USDA Bans Horse Soring – Protecting Tennessee Walking Horses

Jan 13, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an upgrade to the Horse Protection Act Regulations.  The new rule bans the use of medieval stacks, chains and other cruel devices and eliminates a corrupt inspection program that placed the very people abusing horses in charge of enforcing the law.

The Humane Society Of The United States conducted a series of undercover investigations exposing top trainers in the industry soring and torturing horses prior to the rule change.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with soring, the Humane Society summed it up, “Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain – by mechanical or chemical means – on the feet and lower legs of horses to achieve a high-stepping, pain-based gait known as the “big lick” in Tennessee walking horses.”

The video below shows what happens when horses have gone through this painful treatment.  Warning – The Video Is Graphic. Please continue reading below the video for details of the new rule changes.

Under the final regulation

-APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) will license, train, and oversee independent, third party inspectors, known as Horse Protection Inspectors (HPIs), and establish the licensing eligibility requirements to reduce conflicts of interest.

-To allow sufficient time to train and license HPIs and ensure an adequate number before the start of the 2018 show season, current Designated Qualified Person (DQP) licenses will remain valid until January 1, 2018.  Beginning January 1, 2018, management of horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions that elect to use inspection services, must appoint and retain a HPI to inspect horses.

-Beginning January 1, 2018, the regulatory provisions applicable to Horse Industry Organization and Associations are removed and are no longer effective.

-Beginning 30 days after the publication of the final rule, all action devices, except for certain boots, are prohibited on any Tennessee Walking Horse or racking horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.  All pads and wedges are prohibited on any Tennessee Walking Horse or racking horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction on or after January 1, 2018, unless such horse has been prescribed and is receiving therapeutic, veterinary treatment using pads or wedges.  This delayed implementation allows ample time to both gradually reduce the size of pads to minimize any potential physiological stress to the horses and prepare horses to compete in other classes.

-Beginning January 1, 2018, management of HPA-covered events must, among other things, submit certain information records to APHIS, provide HPIs with access, space, and facilities to conduct inspections, and have a farrier physically present to assist HPIs at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions that allow Tennessee Walking Horses or racking horses to participate in therapeutic pads and wedges if more than 150 horses are entered, and have a farrier on call if 150 or fewer horses are entered.

Source, HumaneSociety.org and USDA.gov.  This is a huge WIN for the horses.  Share this on Facebook if you are happy to see these practices stopped for good!

49 Responses

    • Chris Hall

      The video makes me so angry. I would love to make the riders wear pads & heavy shoes on their feet, chains on their ankles and give them a great deal of “soring” twice a day.
      And the end result of this dreadful intentional cruelty is so ridiculous, unnatural and ugly. Thank heavens America is finally doing something about it.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Agree, I could not complete the video.. Inhumane, horrible, just two words to post that come to mind.

      • Gielda Mathews

        It is about time they get this passed. How can humans be so cruel?

    • Anonymous

      Why wait a year! Makes no sense to hurt a living soul to do make yourself look good..
      no Love hear mister/mrs/ms rider.. this is not talent.. it’s Abuse to these wonderful creatures. I hope some day you lose your feet- and or legs and let us humans try to make you walk differently.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        This is exactly wha I was thinking! DO NOT wait another year! This is horrible!

  1. Bridget Mcguire

    It baffles me, why anyone who claims to like horses could do this, watch this, want this….
    I know that my riding time with me horses may be limited by lameness, due to wear and tear and the stresses of living.
    Why anyone would inflict this kind of stress on a horse is beyond me.
    Is this a true reflection of American values and ethics?
    God help us all.

    Reply
  2. Gail

    What in the hell took them so long? This is not deliberate and planned abuse? To deliberately cause pain to any animal is abuse. I don’t understand how such artificial movement can be considered beautiful. Obscene.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    This should have been done sooner. People argue that the pads are harmless, that the chains themselves are harmless. But they also state that these horses do the gait they are doing naturally. A running walk is natural. Racking is natural. A Big Lick, which comes about by placing heavy shoes on the animal and/or chains, is not natural. Natural means done at birth. They ONLY put these big shoes and chains on these animals for show, like decorating them with fancy colors, only horses with these pads can’t be loose in the pasture or loose anywhere because it is dangerous for them. The Big Lick IS NOT NATURAL, and needs to be outlawed until it is no longer thought of as “beautiful” and “unique”.

