Based on these photos alone, I can tell you that if there is a hell on earth for horses, Wheelon's barn on the day of the raid was it. The horses were clearly suffering at the hands of their persecutors.
Trainers who coerce their horses into performing the "big lick" will go to great lengths to conceal their misdeeds. We expect denials and counter-claims when the evidence of their cruelty is pushed into the public domain - the equivalent of people denying that the sky is blue. We witnessed this when we released the findings of our latest undercover investigation on ThorSport Farm, a major Tennessee walking horse training barn. (It's been months since we turned over our evidence from the ThorSport investigation to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, and the sheriff has still not taken action.)
In Wheelon's case, the evidence compelled a grand jury to indict him for aggravated cruelty to livestock and conspiracy to commit aggravated cruelty to animals - 15 felony charges and three misdemeanors. But in May 2015, based on a technicality, a Blount County judge granted Wheelon's motion to suppress all evidence obtained during the search, letting Wheelon off the hook and free to get back to business as usual.