestock after I’ve shed some light, but I believe in the system. Believe it or not, it is exactly the same “system” the cheaters themselves will use with political “donations,” street signage and other favors in hopes of getting a politician’s favors in return. Horse lovers have to understand that they have the crooks out-numbered right now. In case you are still in your freshman year, people in politics consider a “number” as a vote on election day. Nothing matters more to them. Right now Barney “the Bum” Davis and Jackie “the Jerk” McConnell have equipped walking-horse people with the single most-powerful tool in the United States – a motivated vote.

Since time in memoriam, the good people have out-numbered the bad and, if the owners of a half-million walkers will unite and stand together against the sleaze, powerful laws on the federal and state level will soon help abolish trying to explain the bleeding scars and stinking caustic wounds on a wild-eyed horse to your kids. That is today’s “real big lick,” believe me.

Finally, there is one other trick that I guarantee will stop soring and abuse for good. Back long ago, when the Roman Empire was strong, there was this meager monk watering his grape vine one day when crowds of people were rushing to the Coliseum for a big show. They even urged the monk to go and, while his horse-hair habit was mighty hot, he took his seat high in the grandstands.

On the floor of the Coliseum a gladiator came running out and a defenseless slave was pushed out of a door on the other side. Everybody laughed as the gladiator chased the slave around and beat him up. Finally the slave crumpled to earth and the gladiator looked towards the rulers of the day. The board of directors gave the “thumbs down” and the gladiator savagely chopped the slave’s head off.

From high in the stands of the Coliseum, the monk watched in horror. He jumped to his feet and shouting, “Stop! Stop in the name of Christ, stop!” the little monk made his way down the aisle. He was waving his arms and weeping as he brushed past hundreds who had come to see the “sport.”

“Stop! Stop in the name of Christ, stop!” he kept yelling, scampering over the lower wall in his sandals. At first the crowd laughed, thinking it was folly and part of the entertainment, but then they hushed as the little monk, tears in his eyes, knelt before the gladiator to plead, “Stop! In the name of Christ, stop!”

The bewildered gladiator didn’t know what to do. So he looked at the board of directors and they, immediately fearful that one brave man could cut into the concessions-stands profits, signaled “thumbs down.”

As the monk cried “Stop! Stop in the name of Christ, stop!” the gladiator ran his two-edged sword through the monk’s chest. But as the Holy Man lay dying in the sand, from near where he had been sitting he saw two men begin to walk out of the Coliseum. In Section EE the same happened. Then it grew in momentum with those in Section Y, B, G and Q quick to follow. Silently, with not one person uttering a single word, the entire Coliseum emptied that day until only the board of directors remained.That’s how the blood sport ended at the Roman Coliseum. Really.

I’ll guarantee you the soring and abuse of walking horses will stop if the crowds quit going and good people walk out. I hope we never have to use such a “big lick” but it is fail-proof. It made gladiators extinct. Curiously, the little monk’s words still ring just as true today: “Stop! Stop in the name of Christ, stop!"

royexum@aol.com


Any Investigation Into The Recent Event Should Be With An Open Mind

The Not-So-Gay Pride Week

Waiting For A Presidential Candidate With Character - And Response


There have been several instances here and around the nation where someone did or could have lost their freedom because an innocent touch was mistaken as sexual preying on a child. The local ... (click for more)

Thank you for the Chattanoogan article excerpting comments expressed about "Pride Week" at the Chattanooga City Council meeting this week. Apparently now June is LGBT Pride Month but now October ... (click for more)

In the time remaining before the 2024 election for President, all of us have monumental decisions to make. Who can fill what will be void of leadership? Biden is too old and Trump is so burdened ... (click for more)



Opinion

Any Investigation Into The Recent Event Should Be With An Open Mind

There have been several instances here and around the nation where someone did or could have lost their freedom because an innocent touch was mistaken as sexual preying on a child. The local priest some years back, out with family at a restaurant. His niece sitting on his lap and he was absent-mindedly patting and rubbing her leg. The Middle Eastern family living in Texas who ... (click for more)

The Not-So-Gay Pride Week

Thank you for the Chattanoogan article excerpting comments expressed about "Pride Week" at the Chattanooga City Council meeting this week. Apparently now June is LGBT Pride Month but now October has been declared LBGT History Month, in case you did not get enough of it in June. There have been strong objections raised about events targeting "youth" after videos of very young ... (click for more)

Breaking News

42-Year-Old Man Drowns At Boat Dock On Chickamauga Lake Saturday

A 42-year-old Hamilton County man drowned at a boat dock on Chickamauga Lake on Saturday afternoon. It was near Erwin Marina, but marina officials said the incident happened at a public boat dock, and not at the marina. TWRA Officers responded to a 911 call around 2 p.m. for a missing person. A man loading a Bayliner cabin cruiser boat had disappeared. Witnesses said ... (click for more)

Fleischmann Praises The Release Of Matthew Heath From Captivity In Venezuela

Representative Chuck Fleischmann on Saturday praised the release of Tennessee resident and Marine Corps veteran Matthew Health, who had been held captive in Venezuela for over two years. “Praise God that Matthew Heath has been released from his wrongful captivity and is coming home to his family. Throughout the over two years that Matthew was held, his family never gave up ... (click for more)

Sports

Mocs Have Big Second-Half Comeback To Win At ETSU

Allym Ford ran for two of three fourth quarter touchdowns as the UTC Mocs came back from a 13-0 halftime shutout for a victory at ETSU. Holding the Bucs to only a second half field goal, Chattanooga won 24-16. It was the fourth largest comeback in school history and the largest halftime deficit overcome. The three larger were 18 points each against Furman (10/23/2010) and ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Hoops Team Begin Practice Saturday

If it’s October 1, then it is college basketball time in Tennessee. With the official practice opening for NJCAA basketball, Cleveland State’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach Evelynn Thompson and Rafael Howard, Head Men’s Basketball Coach enthusiastically release their 2022-2023 season schedule. Falling just one game short of going to the 2021-2022 National Tournament, the Lady ... (click for more)