INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS

A girl named Sissy and a horse named Awesome Gal meet after fleeing abuse, and begin a journey of hope, healing, and triumph.

MISSION STATEMENT

My mission is to end the horrific practice of soring that Awesome endured. Though I cannot change Awesome’s past, I can change the future for thousands of other horses suffering the same abuse by telling her amazing story. This touching account will expose the dark side of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and inspire anyone struggling through hardships.

MOVIE TRAILER

Soring

Soring images courtesy of USDA

The unnatural “Big Lick” gait of the Tennessee Walking horse is achieved by the vicious act of soring.  Soring has many facets:

  • Application of chemicals to the ankles and shin and wrap in plastic
  • Grinding the soles of the feet using an electric grinder until blood comes to the surface
  • Applying a 6” stack which weighs up to 15 pounds to the sole
  • Inserting foreign objects between the soles of the feet and the stacks
  • Taping golf balls or wood to the sole
  • Forcing a horse to stand on wooden blocks for hours or days
  • Applying 6 ounce chains to the ankles
  • Placing the horse’s head through a tire and tie the horse so his neck will arch
  • Severe bits

How can these mistreated horses pass inspection?

  • Using salicylic acid to keep the leg scar free
  • “Stewarding”—performing a mock inspection, when the horse reacts to pain he will be beaten until he stops reacting to the pain
  • Numbing agents
  • Placing surgical staples under mane to create pain
  • Putting zip ties on the gums to create pain and to take the horse’s mind off his feet

When one technique becomes detectable, another one is developed.

Footage courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States

(WARNING: This video contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers.)

The PAST Act

(Prevent All Soring Tactics)

In 1970 the Horse Protection Act was passed which prohibits sored horses from participating in shows and prohibits transportation of sored horses to events.

The horses affected were Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.

Because of limited funds given to the USDA to enforce the law, Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) were trained to inspect for soring with the USDA making spot checks.  Unfortunately, in 2010, the USDA Inspector General found a huge discrepancy between the rate of violations identified by the industry-selected inspectors and the USDA inspectors.  The industry-selected inspectors were grossly undercounting violations due to conflicts of interest.

House Bill 1847, The PAST Act,will stop soring through legislation.

This movie will bring awarenes of this horrific practice to the entire nation.  No abuser will be able to hide any more.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD BY DONATING NOW!

 

Frank M Calo is an Independent Producer and Director whose film THE BELIEVER, starring Ryan Gosling and Billy Zane won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Festival.  That film won all the festivals that year including The Berlin Film Festival.  It was shown nation wide and had a great box office run.
His film, HERE & THERE with Cyndi Lauper and David Thornton has won the BEST NY NARRITIVE IN WORLD COMPETITION 2009 at Robert DeNiro’s, Tribeca Film Festival in NYC and had it’s official News York premier played to wide audiences domestically and overseas.

Mr. Calo has worked with Robert DeNiro (Godsend), Demi Moore, Mike Myers, Shelly Winters, Marlon Brando and many more.  His film THE COOKOUT with Queen Latifah also had a great box office run distributed by Lions Gate Films.  He also worked for two years with The Motion Picture Bond Company under Robert Bordiga, as a Producer working on films throughout the tri-state areas.  He is currently working on two featured films entitled JOHNNY POSTAL and EYES OF THE KINGS along with a TV pilot entitled ESQ starring Dayton Callie from Sons of Anarchy.

Frank Calo

Director, Producer

Frank M Calo is an Independent Producer and Director whose film THE BELIEVER, starring Ryan Gosling and Billy Zane won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Festival.  That film won all the festivals that year including The Berlin Film Festival.  It was shown nation wide and had a great box office run.
His film, HERE & THERE with Cyndi Lauper and David Thornton has won the BEST NY NARRITIVE IN WORLD COMPETITION 2009 at Robert DeNiro’s, Tribeca Film Festival in NYC and had it’s official News York premier played to wide audiences domestically and overseas.

Mr. Calo has worked with Robert DeNiro (Godsend), Demi Moore, Mike Myers, Shelly Winters, Marlon Brando and many more.  His film THE COOKOUT with Queen Latifah also had a great box office run distributed by Lions Gate Films.  He also worked for two years with The Motion Picture Bond Company under Robert Bordiga, as a Producer working on films throughout the tri-state areas.  He is currently working on two featured films entitled JOHNNY POSTAL and EYES OF THE KINGS along with a TV pilot entitled ESQ starring Dayton Callie from Sons of Anarchy.

At age 7, Deborah Ring started riding at a summer day camp. From then on she was hooked on horses and involved in many types of riding – dressage, cross- country, hunting, jumping, western. Six years ago she started training Tennessee Walking horses and learned about the hideous practice of soring, the application of caustic chemicals to the horses’ pasterns to force a high stepping ‘Big Lick’ gait. Mrs. Ring has found that Tennessee Walkers have a very gentle disposition and are the most intelligent of any breed she has worked with. They are also stoic; thus, the ability of trainers to practice soring without argument from the horse.
Mrs. Ring is a Nurse Practitioner and veteran with 26 years of service. She has worked with youth groups such as 4-H and Boy Scouts, and the Little League Challenger Division.
She is married with two grown children, a rescue beagle mix, and owns Awesome Gal.

