Don’t Endanger Tennessee Walking Horses


Target: United States Congress and Vice President Joe Biden

Goal: Don’t give the Tennessee walking horse industry self-regulatory power

Tennessee walking horses are known for their exaggerated gait in the show ring, as well as the often extreme, abusive measures taken to increase that gait. Measures such as chemical and physical soring—wherein horses are subjected to practices that cause intense pain, increasing the ‘big lick’ for which they are famous—are often used on horses despite prohibitions. Recently, several Tennessee and Kentucky senators introduced federal legislation that would give individuals connected to the industry regulatory power, condemning horses to continued abuse. Demand that Congress kill this bill before it can go into action.

Undercover investigations revealed extreme abuses toward Tennessee walking horses, including soring and physical beatings administered by trainers. Though outlawed for forty years, soring has still been extensively documented within the industry. Soring is the practice of causing blisters or burning of skin on a horse’s legs, which forces horses to lift their legs higher from pain, exaggerating their gait to a more desirable level.

Chemical agents are used to blister the skin on the legs, wrapped under plastic layers so they may sink in. This is an incredibly painful practice, and horses are often unable to stand up afterward because of the pain. Distinctive scarring patterns may be covered with dye, or the scars may be sloughed off using a kind of acid to avoid detection in the show ring. Other methods use pressure shoes: the hooves are trimmed in such a way that the horse’s sole is in direct contact with the pad of a pressure shoe. When ridden over hard roads, horses develop extremely sore feet.

Allowing the industry to regulate itself will only allow this abuse to continue; an investigation has provided ample evidence of cruelty within the walking horse industry. Animals will endure cruelty in the name of sport should this bill come into effect, a completely egregious violation of animal welfare that could easily be prevented.


Dear Members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden,

Soring has long been an issue in the Tennessee walking horse industry. Abuses against animals have been extensively documented, and regardless of bans on soring, it still occurs. Granting the industry the power of self-regulation, as recent federal legislation introduced by several senators would do, is wrong and unethical. Undercover investigation has already exposed rampant abuses throughout the industry; granting regulatory authority to individuals connected to the industry is tantamount

I demand that the government refuse to pass this bill. Failing to do so will allow abuse to continue in direct violation of the Horse Protection Act. This bill is tantamount to placing oversight and regulation in the hands of people willing to deliberately injure horses, and it cannot be allowed to pass. There is no excuse for soring, or for handing regulatory power to industry that has already proven itself to be abusive.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Amberh05 via Wikipedia

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  1. paula eaton says:

    This has to stop now!!! These horses are tortured and the training is abusive.

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