Tennessee Walking Horse 2007 Celebration hopes to sidestep controversy

August 22, 2007

Leon Alligood of the Tennessean has a good story this morning on opening day of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville. Last year’s Celebration was a chaotic event with reams of bad publicity surrounding the longtime problem of”soring”–using painful means to get Walking Horses to perform the “Big Lick” step that so delights audiences.

As seen from the reaction to NFL quarterback Michael Vick and his dog-fighting, people increasingly oppose overt cruelty to animals. The Walking Horse industry, estimated at $267 million annually in the Tennessean article, has tolerated the soring practices over the years, with perennial “reforms” that never seem to stop the problem.

Let’s hope that last year’s Celebration, at which no Grand Champion was selected, will mark the tipping point for Walking Horses. I attended the Celebration years ago, and at its best the event honors beautiful horses and good people. There is no need for soring, and those who persist in doing so should be banned from show rings. Otherwise, they will be the death of this industry and a permanent black mark on a Tennessee tradition.

State saves Norris Lake State Park from development

August 22, 2007

The Knoxville News Sentinel brings the good news that the state of Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation has rejected plans for a $14 million Lighthouse Lodge and Convention Center within Norris Lake State Park.

Tennessee state parks have long contained restaurants and inns, such as the one at Fall Creek Falls State Park pictured below, but the Lighthouse effort would have dwarfed such facilities with, as the article described it, ” a restaurant, a hotel, a convention center, a 70-foot lighthouse, an observation deck, an ice skating rink and a tram system linking them together.”


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