Mr. Mark Twain is believed to have once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on,” but, in honesty, the great Samuel Clements – who famously wrote using Mark Twain as his pen name -- never had to deal with the shallow men who make sport out of abusing Tennessee Walking Horses.
In a revelation that produced an audible gasp from me on Friday, I was directed to a Facebook page that proclaims an ever-growing horse advocacy group “hates children.” No, what Friends of Sound Horses “hates” are the twisted psychopaths who encourage and continue to defile one of the most noble horse breeds the world has ever known.
The Facebook page, showing four very sick kids, proclaims “Friends Of Sound Horses – FOSH -- Hates Children” when, in fact, I had a noted pediatrician tell me just the opposite.
“Anyone who will purposely hurt an animal will harm a child. They are psychopaths,” he claimed and I believe that to be true.
Not long ago officials at the Batson Hospital for Children, which is in Jackson, Miss., and functions as a teaching hospital under the auspices of the University of Mississippi Medical College, requested those at the Mississippi Charity Horse Show please cease donating any money to the renowned children’s hospital. There is more than ample proof of horse abuse to Tennessee Walking Horses and the raw truth is Batson Hospital for Children wants no part of “dirty money.”
The Jackson show, which is held at the end of March, has been regarded as one of the “cruelest” arenas for horses that are purposely “sored” with caustic chemicals, action devices and heavy pads that hide irritants. The idea is to make the horses dance a devil’s dance that is both unnatural and nauseating to pure horsemen around the world.
The practice is clearly outlawed by the federal Horse Protection Act but at the 2014 National “Sore-abration” in Shelbyville, well over half of the horse randomly selected for testing were found “positive” by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture inspectors. That is why officials at the North Carolina State Fair have just announced there will be no Tennessee Walking Horse performance classes this year because that is the only way they can control the near-brazen cheating that has defiled the breed.
“Walking Horse exhibitors are welcome to show in non-trotting classes,” a North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture spokesperson said, noting that flat-shod horses would be welcomed.
Unbelievably, the Shelbyville-centered “Big Lick” is determined to resist change, and is unable to grasp the fact the sadistic methods are “killing the golden goose,” as witnessed by a medical center that has been given over a quarter-million dollars in recent years but now fears the money is too tainted by corruption and cheating to accept any longer.
Just as unbelievable is the Facebook Page that shows the faces of children under the hospital’s care who are now being used as innocent pawns to bolster the claim people who favor sound horses “hate children.” Are you kidding me? It’s the biggest joke in Facebook history and speaks reams to what depths despicable people will do to embrace their sadistic and nauseating form of blood sport.
The Facebook pages had 145 likes by mid-afternoon on Friday while more than 5,000 have voiced support for the hospital’s decision to disassociate itself from the horse show until it can be assured those who abuse animals are no longer part of it.
Keith Dane, who is vice president of Equine Services for the Humane Society of the United States, applauded the hospital decision, saying, “I hope this starts a trend among other charities who begin to realize that their good deeds are being funded in part with dirty money made at the expense of abused horses.”
A spokesperson for FOSH expressed deep remorse over the underhanded Facebook page. “This is not about targeting children. It is about letting charities know that money that they are receiving may be coming from tainted sources where illegal activity is part and parcel of the training process of these show horses.
“If they knew the source of this money, I don't believe that charities would take money from associations involved in selling drugs, would they? Charities wouldn't take money from groups involved in dog fighting or cock fighting, would they?
“Charities should not fund what is intended to be a public benefit by accepting money from groups whose fund raising activities are known to have a shady underbelly of inhumane treatment of the very animals whose backs the funds are raised upon,” one statement read.
Marc Rolph, associate director of public affairs for the University of Mississippi Medical Center said, "We are grateful for the generous support of the Charity Horse Show over the last several years. This support has included not only monetary contributions, but also opportunities for patients under our care to be involved.
"Although we are comfortable the Mississippi show complies with all applicable laws for the protection of horses, the national controversy over the way Tennessee Walking Horses are trained and handled — particularly those that perform in the 'Big Lick' style — has brought us to this decision,” he explained. “We are not in a position to evaluate the strongly held beliefs and assertions on either side of this issue, so our decision is intended to remove the Children's Hospital from the controversy.”
It is a “given” the medical center knows nothing – yet -- about the scurrilous Facebook page that shows patients’ photos and alleges those who want humane treatment for horses now hate children but the mere existence of such a page on Facebook proves beyond doubt one of the best things that ever happened to the Batson Hospital for Children was to shed itself of “The Big Lick.”
Oh, that the rest of us would be as fortunate.