Whoa to Horse Soring

Vet Association Exposes Soring Lies


September 8, 2016

A veterinarian association is separating fact from fiction regarding soring and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule change.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states some have concerns with a specific phrase within the proposed rule.  There are purported fears that the proposed changes will prohibit specific actions, practices, and devices (such as pads) used when training and showing other breeds. These include Morgans, Saddlebreds, and Arabians.

Concerns that fly sprays and coat conditioners could be considered “foreign substances” and would be banned if the rule is passed are unfounded.

Looking at the context of the proposed rule, it states “related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring at any horse show, horse exhibition, horse sale, or horse auction.”

The proposed rule states:

Prohibited actions, practices, devices, and substances.

(a) Specific prohibitions. No device, method, practice, or substance shall be used with respect to any horse at any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction if such use causes or can reasonably be expected to cause such horse to be sore. The use of the following devices, equipment, or practices is specifically prohibited with respect to any Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, or related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring at any horse show, horse exhibition, horse sale, or horse auction:

The AVMA states the regulation is not about a breed; it’s about ending the cruel practice of soring.

You have until September 26 to voice your opinion on the subject here. More than 4700 comments have been received so far.

USDA Proposal to End Soring

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing a new rule it says will help prevent soring by strengthening parts of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for enforcing the HPA, a federal law that prohibits sored horses from participating in gaited horse shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. It also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to events.

USDA’s proposal recommends ending the Tennessee Walking Horse industry’s self-policing. Instead, USDA would license and train inspectors, which would be made up of veterinarians and vet techs.

Secondly, the rule would ban the use of all action devices, pads, stacked horseshoes, and foreign substances.

Soring is a painful and abusive practice used by some in the TWH and Racking Horse industries as a shortcut to training. Caustic substances or devices are applied to the horse’s hooves to make each step painful, forcing an exaggerated high stepping gait called “the big lick”. It is rewarded in the show ring with money and prizes.

The abuse continues, although soring was banned more than 40-years ago.

The proposed rule is published online and you have until September 26 to post a comment so your voice can be heard.