Soring Concerns Continue but Changes are Coming

Too many gaited horses are still being sored to gain a competitive edge in the show ring

A total of 49 nails were used to hold the pads together on this Tennessee Walking Horse. Equine veterinarian Tracy Turner says this is clearly excessive when you look at how the nail locations were used to add weight in the heel area. While the Horse Protection Act prohibits weights attached to the outside of the hoof wall, horseshoe or any portion of the pad, it is not clear whether this use actually constitutes a soring violation.

While progress has been made in dealing with soring issues since American Farriers Journal produced its four-part series on this illegal practice 3 years ago, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. (To read these four articles, go to

But as was pointed out by numerous speakers at last fall’s Sound Horse Conference, progress is being made. This included possible increased federal government funding for horse show inspections and increased emphasis on bringing violators to court under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which was enacted in 1970 to eliminate soring.

Sponsored by the Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH), speakers at this event maintained that more stringent government enforcement and demands to ban soring by the equine industry are essential to eliminate this long-time problem.

What Is Soring?

There are many ways to sore horses, with the tricks often being as closely guarded as Aunt Jean’s pecan pie recipe.

When in motion, a horse that has been sored by chemicals or mechanical means responds by quickly lifting its front legs to relieve the…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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