Pressure Mounts To End Soring

Some members of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry maintain only a few bad apples are involved, but for others, soring is still a major concern

Some 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 violation.

Many in the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) industry maintain less soring and pressure shoeing is taking place than in the past. Others aren’t so sure, citing evidence that indicates that the banned practices are still all too common among high-level horses.

Soring involves the use of caustic chemicals, chains and other irritants on the legs of TWH and other gaited breeds. This leads to severe pain and forces the well-accepted high-stepping gait. 

Soring has been banned since 1970 under the Horse Protection Act (HPA) that is enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA.) It includes, but is not limited to:

  • The use of irritants.
  • The treatment of the pastern region to remove visible effects of irritants or any scar/callus remnants resulting from use of irritants and/or action devices.
  • Pressure shoeing and excessive paring of the sole and/or frog.
  • Any method utilized to induce pain or laminitis.

While many in the industry believe that trainers are responsible for most of the illegal practices, even surveyed farriers who deal with TWHs believe shoers are doing a portion…

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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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