Marty Irby

Marty Irby

Marty Irby is the executive director at Animal Wellness Action in Washington, D.C., and an eight-time World Champion equestrian who was named as one of The Hill's Top Lobbyists for 2019 and 2020, and was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @MartyIrby.

Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles with the late Queen Elizabeth and Monty Roberts (Photo: Monty Roberts)

Queen Elizabeth II: A century in love with horses

By: - September 17, 2022

The news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on Thursday traveled the globe faster than the death of any other monarch in world history in our modern technical age. The last time a British monarch passed, few people in the world had television sets, and those who did witnessed ceremonies in black and white.  […]

2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. (Photo: Margret Wood/Flickr)

Will U.S. Supreme Court decide the fate of the Tennessee Walking Horse?

By: - September 3, 2022

As the curtains close on the 84th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, I am reminded of the World Grand Champion crowned in 1992:  Dark Spirit’s Rebel, who claimed victory with the late Bud Dunn, his first World Grand Championship at the age of 74, and who wore the rider number 1865 to […]

Two-time World Grand Championship Tennessee Walking Horse Midnight Sun. (Photo:

Commentary: Congress needs to deliver comprehensive soring reform

By: - May 26, 2022

In March 1984, at only four years old, I made my first public show-ring appearance aboard Carbon Princess—the 1979 Tennessee Walking Horse World Champion Aged Mare. She was 18 hands tall and had the heart of a champion. More than that, she was my best friend. During that era, competitors came from far and wide, […]

mink farm. Photographer: Carsten Snejbjerg/Bloomberg

Commentary: Blackburn and Hagerty need to support mink-farming ban

By: - February 8, 2022

This week, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, helped shepherd a key amendment to end the factory farmed production of minks to passage in the House of Representatives. In doing so, he not only stood against needless cruelty to animals, but also for all of us in protecting humans against the next new emerging zoonotic disease. Mink […]

Two-time World Grand Championship Tennessee Walking Horse Midnight Sun. (Photo:

Commentary: Sabotage of anti-cruelty legislation by animal rights leaders

By: - September 3, 2021

It’s showtime again in Shelbyville, a phrase you’ll likely hear announcer Mark Farrar shout at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration that’s set to crown its 83rd World Grand Champion (WGC) on Saturday night. The 2021 World Grand Championship will likely be won by one of the two contenders who captured the preliminary World Championships […]

KEENESBURG, CO - April 5, 2020: One of the 39 tigers rescued in 2017 from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park yawns while relaxing at the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado. Exotic, star of the wildly successful Netflix docu-series Tiger King, is currently in prison for a murder-for-hire plot and surrendered some of his animals to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Sanctuary cares for some 550 animals on two expansive reserves in Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Commentary: U.S. Senators need to sign on to Big Cat safety act

By: - April 5, 2021

When historians discuss King Louis XIV, perhaps the best-known ruler in the history of France, they typically associate him with phrases such as “Louis the Great,” the “Sun King,” the age of absolutism, or with his reign of 72 years in the 17th and 18th centuries – the longest of any European monarch in history. […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Commentary: Cockfighting is uncivilized and barbaric. Tennessee shouldn’t tolerate it.

By: - February 26, 2021

The origin of cockfighting dates back thousands of years, but it was during Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage to the Philippines in 1521 that modern cockfighting was first documented by his chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, in the kingdom of Taytay. It’s a grisly and still-rampant blood sport, unnervingly present in the Volunteer State. Most states banned cockfighting in […]

Two-time World Grand Championship Tennessee Walking Horse Midnight Sun. (Photo:

Commentary: When will the Tennessee Walking Horse be Unchained?

By: - October 21, 2020

Last month the 82nd annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration ended in Shelbyville. It’s an event that’s been brewing with controversy  for more than half a century because of soring, where trainers inflict pain to horses’ front feet and legs to produce and artificial exaggeration of the natural gait, the “Big Lick.”  Before trainers began […]