What Is Horse Soring? (Correct answer)

  • Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel and kerosene —are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.

What is the purpose of horse soring?

Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.

Is soring a horse illegal?

A. In addition to being inhumane and unethical, soring is a violation of federal law. The Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA) made soring illegal, punishable by fines and imprisonment. The HPA makes it illegal for sored horses to participate in shows, sales, exhibitions or auctions.

What is soring in horse training?

Soring is the unethical and illegal practice of deliberately inflicting pain to exaggerate the leg motion of gaited horses (such as Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses and Racking Horses) to gain an unfair advantage in the show ring.

What chemicals are used in soring horses?

Examples of agents used in chemical soring are mustard oil, diesel fuel, kerosene, salicylic acid, and other caustic substances on the pasterns, applied on the bulbs of the heel, or coronary bands, causing burning or blistering of the horse’s legs.

Is the Big Lick illegal?

It is illegal in the U.S. under the Horse Protection Act of 1970. It is closely associated with a unique high-stepping action of the front legs called “big lick” movement in show ring Tennessee Walking Horses. Other breeds that have a history of soring including the Racking Horse and the Spotted Saddle Horse.

Is the Big Lick illegal in Canada?

CRTWH is incorporated under Agriculture Canada’s Canadian Animal Pedigree Act. There have never been ‘Big lick’ classes offered at shows in Canada. The Canadian rules for showing TWH are listed in Equine Canada, and are for flat shod or barefoot horses only.

Is horse soring illegal in Canada?

Heartland has not shied away from controversial topics in an effort to enlighten its audience about things they may not be aware concerning the equine world. Soring is one of these things that is frowned upon and is illegal but sadly still exists.

How do you stop a horse from soring?

Soring methods include applying caustic chemicals, using plastic wrap and tight bandages to “cook” those chemicals deep into the horse’s flesh for days, attaching chains to strike against the sore legs, inserting hard objects such as screws and resins into tender areas of the hooves, paring the soles of the feet down

Are Tennessee walking horses good for beginners?

Generally, Tennessee Walking Horses are good beginner horses and have all the traits necessary to be an excellent choice for novice riders: they’re sure-footed, willing, have a smooth gait, and a calm temperament. But as with any animal, some may not conform to breed standards.

How did the Big Lick start?

During the first half of the 1800s, settlers moved into the area around what is now known as Oakboro. According to the late Fred T. Morgan, there were salt licks in the area that attracted many deer that were seen to be licking these marshy holes in the ground. Due to this, the area eventually became known as Big Lick.

Are show horses abused?

Abuse Often Results in More Abuse One disturbing form of abuse performed on the vast majority of horses showing in reining and stock horse breed shows such as AQHA and APHA is known as “doing” horses’ tails. This barbaric procedure involves injecting the horses’ tail heads with substances to deaden the nerves.

Can Tennessee walking horses gallop?

Just like any horse Tennessee Walkers can walk, trot, gallop and run. The breed is characterized by their unique smooth walking gate that is particularly comfortable to ride as opposed to a trot that can get rough on riders if they are not accustomed to riding.

What is a foundered horse?

Founder is a common cause of lameness in horses. It involves damage to the laminar connection between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. This often leads to rotation and/or sinking of the coffin bone which causes severe pain and can permanently damage the hoof structure.

Are Tennessee Walkers easy keepers?

Tennessee Walkers tend to be easy keepers and typically do well on just fresh grass hay. These horses are typically free from disease, although Navicular disease and Laminitis are of concern. Additionally, problems with the feet are common, the result of competition or show.

What is soring?

Using soring to induce a horse to produce an artificial, exaggerated gait, the horse’s legs or hooves are intentionally injured in order to force the animal to perform the gait. A caustic chemical (blistering substances such as mustard oil, diesel fuel, and kerosene) is administered to the horse’s limbs, resulting in great agony and suffering for the animal. Pressure shoeing is a particularly heinous kind of soring that entails cutting a horse’s hoof down to the quick and firmly nailing on a shoe, or standing a horse for hours with the sensitive section of his soles resting on a block or other elevated object.

The soring of Tennessee walking horses has been a regular and prevalent practice in the state’s horse show industry for decades.

Which horse breeds suffer from soring?

Tennessee walking horses, who are renowned for their gentle nature and smooth stride, are frequently subjected to the procedure of soring. Horses of other gaited breeds, including racking horses and spotted saddle horses, are also victims of this epidemic. An injured horse’s existence is fraught with dread and suffering. An injured horse can be left in his stable for days at a time, with caustic chemicals applied to his legs and plastic wrap wrapped around his body to “cook” the chemicals into his skin.