Debby Ring

Executive Producer

At age 7, Deborah Ring started riding at a summer day camp. From then on she was hooked on horses and involved in many types of riding – dressage, cross- country, hunting, jumping, western. Six years ago she started training Tennessee Walking horses and learned about the hideous practice of soring, the application of caustic chemicals to the horses’ pasterns to force a high stepping ‘Big Lick’ gait. Mrs. Ring has found that Tennessee Walkers have a very gentle disposition and are the most intelligent of any breed she has worked with. They are also stoic; thus, the ability of trainers to practice soring without argument from the horse.
Mrs. Ring is a Nurse Practitioner and veteran with 26 years of service. She has worked with youth groups such as 4-H and Boy Scouts, and the Little League Challenger Division.
She is married with two grown children, a rescue beagle mix, and owns Awesome Gal.

Cameron Ring

Cameron was born and raised in California before moving to Virginia for college. It was around this time his family rescued Awesome Gal.  Awesome was shy and traumatized due to the abuse she endured; but Cameron and Awesome would form a unique bond that got stronger as the years went on. Four years ago Cameron changed careers and moved to New York to pursue acting.  He starred in both theater and film productions, including “Prophet: The Story of Nat Turner,” “Pet Lawyer,”  “Anadellia Rises,” and “Breaking Point.”  Cameron realized the power of cinema in telling stories, and he wanted to use that power to tell Awesome Gal’s story. Though we cannot change Awesome’s past, the film can help change the future for thousands of other horses suffering the same abuse. Follow his work here

Cameron Ring

CEO, Producer

Cameron was born and raised in California before moving to Virginia for college. It was around this time his family rescued Awesome Gal.  Awesome was shy and traumatized due to the abuse she endured; but Cameron and Awesome would form a unique bond that got stronger as the years went on. Four years ago Cameron changed careers and moved to New York to pursue acting.  He starred in both theater and film productions, including “Prophet: The Story of Nat Turner,” “Pet Lawyer,”  “Anadellia Rises,” and “Breaking Point.”  Cameron realized the power of cinema in telling stories, and he wanted to use that power to tell Awesome Gal’s story. Though we cannot change Awesome’s past, the film can help change the future for thousands of other horses suffering the same abuse. Follow his work here

Charles Nuckolls is a writer, director and producer of film, television and theatre. He holds a BFA in Film and Television Production from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and a MA in Theatre from Hunter College.

Having developed work in Europe, Asia, North America and the Caribbean, his programming has been seen on national cable, PBS and local broadcast networks.

Other exhibitions include Urbanworld Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Williamstown Film Festival, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Video Frontiers Festival, Perugia; The New Foundation, Seattle; and PRX Public Radio Exchange.

His awards include: Emmy Award Nomination, National Academy of Television Arts And Sciences; Best Documentary, National Federation of Local Cable Programmers; Silver Cindy Award, Association of Visual Communicators; Best Long Documentary, New York University Video Festival – Two Consecutive Years.

He has received grants from the American Film Institute and Writers Guild of America.

Mr. Nuckolls teaches film at the School for Visual Arts in New York City and is a member of the Playwrights/Directors Unit of the Actors Studio.

Charles Nuckolls

Screenwriter

Charles Nuckolls is a writer, director and producer of film, television and theatre. He holds a BFA in Film and Television Production from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and a MA in Theatre from Hunter College.

Having developed work in Europe, Asia, North America and the Caribbean, his programming has been seen on national cable, PBS and local broadcast networks.

Other exhibitions include Urbanworld Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Williamstown Film Festival, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Video Frontiers Festival, Perugia; The New Foundation, Seattle; and PRX Public Radio Exchange.

His awards include: Emmy Award Nomination, National Academy of Television Arts And Sciences; Best Documentary, National Federation of Local Cable Programmers; Silver Cindy Award, Association of Visual Communicators; Best Long Documentary, New York University Video Festival – Two Consecutive Years.

He has received grants from the American Film Institute and Writers Guild of America.

Mr. Nuckolls teaches film at the School for Visual Arts in New York City and is a member of the Playwrights/Directors Unit of the Actors Studio.

Shannon Spangler is a Texas native and graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in Drama and History. Short films in which she has appeared have won the IndieWork’s Audience Choice Award, Best Film at the Seoul International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival, Indie Fest’s Award of Merit, and have been featured at Cannes, HollyShorts Film Fest, the Female Eye Film Festival, and WorldFest Houston. She is a meticulous planner (usually color-coded), and avid reader and runner. She lives in Brooklyn.

Shannon Spangler

Actress

Shannon Spangler is a Texas native and graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in Drama and History. Short films in which she has appeared have won the IndieWork’s Audience Choice Award, Best Film at the Seoul International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival, Indie Fest’s Award of Merit, and have been featured at Cannes, HollyShorts Film Fest, the Female Eye Film Festival, and WorldFest Houston. She is a meticulous planner (usually color-coded), and avid reader and runner. She lives in Brooklyn.

Doug Sloan is a much respected wrangler, stunt coordinator, and stunt double. He has worked with variety of animals but specializes in horses. Because of his ability to get animals, especially horses, to perform numerous functions in a safe manner, he is highly sought after by the film industry. Doug realizes time is money, especially when working on a production timetable. His credits include enormous films such as Lincoln and Gettysburg and TV series such as Turn and John Adams.

Doug Sloan

Horse Wrangler/ Actor

Doug Sloan is a much respected wrangler, stunt coordinator, and stunt double. He has worked with variety of animals but specializes in horses. Because of his ability to get animals, especially horses, to perform numerous functions in a safe manner, he is highly sought after by the film industry. Doug realizes time is money, especially when working on a production timetable. His credits include enormous films such as Lincoln and Gettysburg and TV series such as Turn and John Adams.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Greg Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society, for supporting this

project from its inception.

Linda Waggaman Photography

Photographer

IG: @waggamanphotography

Email: waggamanphotography@gmail.com