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 Elizabeth II: A century in love with horses
By: Marty Irby - 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. […]
Will U.S. Supreme Court decide the fate of the Tennessee Walking Horse?
By: Marty Irby - 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 […]
Commentary: Congress needs to deliver comprehensive soring reform
By: Marty Irby - 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, […]
Commentary: Blackburn and Hagerty need to support mink-farming ban
By: Marty Irby - 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 […]
Commentary: Sabotage of anti-cruelty legislation by animal rights leaders
By: Marty Irby - 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 […]
Commentary: U.S. Senators need to sign on to Big Cat safety act
By: Marty Irby - 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. […]
Commentary: Cockfighting is uncivilized and barbaric. Tennessee shouldn’t tolerate it.
By: Marty Irby - 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 […]
Commentary: When will the Tennessee Walking Horse be Unchained?
By: Marty Irby - 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 […]