When the horses are ridden, whether in training or competition, the trainers tie chains over the horses’ painful ankles to keep them from slipping.

Big Lick or “performance”-gaited show horses have their feet fitted with tall, hefty stacks of pads instead of traditional horseshoes, which helps to highlight their gait.

Outside grazing and socializing with other horses are not permitted for performance horses on the racetrack.

Hasn’t soring been outlawed by Congress?

Yes. The Horse Protection Act, approved by Congress in the early 1970s, was intended to put an end to this inhumane practice, which it did. Underfunding and political pressure from industry insiders have hampered the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement of the HPA from the commencement of the law’s implementation. Because of a lack of enough money, the USDA is unable to send representatives to every Tennessee Walking Horse and Racking Horse exhibition. Therefore, they established a system that permits horse industry organizations (HIOs) to educate and license their own inspectors, known as Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs), who are responsible for inspecting horses at horse shows to determine if they have been affected by soring.

The practice of soring continues to be popular in regions like Tennessee, Kentucky, and other states in the southeast, despite the fact that some states have passed laws against it.

How is soring detected?

All Tennessee walking horses and Racking horses are required to be registered under federal law. Horses entered in exhibitions, shows, auctions, or sales are subjected to a soring inspection before entering the show ring or auction hall. Any horse that wins first place in a show or exhibition must also be subjected to an inspection following the conclusion of the winning class. Typically, an inspector will personally check, or “palpate,” the horse’s front legs to determine whether or not the horse is in discomfort, as well as to search for any other unusualities.

The inspection of horses is permitted anywhere on the grounds of a show, exhibition, auction or sale (as well as during transportation to these venues), but intimidation, harassment, and threats from industry participants have prevented inspectors from inspecting horses outside of a designated inspection area, immediately before entering the show ring.

Some trainers would apply numbing substances to their horses’ legs prior to inspection in an attempt to disguise soreness.

In some cases, people “steward” their horses at home, subjecting them to simulated exams in which they are punished with a whip, bat, or other blunt object if the horse reacts to the palpations.

In certain cases, trainers would attach alligator clips and other painful objects to sensitive regions of the horse prior to inspection, prompting him to concentrate on the new source of pain rather than his legs and feet.

What is the HSUS doing to end soring?

Through its advocacy for the passage of the PAST Act in Congress, the Humane Society of the United States is actively trying to put a stop to soring. As part of our efforts, we are urging the USDA to step up its enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, urging Congress to increase funding for the HPA, offering rewards to horse abusers who are apprehended, and assisting breed and industry organizations that promote the natural gait and humane treatment of Tennessee walking horses.

Reaching out to law enforcement

Animal Welfare Society of America (HSUS) has distributed resources to county sheriffs in Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky as part of a larger effort to educate and assist law-enforcement agencies regarding animal cruelty.

Resources include posters, advertising rewards for tips on soring, and information about how our Animal Rescue Team can assist law-enforcement agencies in caring for animals who are at risk during natural disasters.


After a recent undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, famous trainer Jackie McConnell was arrested and indicted on 52 charges of breaching the law, including felony breaches of the Horse Protection Act. “Nightline” broadcast an undercover video of the atrocities, and CNN’s “Headline News” published fragments from the film that chronicled the crimes.

Soring in Horses FAQ

15th of February, 2012 Q. What exactly is Soring? An unethical and illegal1practice of purposefully causing pain to horses in order to enhance the leg motion of the horses in order to acquire an unfair advantage in the show ring is defined as follows: The “big lick” is a term used in the business to describe the chest-high stride obtained through soring. Q. Which breed(s) are known to engage in soring? A.Tennessee Soring is a widespread activity that causes suffering in walking horses. It is possible that soring will affect other gaited breeds as well, such as Racking Horses, Spotted Saddle horses, Rocky Mountain horses, and Missouri Fox-Trotters, among others.

  • In order to sore the horse’s forelegs, irritants or unpleasant mechanical devices are injected or applied to the horse’s forelegs, causing irritation or blistering.
  • This procedure is called chemical soring.
  • Once the horse’s skin has become very sensitive as a result of the chemicals, “action devices” are inserted around the pastern.
  • In addition to causing sensitive skin, the chemicals cause the horse’s hoof to become sensitive when it comes into contact with hard surfaces.
  • A harsh technique has evolved as a result of greater attention on scarring violations: owners and trainers apply a chemical stripping agent to the horse’s legs in order to burn off scar tissue left by the original chemical soring.
  • Action devices—The Horse Protection Act allows for the use of one action device per leg.
  • Furthermore, the equipment must not weigh more than 6 ounces in total weight.