    Reply
  4. Beth

    Now all those extra chains and stacks should be put on the owners and trainers, cook ’em up with some chemicals and run them around with a whip!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    another case of animal abuse makes me sick to my stomach to see this I am a great horse lover and never knew this poor poor babies what they have to endure for human entertainment again these people who do this cannot be animal or horse lovers and they don’t care just the bottom line of winning and money in these horse shows thank god this will stop but what took so long all these poor horses that suffered all these years is sickening to me

    Reply
  6. Joan

    Do I misunderstand? They can continue this cruelty until January 1, 2018, or is it banned now? I knew the gait looked horrible but until now had no idea how it was achieved. Pretty disgusting.

    Reply
  7. Dawne Williams

    Thank God this is finally outlawed! Such cruelty from those supposed horse lovers is disgusting. Yes, what took so long?

    Reply
  8. Lana

    This rule needs to go in to affect now–not a year from now allowing owners and trainers to continue the abuse another 12 months. When you think back in time and realize how long these horses have endured pain and abuse–it makes any normal person sick to their stomach. The TWH industry is going to have to do something to bring back the good feelings that need to be connected to these owners and breeders.

    Reply
  9. Teresa

    Yay! Thank you USDA for having a voice for them.
    Don’t ever let these cruel techniques come back to haunt them. Shut these people down! These horses are scarred for life..

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Sorry…but plan on seeing more of these horses in the slaughter pools. Seriously, no more money-makers… this is the mindframe of theses assholes!

    Reply
    • Chris Hall

      Probably be the kindest thing for them. No more torture and they can’t even walk properly when they finish being “shown” so I expect that’s where they would end anyway. Do you mean these “people” only keep horses as money makers?

      Reply
  11. Bernadette

    The USDA has banned this practice….so what?? This just appears to be covering the inspection at shows…until they actually go into the training facilities and bust the trainers and the promotors and owners who allow this to go on then this will still happen on a regular basis….this is a good start but not a real solution…

    Reply
  12. Sandy Sargent

    I would like to hear from someone who trains, shows and owns Tennessee Walkers that thinks this has been an acceptable practice. Seems like they’re all being pretty quiet. Hmmmm? You should be ashamed of yourselves. You know who you are.

    Reply
  13. Martha

    Why wait a year? I’m thrilled to see it out lawed, but let’s get real…unless and until officers go undercover in the known training centers and the back woods hidden, fly by night places we should all know this disgusting mess will continue. Look at dog fighting. It’s outlawed, but it lives and thrives anyway. There is something wrong in the mind of people that willingly hurt and do these awful things to living, breathing creatures. Pure evil!

    Reply
    • Von

      All l can say is Thank God we don’t have gaited horses or classes for them in Australia. Personally l don’t see anything ‘nice’ about the whole action. I have read this article a couple of times and l believe the ban on soring is immediate, and the years time-frame is to allow trainers to slowly decrease the size of the stacks and chains to avoid further injury and pain to the horses. It will allow the ligaments, tendons and muscles to slowly return to their proper movement. To remove them completely immediatly would risk severe injury and pain, possibly resulting in death.

      Reply
      • Martha

        Yes I do think you are right. I reread it and I think you are right.

  14. Kim

    BARBARIC and CRUEL!! Why??? Seriously why would anyone do such a horrendous thing to another living being…Intentionally causing such pain…That to me is pure evil!!!

    Reply
  15. 0mniartist

    I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today,
    yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    0mniartist asmr

    Reply
  16. signup.com

    Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot about this,
    such as you wrote the guide in it or something.

    I feel that you just could do with some p.c.
    to power the message house a bit, however other than that,
    this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.
    0mniartist asmr

    Reply
  17. bitly.com

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say
    that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon! 0mniartist asmr

    Reply
  18. of gamefly

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Short but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

    Reply
  19. are asmr

    What’s up colleagues, how is all, and what you desire to say on the topic
    of this piece of writing, in my view its actually remarkable in favor of
    me.

    Reply
  20. asmr where

    hello there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise some technical points using this website, as I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading
    instances times will often affect your placement in google and
    can damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out
    for much more of your respective intriguing content.
    Make sure you update this again soon.

    Reply
  21. what asmr

    Nice weblog right here! Additionally your site loads
    up fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink
    for your host? I want my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    Reply
  22. gamefly there

    It’s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you just shared this
    helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  23. asmr off

    Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve added you guys to
    my blogroll.

    Reply
  24. bitly.com

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was seeking this certain info for a very long
    time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Reply
  25. is asmr

    It’s in reality a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful
    information with us. Please keep us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  26. bitly.com

    scoliosis
    Asking questions are truly good thing if you are not understanding anything completely, but this piece of writing offers pleasant understanding even. scoliosis

    Reply
  27. bitly.com

    scoliosis
    I’ve read some just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking
    for revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you put to create any such
    fantastic informative site. scoliosis

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.