Residents of Louisville, Kentucky and all across the country need to speak out against soring horses. Soring is a barbaric process of causing pain to gaited horses to gain the high stepping appearance that has become the trademark of the Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds. On March 12 Keith Dane, Vice President of Equine Protection for the Humane Society of the United States, stated that Tennessee and Kentucky have the have the highest number of recorded violations with regard to soring show horses.
Tennessee walking horses are known for their mild temperament and smooth gait, which makes them ideal riding horses and pets. Unfortunately it is this laid back manner that makes them easy prey for trainers to sore. There are other breeds such as racking horses and spotted saddle horses that are sored as well.
There are many components to soring and many tortuous ways to go about it. Training for these horses starts between thirteen to fifteen months of age, at which time they are fitted with stacks. Stacks are heavy shoes that are affixed to the horse’s front feet that can be several inches thick, forcing the horse to stand at an unnatural angle and put much of their weight on their back legs. To achieve the “Big Lick” or high step, trainers will put caustic chemicals such as mustard oil, diesel fuel or kerosene around the postern and then wrap them in plastic wrap to allow the chemicals to set in. When it is time for the show heavy chains are wrapped around the already painful posterns and every step becomes agony. Essentially the high step is a flinch, an attempt to keep pained hooves off the ground as much as possible.
The PAST (Prevent All Soring Techniques) Act, which was introduced in part Rep Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, will ban the use of the cruel chains and stacks and any soring agents. It will alo demand harsher penalties for those found guilty of soring. The Humane Society is joined by the ASPCA and numerous other groups in support of this bill. Please contact your congressmen. Let them know you support the PAST bill to put an end to soring horses.