Mechanical/Physical soring—This sort of soring involves cutting the horse’s hoof or attaching devices to the horse’s hooves that cause the horse’s hooves to be painful, causing the animal to bring up its feet more quickly and higher. Some of the approaches that have been employed are as follows:

  • Grinding down the sole of the hoof to expose the spongy, delicate tissues beneath the sole
  • Shortening the length of the hoof wall relative to the length of the sole A common practice is to remove the hoof wall’s support, which forces the sole to take on all of the weight. This is known as “sole bearing.” There are several variations of this technique: “rolling the sole
  • ” inserting hard items between the shoe or pad and sole to generate pressure and agony
  • Blocking is the practice of keeping a horse’s sensitive section of their sole on a block or other elevated object for extended periods of time. Intentionally creating laminitis (often referred to as “founder”), which is an extremely painful inflammation of the tissues within the foot, is considered a criminal offense. This is sometimes referred to as “the natural fix.”
  • Excessive tightening of the metal bands that wrap around the hoof’s circumference. This results in discomfort due to increased pressure on the hoof wall. The following are examples of improper shoeing procedures that are prohibited by the HPA:
  • Extreme wedging with pads, resulting in an abnormal heel-to-toe ratio
  • Metal hoof bands that are put very high on the hoof
  • Adding excessive weight to the pad or box (for example, lead)
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Q.How does soring come to be detected? The use of visual observation is described below. It is possible that the first sign of soreness will be a change in the horse’s posture: a horse suffering from front foot/leg pain will often lie down more than usual, may be unwilling to move, or may adopt a “standing in a bucket” position, in which its hind legs are pulled together and positioned more forward than normal in order to take weight off the painful front legs. Because of this, as the horse is propelled forward, it rocks back and carries the majority of his weight on its hind legs.

  • Horses’ normal biomechanics dictate that they should bear 60-65 percent of their weight on their front limbs, which is the polar opposite of what is done here.
  • Horses who are in pain may also move forward slowly and with short, choppy steps.
  • If a horse has been chemically sored, the skin may be bloated, uncomfortable, abraded, or gushing blood or serum as a result of the chemical sore (a yellow fluid).
  • A pain reaction in which the horse attempts to remove its leg is caused by finger pressure over the injured location, however stewarding (described below) of horses may result in no apparent response despite the existence of discomfort.
  • Additional instruments have become necessary as a result.
  • 4 Both abnormally warm and excessively chilly regions signal the presence of anomalies and the need for further investigation.
  • A reduction in blood flow or the use of cooling agents, such as a numbing agent, may be responsible for areas that look overly chilly.

It is a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Q.Is soring a criminal offense?

Soring was declared illegal under the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA), and it was punished by fines and jail.

Furthermore, the Horse Protection Act forbids transportation companies from carrying sore horses to or from any of these activities.

The HPA is enforced in a variety of methods, including: Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs)—The USDA recognizes DQPs, who are veterinarians who are knowledgeable about the sector and who have been educated by the USDA to detect signs of soring in livestock.

Before a horse may be displayed, sold, or exhibited, the DQPs conduct a thorough medical examination of it.

Veterinary Medical Officers (VMOs)—The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) performs unannounced inspections at horse events where soring is a possibility, such as the Kentucky Derby.

The HIOs have been given permission to conduct inspections for breaches of the HPA.

A.Soring continues to occur for a variety of reasons, including the desire of trainers and owners to escape discovery, the practice of judges honoring sored horses in the show ring, and USDA funding limits.

Keeping from being discovered: Detecting soring is difficult due to the fact that unethical trainers and owners employ a variety of techniques to avoid being discovered.

  • Numbing agents: These agents mask discomfort during examination, but they wear off by the time of the display or exhibition. Training methods that are severe and/or unpleasant (e.g., beating, electric prod) are used at practice inspections to educate horses that flinching or responding would result in further suffering
  • Stewarding Devices that divert attention away from the foot, such as a bit burr beneath the saddle, twitch of the hand, alligator clips on sensitive areas such as the genitals, or surgical staples under the mane right before inspection are all examples of distraction devices. Horse swapping is defined as the practice of providing a substitute horse for inspection under fraudulent papers, followed by displaying the injured horse in the ring.
  • While the largest premium paid in a class at either the National Walking Horse Association’s (NWHA) The National7or the Friends of Sound Horses’ (FOSH) North American Pleasure Gaited Horse Championship8was $300, the largest premium paid in a class at either the National Walking Horse Association’s (NWHA) The National7or the Friends of Sound Horses’ (FOSH) North American Pleasure Gaited Horse Championship8was $300
  • Additionally, in addition to the cash and notoriety offered to victors, owners and trainers are also rewarded future breeding and training fees from other showmen who aspire to have a successful horse.

