USDA inspectors found 219 violations of the Horse Protection Act during the competition. The competing horses were inspected a total of 1,075 times, meaning a 20% violation rate. In 2013, 6% of horses were found in violation.
An additional 485 horses were scratched from their classes and never made it to see an inspector — or the show arena. Out of those horses, 450 were entered in padded classes prior to dropping out.
The results from the foreign testing results have not been released since they take about a month. At the 2013 Celebration, 67% of horses tested were positive for illegal foreign substances.
The questionable behavior continues in a video showing the “collapse” of a horse in the show ring under its rider, Jesse Barnes. It is unknown if the walking horse’s failure to remain on its feet was caused by being being overheated or in pain, but Barnes kicks his mount while it remains on the ground. As the scene plays on, the announcer continues speaking and ignores the horse’s plight.
NOTE: This video has not been edited by Rate My Horse PRO.
Celebration CEO Mike Inman says the rules were enforced differently this year, leading to a higher number of incidents.
USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said inspectors were using more advanced technology, including thermal imaging, to identify sored horses.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, HR1518/S1406, would amend existing federal law to end what some believe is the industry’s failed system of self-policing, ban the use of devices implicated in the practice of soring and strengthen penalties against abusers. Supporters of the measure believe it is needed to end soring and preserve the integrity of the walking horse industry.
Detractors say it will kill the walking horse industry.