The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing a proposed rule by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in a bid to eliminate horse soring, according to The Walking Horse Report.

The OMB received the proposed rule Sept. 2, 2022. It has 90 days to review. When it is returned to the USDA, the proposed rule will be published and a comment period will begin.

It is not known how the USDA will amend the HPA. A previous attempt in 2016 intended to outlaw several farriery devices, equipment, appliances and practices on “any horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.” These included pads that elevate or change the angle of the hooves more than 1 inch at the heel, artificial extension of toe length, weights and metal hoof bands, among others. It also prohibited shoeing, trimming or paring the frog or sole in a manner that causes suffering, pain, distress, inflammation or lameness during movement.

While the rule was never published, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) withdrew the rule stating that it intends to include 2021 research by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that’s contained in A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses. The NAS says the information in the report helps determine whether horses have been subjected to soring practices. The report was sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Foundation, USDA and APHIS.

APHIS defines soring as “the application of any chemical (e.g. mustard oil or diesel fuel), mechanical agent (e.g. overweight chains), or practice (e.g. trimming a hoof to expose the sensitive tissue) inflicted upon any limb of a horse, that can cause or be expected to cause the horse to suffer physical pain or distress when moving.” The practice produces a high-stepping gait that’s favored in the Tennessee Walker show horse world.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration could not be reached for comment.