Budgetary restrictions:

  • Because of funding limits, USDA inspectors can only attend a tiny fraction of trade exhibitions. “Self-policing” by HIOs is unsuccessful owing to an inherent conflict of interest that exists among many industry inspectors who are frequently actively involved in the business as owners and/or trainers
  • And HPA offenders have historically received light penalty, even when they have been ticketed. In 2011, the USDA, on the other hand, took efforts to tighten its enforcement of the HPA.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has taken a position on soring. A.For more than 40 years, the American Veterinary Medical Association has denounced the practice of soring. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) now supports the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) position on “The Practice of Soring.” Q.May you tell me where I can learn more about showing? A.For further information on the Horse Protection Act, please see the website of the United States Department of Agriculture ().

  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP)
  • And the American Society of Equine Practitioners (ASEP).

A nonprofit organization committed to educating the public about the humane care, management, and training of gaited horses, as well as encouraging the display of flat-shod, gaited horses, Friends of Sound Horses Inc. (FOSH) was founded in 2003 by a group of horse enthusiasts. How do I proceed if I have reason to believe or know that someone has sored their horse? A.Please notify the USDA of any instances of soring, including occurrences of soring at barns or shows; reporting barns, trainers, and owners that engage in soring methods; and reporting “outlaw shows” that are arranged without the approval of a licensed HIO.


Rachel Cezar, Horse Protection Coordinator rachelcezaraphisusdagov FOOTNOTESaUSDA representatives visited a total of 208 exhibitions between 2008 and 2011.

REFERENCES Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).

Obtainable at: accessed on October 19, 2011 (APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), Horse Protection Act Factsheet, November 2004.

  1. Accessible at: aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal welfare/content/printable version/FS-HorseProtectionAct-Final.pdf (Final Version).
  2. Three-dimensional conformation analysis of horses, published by Washington State University Extension in May 2006.
  3. This resource may be found at: Accessed November 24, 2015.
  4. The month of February, 2009.
  6. Accessed on August 19, 2011 from the website.
  7. The National Program for the Show.
  8. The Premium Book for the North American Pleasure Gaited Horse Championships.
This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Division.Mention of trade names, products, commercial practices or organizations does not imply endorsement by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

It’s a touchy issue, to put it mildly, that appears to produce enormous waves of debate before disappearing beneath the surface on alternating occasions. It raised its obnoxious head once more the other day. Our editorial for today’s “Morning Feed” explored the incident and the relevance of what happened. One such example is the punishment of a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer in Tennessee who was sentenced to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine for his involvement in the practice of soring. The trainer’s reply was, simply, “But everyone is doing it”–which didn’t sit well with the court, who made the landmark animal welfare decision to prosecute someone on soring charges for the first time in 20 years, setting a precedent for future animal welfare decisions.

It is the headline under which a variety of methods can be classified: caustic substances can be applied to the leg, either externally or internally; tacks, nails, screws, or chemical agents can be injected into the leg; and the leg can be cut, burned, or lacerated, among other tactics, to cause injury.

  • Originally developed in the Southeastern United States, primarily in Tennessee, the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) was created by crossing smooth-moving horses such as Morgans, Narrangansett Pacers, Standardbreds, and Saddlebreds.
  • Originally developed as a suitable mount for plantation owners who spent long hours in the saddle each day riding over their estate and supervising field laborers, the breed has evolved into something much more.
  • It was also commonplace for plantation owners to organize match races between their TWHs as the breed gained in popularity, a competitive hobby that eventually spilled over into the show ring.
  • Their stride, known as the “Big Lick,” was extremely expressive and garnered large audiences as well as praise from judges.
  • When the horse performs this action, the weight-bearing hind legs stretch beneath the horse in order to compensate for the horse’s snapping knees up to its chest and holding its head high.
  • In the early 1950s, trainers began experimenting with faster, simpler methods of achieving the same end result as the traditional method.
  • The practice makes logical sense from a logical standpoint: When the horse’s front feet make contact with the ground, it transfers its weight backwards and tries to maintain its front legs in the air for as long as possible to avoid the discomfort.

One may combine mustard oil with Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) to aid in the absorption of chemicals via the skin, wrap the leg in plastic wrap that is covered by leg wraps, and let the leg to “cook” over night in this manner.

By the 1960s, the practice of soring had spread throughout the world.

In 1970, Congress approved the Horse Protection Act, which expressly prohibited the practice of soring horses.

Inspections included showing up unannounced and looking for signs of soring on the horses’ legs.

Despite the government’s crackdown, the practice of soring continues even into the twenty-first century, albeit at a much reduced extent.

An investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2010 revealed major flaws in the implementation of the Horse Protection Act, which allowed widespread abuse of show horses to occur.

To replace the crude irritants that left the TWHs of the past with open sores and scars, stronger chemicals that function beyond the skin’s surface to generate the desired painful effect, or pain-masking agents, are now utilized to treat the TWHs of today.

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And, of course, when it becomes known that a USDF inspector will be there, it is always conceivable for a hurt horse to be pulled from a show.

Only time will tell if and when the practice will ultimately be consigned to the annals of history altogether. Stopsoring.com is the source of this information. Human Society of the United States of America (top picture)

The Painful Truth of Horse Soring

How Soring is Done
This inhumane practice is done via chemical or physical means. Both result in pain, which is amplified when the horse’s hoof strikes the ground. This causes the horse to lift his or her legs faster and higher. Chemical methodsinvolve applying caustics (such as kerosene or mustard oil) to the horse’s lower leg and then covering the area with plastic and a leg wrap for several days. As the chemicals penetrate the skin, it causes the horse’s skin to be very sensitive. “Action devices” such as metal chains or rollers are then placed around the pastern. They slide up and down as the horse moves, hitting the pastern and further aggravating the areas already made painful by soring. Physical methods of soring include:
  • Hoof soles should be ground or trimmed to expose the spongy, sensitive tissues beneath the sole. It is possible to remove the usual support structures of the hoof wall by shortening the hoof wall relative to the sole. A common practice is to remove the hoof wall’s support, which forces the sole to take on all of the weight. This is known as “sole bearing.” This is referred to as “rolling the sole.”
  • The practice of inserting hard items between a shoe or pad and the sole in order to apply pressure and cause discomfort to a sensitive part of the hoof. Blocking is the practice of keeping a horse’s sensitive section of their sole on a block or other elevated object for extended periods of time. Creating laminitis (founder), which is a highly painful inflammation of the tissues of the foot (also known as “the natural fix”), on purpose
  • The over-tightening of metal hoof bands, which results in an excessive amount of pressure
  • Inappropriate shoeing procedures that are in violation of the HPA. This contains the following items:
  • Inappropriate heel/toe ratio due to excessive pad wedging. Metal hoof bands that are put very high on the hoof
  • Adding excessive weight to the pad or box (for example, lead)

Soring is the technique of intentionally causing pain on gaited horses in order to enhance their leg motion, sometimes known as the “big lick,” in order to achieve an unfair advantage in the show ring. Tennessee Walking Horses are the most usually affected by this technique, however other gaited horses may also be affected by this practice. Despite the fact that it has always been brutal and immoral, it has only been outlawed since 1970. However, the practice continues to be carried out.

Soring is Illegal and Condemned by Professional Organizations

Soring is a criminal offense under federal law. Soring was declared illegal by the Horse Protection Act (HPA), and it is now punished by fines and jail. As a result of this law, sored horses are no longer permitted to participate in shows, sales, exhibits, or auctions. The HPA also forbids the transportation of sore horses to or from any of these events, regardless of the source of the soreness. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has the responsibility of enforcing the Horse Protection Act.

Undercover Investigation Prompts Action

A recent Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)undercover investigationat a training barn for Tennessee Walking horses led to state and federal criminal charges against nationally known trainer Jackie McConnell and some of his associates. At the time of the investigation, McConnell was under a five-year federal disqualification from participating in horse shows―yet continued to train horses and get them into the show ring. McConnell was charged with felony conspiracy to violate the HPA as well as numerous violations of the Tennessee Cruelty to Animals Statute after being videotapedsoring the front legs of horses with caustic chemicals.Thefootagealso shows horses being brutally whipped, kicked, shocked in the face, and violently cracked across the heads and legs with heavy wooden sticks. The investigator documented the cruel practice of “stewarding”—training a horse not to react to pain during official show inspections of their legs for soreness, by striking them in the head when they flinch during mock inspections in the training barn. The investigation also uncovered the illegal use of numbing agents for the purpose of temporarily masking a horse’s reaction to pain so it can pass official horse show inspections.This investigation has prompted not only afuror of media attentionbut also the federal government to move toward stiffer, mandatory penalties for horse soring and other related violations of the HPA.Performance Tennessee Walking Horses are often fitted with tall “stacks” which change the angle and elevation of the front hooves and legs.Lance MurpheyThrough the years, industry inspectors (part of what are known as “Horse Industry Organizations” or HIOs) cited some trainers for “soring” but penalties were not consistently meted out, and there was therefore no meaningful disincentive to stop the abuse. Between 2010 and 2011, HIOs cited each of the top 20 trainers in the industry’s Riders Cup point program for violations of the HPA—with a total of 164 citations between them. Of the violations recorded, the HIOs only issued penalties for 25 percent, most of which were mere two-week suspensions from showing. Even more disturbing, less than 30 percent of those penalties were actually served and some trainers were allowed to serve multiple penalties simultaneously.On June 5th, APHIS officials announced the release of a final rule requiring uniform mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the federal Horse Protection Act. Under the tougher rules, suspensions for two weeks to three years would bar show participation for violators and would apply not just to trainers, but also to horse owners, exhibitors, transporters and others associated with the horses’ abuse. This announcement provides much-needed improvements in HPA enforcement―finally providing some level of deterrence for lawbreakers. While this is a step in the right direction, federal legislators must amend the HPA to eliminate the industry’s role in enforcement of the Act, close loopholes that violators often slip through, and give the USDA the tools to fully protect these animals.On June 14th, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) called for aban on the use of action devices and performance packagesin the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses. HSVMA believes a ban on action devices and performance packages is necessary to protect the health and welfare of gaited show horses.HSVMA urges veterinary professionals to contact their U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators urging them to upgrade penalties in the Horse Protection Act, ban the action devices and performance packages, and require more meaningful enforcement by the USDA to end the abusive practice of soring.

