A Maury County Circuit Court jury took an hour to find a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer guilty of assault on Tuesday. Alabama’s Jamie Lawrence drove his truck at an anti-soring protester last May when he entered a horse venue.
Lawrence was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The jury returned with a guilty verdict on the lesser charge of misdemeanor assault.
A group, including Teresa Bippen, was protesting soring as walking horse competitors entered the venue.
“I saw it coming right at me,” Teresa Bippen testified. She told the court that Lawrence gunned his truck’s engine and swerved toward her as she protested outside the Spring Jubilee. The protesters were chanting ‘Big Lick, Big Lie’ and ‘Soring is Animal Abuse’.
Soring is the illegal practice of applying blistering or burning agents, sharp objects, or other substances or devices to the horse’s foot. By doing so, they make each step painful, forcing the horse to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait that is rewarded in the horse show ring. The gait is also know as “the big lick.”
Lawrence, who operates Jamie Lawrence Stables, has two Horse Protection Act violations for soring horses, according to APHIS.
Lawrence is scheduled for sentencing on March 4.