Skip to content

Let’s Tell Our Own Story!

Editor’s Note: Please read the story below with the situation currently facing the Tennessee Walking Horse in mind.  The tremendous amount of negative publicity currently being spread about this horse is unprecedented and neither the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association nor the Walking Horse Owners Association has offered one word of rebuttal.  This story is a vivid example of what can be done by us as individuals.  Please take it to heart!

It’s very important and all the buzz these days – tell your story.  If you are in the Walking Horse business, you need to tell your story!

I was recently sent an article by Deborah Williams that was printed in the Farm and Ranch Guide and it tells the story of a battered industry (agriculture) and what two people did about it.

Troy and Stacy Hadrick raise cattle and their troubles began with an article in the New York Times.  A New York food writer named Michael Pollan wanted to write a story about a steer from birth to dinner plate at Stacy’s parents’ ranch.

“Pollan came out and ate dinner with us and lied to us.  The story that ran said the Hadricks abused their livestock, polluted the air and grew food that made people sick” Troy said.   This misleading and critical article of their profession made them mad enough that they decided to get their story out to counteract all the lies, distortions and misrepresentations.

Obviously they were motivated to protect their livelihood but realized that only 2% of the population is involved in agriculture and the rest believed what they heard and read.  They began by learning how to communicate outside their peer group and prepared what they termed a “30 second elevator speech “to tell the public what they do , whether they are asked questions at a church buffet, on an airplane, at a grocery store or after a meeting.

They stressed the need to go into schools and talk about their profession to youth.   Stacy said “You will be a rock star to those kids.  Why aren’t you taking the time to shape future generations.”  Fellow ranchers bought in to the plan and the true story began to spread across the country. 

Next they turned to Facebook and started Advocates for Agriculture.  When something positive about agriculture was put on someone’s wall, they can hit share and it would go out to all their friends – and it doesn’t cost anything.

They started a website (  that told their story and enabled others in agriculture to tell their story. Troy says “one person in ten tells the other people how to vote, where to eat and what to buy and those in agriculture need to tell their side.”

They utilized YouTube in a unique way.  A certain Australian wine company had donated $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a group that spends only a small fraction of its money on the care of animals.  Troy was upset that this wine company depended on farmers to grow their grapes and HSUS was trying to put ranchers out of business.

So he and Stacy put a little video on YouTube.  They took a bottle of that wine and went out in their bull pen and poured it out and explained why they were doing it.  Troy linked their video to the company’s web page and there were 800 views the first day and between 2,000 and 5,000 the following days.

Next thing an Australian television network called them for an interview and the 15 minute interview was played in Australia.  Troy relates that “Fifteen days after this thing started, the wine company emailed them that they would no longer donate to HSUS.  They were going to donate $100,000 annually for three years and they cancelled the following two years.”

“We changed the future of donations and we didn’t have to leave home to do it,” Troy said.  “You can broadcast your story anywhere. Never forget you have influence on what others think of agriculture.  Let’s tell our own story.”

More Stories

  • Latest_Issue_June_25_18

    Read More
  • Christmas In July schedule update

    The Christmas In July show, scheduled for July 4-5, has modified their original class schedule. Class 32 will now be Amateur Country Pleasure Western and class 9a will be Amateur Country Pleasure English. Read More
  • Supreme Court Decision Holds ALJs Must Be Appointed

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Administrative Law Judges must be appointed by the department head and not how they are currently retained by the agency they represent.  The case, Lucia vs. the Securities and Exchange Commission, does not deal with administrative law judges in the USDA, however the ruling could have a major impact on the enforcement scheme currently utilized by the USDA in Horse Protection Act cases. Read More
  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. The beautiful stallion was the 1994 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More