Senate Revives Legislation to End Cruel Practice of Horse Soring

DC – The capital of the United States is Washington, DC. In support of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 2295), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) urges the Senate to reconsider its previous rejection of the bill on Thursday. The PAST Act would prohibit individuals from intentionally inflicting pain on horses’ hooves and legs in order for the animals to perform a heightened, exaggerated high-stepping gait known as the “Big Lick” in competitions and shows. The PAST Act, spearheaded by US Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA), provides the most important safeguards for Tennessee walking horses and kindred breeds since the passing of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970.

The annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the world’s largest horse show for the breed, will take place in Shelbyville, Tennessee, starting on August 25th this year.

Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts some inspections, it primarily relies on “designated qualified persons” (DQPs), who are employees of the organizations that host shows and are frequently exhibitors of Tennessee walking horses themselves, to identify and report signs of exploitation.

  1. According to a 2010 USDA Inspector General study, this strategy offers a “clear conflict of interest” and that the DQP program should be terminated.
  2. According to an AWI examination of USDA statistics, USDA enforcement of the HPA has declined dramatically over the previous four years.
  3. In the next two years, that number had reduced to 0.
  4. “Despite the fact that the Horse Protection Act was signed into law more than 50 years ago to protect horses from excruciating soring, this cruelty continues unabated,” said Cathy Liss, president of the American Welfare Institute.
  5. The PAST Act was initially presented in 2012, during the 112thCongress, and has since been amended several times.
  6. The PAST Act was enacted by a wide margin in the House of Representatives in 2019, with 333 members of Congress voting in support of the legislation.
  7. “I support the humane treatment of all animals, as well as the training of horses in a responsible manner,” Crapo said after reintroducing the proposal.
  8. In addition, “for more than 400 years, horses have been an integral element of Virginia’s culture and heritage,” Warner explained.

My reintroduction of the bipartisan PAST Act, which would protect horses from maltreatment and abuse by strengthening sanctions for persons who engage in the cruel and purposeful practice of soring, fills me with great pride.

Why are U.S. Lawmakers Taking an Unusual Step to Fight Horse Soring?

Soring is a hot-button subject more than 50 years after the Horse Protection Act of 1970 was passed, and it is one that is gaining more attention as a result of an exceptional measure taken by legislators. On March 1, almost half of the United States Senate sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the Department of Agriculture to issue a final regulation that would try to eliminate soring. During the Obama administration, Vilsack was in charge of developing the regulation, which was approved.

  • Soring is the technique of causing pain on the legs and hooves of horses with caustic chemicals, chains, and other things in order to artificially develop the high-stepping gait known as the Big Lick.
  • The USDA’s rule is essentially modeled after the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would eliminate the capacity of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry to police its own operations.
  • It also prohibits the use of any pads or wedges on Tennesee Walkers or racking horses unless they are prescribed for veterinarian care.
  • Many of the farriery-related issues, on the other hand, were either ignored or reduced after leaders and members of the American Farrier’s Association and the American Association of Professional Farriers openly came out against them, as did the American Farrier’s Association president.
  • Those that speak up for the health of the horse, including the 2 dozen senators who signed the letter, should be applauded for their efforts.
  • That the letter was signed by politicians who have been elected to make laws that are intended to rectify societal inequities is more important than anything else.
  • 693) by a vote of 333 to 96.


