While arrests were made earlier this spring of Maryville, Tenn., horse trainer Larry Joe Wheelon and two co-workers suspected of violating the Tennessee law against animal cruelty, an early June arrest was made of a farrier for his role in the disgraceful practice of soring. This represents the first time a farrier has been arrested in conjunction with ongoing state and federal soring investigations.

In late April, veterinarians seized 19 of Wheelon’s 27 horses after determining the animals were sored. Several containers of chemicals, including mustard oil, were also removed.

Pressure Shoeing Package

The arrest affidavit states that Wheelon's farrier removed a “pressure shoeing package,” which is a heavy layered pad, attached with nails to a horse’s hooves.

The four men are suspected of being involved in illegal and abusive practice involving the application of caustic chemicals and devices to the hooves and legs of Tennessee Walking Horses.

The battle against soring has picked up steam since horse trainer Jackie McConnell was arrested after being shown in a video that proved horse abuse.

Congressional Help Needed

There is also hope for ending this sorry situation with Congressional passage of a bill that would prevent all soring tactics by strengthening the Horse Protection Act. This bill would end industry self-policing, strengthen penalties and ban the use of certain devices associated with soring.

Most important to the equine footcare world, passage of the Congressional bill would make it easier to arrest farriers and others involved in this disgraceful practice.

Look for more details and an update on the soring controversy in the September/October issue of American Farriers Journal. In the meantime, check out our award-winning four-part series on soring: