Horses are some of the most impressive animals on the planet. Their stamina and beauty say it all. Although they’re very strong, some people feel the need to torture these horses. This occurs to mostly show horses in order to make their natural gaits better. The push the horses have to endure effects their legs, hooves, and even more.
There are three specific types of gaits that the Tennessee Walking Horse are known for: The running walk, the canter, and the flat foot walk. This breeds natural gate is the running gait. Although this breed of horses moves beautifully some trainers still torture these poor animals.
The purpose of this torture is for the breed to pick up their feet higher off the ground, this is known as the “Big Lick.” People who enjoy horse racing, think this is amazing, but in reality, it’s severely hurting the horses. There is no way to get this type of gait without abusing the horses, also known as horse soring.
Many methods are used to make the horse legs go higher, all of which are painful for the horse. The Humane Society of the United States commented,
“Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.”
“A particularly egregious form of soring, known as pressure shoeing, involves cutting a horse’s hoof almost to the quick and tightly nailing on a shoe, or standing a horse for hours with the sensitive part of his soles on a block or other raised object. This causes excruciating pressure and pain whenever the horse puts weight on the hoof.”
They also use heavy chains, weighted shoes, and of course chemicals. At the end of the day, these horses are put into stalls and can often be found moaning from pain.
In 1970 the government passed the horse protection act. Many trainers do not follow or find ways around this act. People enforce this act by reporting it at horse shows, but a lot of trainers hide their torture well. Trainers will numb the horse or even spray paint the animal’s leg.
“Soring is so prevalent that at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the industry’s biggest event, the USDA found, in 2016, that nearly 90 percent of horses tested positive for prohibited substances that cause pain or camouflage evidence of soring. In 2017, nearly 62 percent of horses tested positive (even under a new administration committed to working closely with the regulated industry),”
The USDA was not content with the loopholes, so they created the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act.
“The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would amend the Horse Protection Act to end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of devices associated with the soring of horses in the Tennessee walking, Racking and Spotted Saddle Horses breeds, strengthen penalties and make other reforms necessary to finally end this torture.”
Horse soring is becoming less and less prominent due to the government’s involvement. If you see horse soring make sure to report it.