He has also been a consistent backer of competing legislation, such as the Horse Protection Amendment Act of 2019, which was introduced by Sen.

Marsha Blackburn, both of whom are Republicans from Tennessee.

After taking office on Jan.

Representatives Ted Yoho and Kurt Schrader, both veterinarians, as well as Senators Mike Crapo and Mark Warner are known for announcing their legislation as soon as it is introduced in Congress.

The PAST Act has received widespread public support in both Kentucky and Tennessee, with support levels hovering around 80 percent.

Despite this, 48 senators are basically abdicating their legislative responsibilities to a coterie of Washington bureaucrats in the Senate.

Is it because it’s the way with the least amount of difficulty?

In spite of the fact that the regulation had been finalized, the Obama administration did not publish it before it was withdrawn by the Trump administration.

Democratic senators hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, but they do not have the votes necessary to override a filibuster in the chamber.

The horse has played a crucial role in the formation of the United States of America.

Society should take necessary measures to penalize people who place their own personal benefit above the wellbeing of horses under their care. Despite this, 48 senators are abdicating their responsibilities as legislators when the horse’s momentum shifts in their favor. Why?

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A bipartisan piece of legislation sponsored by three members of Congress seeks to establish a federal law enforcement branch to better the investigation, application, and prosecution of felonies involving animal cruelty.

Horse Soring Rhetoric Amps Up, But Will Change Follow?

As the calendar year 2020 draws to a close and the 116th Congress convenes, the verbal sparring over proposed legislation to achieve the original objective of the Horse Protection Act — the abolition of soring — grows more heated and heated.

Humane Society Sues to Compel USDA to Implement Withdrawn Soring Rule

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Humane Society of the United States and its legislative fund, the United States Department of Agriculture must establish a regulation that would alter the Horse Protection Act in order to put an end to soring.

USDA announces strict changes to end soring of Tennessee walking horses

  • The United States Department of Agriculture announced revisions to the Horse Protection Act on Friday, which many have welcomed as a significant step forward in the effort to put a stop to the inhumane practice of soring horses in competition. Soring is the technique of purposefully inflicting pain on Tennessee walking horses and kindred breeds in order to exaggerate their gait, leading the animals to elevate their front legs higher in what is known as the “Big Lick.” Soring is illegal in Tennessee and other states. Caustic chemicals are frequently used, which are subsequently irritated by chains. Various kinds of abuse include putting things between the hoof and stacked shoes, as well as other forms of physical violence. The new law would prohibit the use of much of the equipment now in use, including the usage of chains around horses’ ankles during training and stacks, which are large weights affixed to the horses’ front hooves. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be responsible for training and licensing inspectors. In the words of Keith Dane, senior consultant on horse safety for the Humane Society of the United States, “(the USDA is) taking away the most evident and common equipment used for soring.” “The rule provides us with a great deal of encouragement.” President of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, stated that reformers have committed many hours to bringing compassion to these horses, and that they have worked to abolish “a practice that is as terrible and purposeful as dogfighting or cockfighting. USDA claims that horse industry inspectors are now responsible for educating their own employees, creating an ethical dilemma that prevents them from being motivated to identify breaches. Inspectors from the federal government typically detect more sored horses during audits than do private inspectors. The new trainers would be veterinarians and veterinarian educators, among other professionals in the field. Applicants for a horse protection inspector’s license may be denied, and inspectors who fail to follow the approved inspection processes or who otherwise fail to carry out their duties and obligations may have their licenses revoked, according to the APHIS. One change from the first proposal is that the USDA would not tighten limits on heavy horse shoes or metal bands placed across the hooves of horses. This is a change from the original proposal. Dane believes it might cause difficulties since the bands are occasionally tightened to inflict discomfort or used to mask maltreatment to the tops of the horses’ feet, which Dane believes could cause problems. The statement came after more than 200 senators and a number of activists applied bipartisan pressure to the Obama administration to tighten laws against sexual assault and harassment before President-elect Donald Trump assumes the presidency in January. However, not everyone was pleased with the verdict. Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration President Mike Inman stated he intends to contest the regulatory action taken against his organization. Based in Shelbyville, Tennessee, the Celebration is the largest Tennessee walking horse show in the country. It attracts more than 2,000 participants. “Of course, one of the options open is to submit a legal challenge, and we are prepared to do so,” Inman added. A Trump government, according to him, may decide to put the regulation changes on hold until they can be examined. We look forward to providing the information that we believe will lead to a different course of action during that review period,” he added. Dane stated that the Humane Society expects Big Lick industry backers to file a legal challenge against the decision, but that the organization is prepared to collaborate with the USDA in fighting back. As a result, Dane and others urged that show owners concentrate their efforts on promoting flatshod competitors, or horses who are not designed to wear action devices, because they already have a naturally beautiful gait. “They will be able to refocus on the actual beauty of the horse rather than artificially enhancing it,” said Tawnee Preisner, founder of Horse Plus Humane Society. “It’s going to remove a lot of the negative connotations associated with Tennessee.” “The slaughter trailers are waiting,” said Sammy and Gayle Cagle, former owners of one illegally sored horse Preisner who was rescued from an auction last year. During the USDA’s comment period, the Cagles warned that their show horses would lose their value if the USDA banned stacks and chains, stating, “The slaughter trailers are waiting.” According to Preisner, the Horse Plus Humane Society is putting plans in place to deal with an inflow of walking horses that may be abandoned at auction. “We will accept any Tennessee walking horse whose owners are unable to maintain them as a result of the new law,” she stated. It is possible that they will not put them into the slaughter pipeline if they truly care about them. As soon as the indications of abuse become too visible to pass inspection, or as soon as young horses prove resistive to harsh training, sored animals frequently wind up at low-end auctions. Horse owners can surrender their horses to the Horse Plus Humane Society, where they will get a tax return for the money they would have earned if they had sold the animals at auction, according to Preisner. The final regulation, according to the USDA, will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, he added. All of the rule changes will take effect on January 1, 2018, with the exception of one. Ariana Sawyer may be reached by phone at 615-259-8382 or on Twitter at @a maia sawyer.

Reissue rule to eliminate cruel soring of Tennessee Walking Horses

“Big Lick” is the exaggerated high-stepping stride of Tennessee Walking Horses and similar breeds, which is the result of severe mutilations performed for the purpose of winning competitions. Despite the fact that the Horse Protection Act was passed more than 50 years ago to put an end to the terrible practice of “soring,” the maltreatment of horses continues unabated today. Application of caustic chemicals to a horse’s limbs, wrapping those chemicals in plastic wrap and tight bandages and allowing them to “cook” deep into the horse’s flesh for days, attaching chains to strike against sore legs, inserting hard objects such as screws into tender areas of the hooves, grinding down the soles of the feet to expose sensitive tissue, and using salicylic acid or other painful substances to slough off scarred tissue in an attempt to conceal sore areas from

Strengthen enforcement of Horse Protection Act

Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and a bipartisan coalition of 114 members of Congress recently requested Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reissue an Obama-era regulation that would significantly boost HPA enforcement. In particular, the regulation would aid in the prevention of widespread soring at horse exhibitions and would ultimately put a stop to the industry’s disastrous self-policing system. Since the Obama administration was only days away from publishing this generally supported regulation in 2017, when Vilsack served as agriculture secretary, the legislators’ proposal should be a no-brainer, according to the congressmen.

  1. Although several investigations over the years have revealed trainers abusing horses, the Trump administration temporarily suspended the HPA regulation immediately after entering office.
  2. More voices from Tennessee can be heard here: Sign up for the weekly opinion newsletter to receive informative and thought-provoking essays every Thursday.
  3. Consequently, the agency depends heavily on private inspectors (mostly exhibitors and show personnel) to unearth evidence of exploitation and exploitation.
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Veterinarians, not industry insiders, should perform inspections

According to a study issued in January by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the USDA should terminate its dependence on horse-inspection companies and instead rely on veterinarians to check for pain in horses. The disparity between the noncompliance rates indicated by industry inspectors and those documented by USDA veterinary officers and other federal officials is mind-boggling. Industry inspectors discovered a noncompliance rate of under 1 percent last year, whereas USDA inspectors discovered a noncompliance rate of 22 percent.

Since then, the USDA has reduced its souring enforcement efforts to the point that they are no longer distinct from those of an industry that has no motive to penalize its own.

During fiscal year 2016, the USDA issued 956 warnings for breaches of the HPA.

So far in 2018, the USDA has only filed one administrative complaint relating to soring and has not launched any investigations into the practice.

Congressional funding for HPA enforcement reached an all-time high of more than $2 million in the fiscal year 2021 spending bill, which included an appropriation to the USDA for the first time.

In a political context when federal politicians sometimes express heated disagreement on policy topics, Congress appears to be generally united on the issue of outlawing horse-sitting in the United States.

Unfortunately, despite having 52 cosponsors, the bill was unable to advance in the Senate.

Furthermore, the regulation prohibits the use of stacking pads, ankle chains, and other devices that are known to cause injury to Tennessee Walking Horses.

In her role as equine program manager and senior adviser for the Animal Welfare Institute, Joanna Grossman, PhD, is a leading expert on the subject of horse welfare.

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