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The Inhumane Practice of Soring Continues
 By Winniefield Park   •   16th May 2014   •   2,700 views   •   3 comments
 The-Inhumane-Practice-of-Soring-ContinuesDespite laws, despite inspections, despite the extreme ire of horse lovers the world over, the practice of soring continues. Soring is the practice of using a chemical or device to make a horse’s hooves and pasterns sensitive in an effort to make them travel in an very exaggerated high-stepping manner. But, this doesn’t just make the horse more sensitive, the caustic chemicals, highly stacked and heavily weighted shoes and brutal training practices some trainers use make life a painful misery for the horses that must endure it. Tennessee Walking Horses are at the center of the controversy, and I’m sure you’ve been hearing about it for a few years now.

The utterly devastating thing is, those who choose to use these barbaric methods flout laws and make excuses, but continue to subject their own and client’s horses to the torture. Any horse destined to be trained to do ‘the big lick’ has a good chance of a life of pain and irreversible deformity.

The Horse Protection Act, which is a federal law created in 1970 was intended to protect horses from inhumane practices, of which soring is one. The law states that soring is illegal, that it is illegal to show a horse that has been sored, and to transport one to or from any event. If a horse has been sored, the owner/trainer may be penalized with fines of up to $3,000 and one year in prison for a first offense and $5000 and a two-year prison term for further offences.

However, despite the warnings and the penalties, soring continues. Why? One reason might be, that although there are inspections and many recorded violations at events, quite often only warnings are given. Another problem may be that inspectors themselves are self regulated. How many violations have there been? The HPA website lists the violations over the past few years, and the list is lengthy enough that it takes a minute or two to scroll through it. The group Friends of Sound Horses, who promotes the use of sound, naturally gaited horses, reports close to 10,000 violations recorded on the HPA site.

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry has claimed that soring is a thing of the past. But, the violations continued at the Kick-Off Classic in Shelbyville, Tennessee in April. Meanwhile The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act would allow USDA-­assigned, not self regulating inspectors, to do in­spections and ban devices intended to further cause pain to a sored horse. The bill has passed and is headed to the full Senate next. Many in the Walking Horse industry are crying foul and claiming that this sort of legislation has gone too far. Some see it as the end of a lucrative industry, the end of ‘the big lick’ and the fans that supports many local industries. But there are also those that think the proposed fortification of the HPA is not tough enough. Hopefully, it will be enough to bring an end to the ‘big lick’ and the abusive practices it takes to compete.
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Bucki International   online
I have TWH's but mine are all flad shod, or not shoed at all. Not all twh breeders are bad, nor does this only relate to the twh breed. I agree that the way the show people treat walkers is sad and I don't breed to any new lines because you don't know what kind of gait you are getting.
  May 16, 2014  •  2,887 views
 
Valkyrie   MOD 
Why is a Spanish horse the picture?
  May 16, 2014  •  2,877 views
 
Winniefield Park  
That looks like an Adulusian or something like that doesn't it. And yes, most TWH owners treat their horses well. There seems to be a core of trainers and owners who allow this to continue.
  May 21, 2014  •  2,635 views
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