Separating fact from fiction about soring and the USDA’s proposed rule

Soring-Action-Generic-300x300Since we issued our call to support the USDA’s proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act, we’ve been receiving some comments from our membership and others concerned about a specific phrase within the proposed rule. According to the rumors going around, people fear that the proposed changes will prohibit specific actions, practices, devices and substances (such as pads) used when training and showing breeds such as Morgans, Saddlebreds, and Arabians.

There are also rumors going around that fly sprays, coat conditioners, or even saddles and bridles could be considered “foreign substances” that would be banned.

What’s missing from the messages being spread is the context that comes from reviewing the entire text of the proposed rule, which states “related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring at any horse show, horse exhibition, horse sale, or horse auction.”  What this suggests is that if you’re not soring your horses, the USDA is not going to come after you when you’re training, riding or showing them.

The USDA has provided the needed context for this proposed rule in section 11.2 paragraph (a), which is pasted below. We’ve highlighted the relevant phrases in bold, underlined text.

Prohibited actions, practices, devices, and substances.

(a) Specific prohibitions. No device, method, practice, or substance shall be used with respect to any horse at any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction if such use causes or can reasonably be expected to cause such horse to be sore. The use of the following devices, equipment, or practices is specifically prohibited with respect to any Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, or related breed that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring at any horse show, horse exhibition, horse sale, or horse auction:

No matter what breed you show, exhibit, or sell/auction, the use of any action, practice, device or substance that can reasonably be expected to cause a horse to be sore is prohibited. The regulation is not about breed; it’s about ending the cruel practice of soring. There is a large, and growing, number of walking horse owners who don’t sore their horses and who ride, train and show them in their natural gaits. They despise being lumped in with the soring crowd and need your support to return the breed to its natural beauty.

Let’s work together to end soring. It damages the reputation of a great breed and has led the other gaited horse breeds to distance themselves as much as possible from the walking horse industry. Comment in support of the USDA’s proposed changes. If you believe the language of the proposed regulation needs to be improved, please make constructive suggestions to the USDA so that the regulation may be refined to protect non-harmful or beneficial practices while preventing soring. Don’t let more walking horses suffer by throwing roadblocks that prevent adoption of the proposed regulation or by helping those who sore create more loopholes within the regulations that allow them to continue their cruel practices.

39 thoughts on “Separating fact from fiction about soring and the USDA’s proposed rule

  1. A serious question. Why do many people of the trotting breeds say there is no soring in their breed but in the next breath aren’t phased by people in the trotting breeds who pressure shoe? Another example is in the blog below.

    Quote

    “Let me just say this first. Soring really does not exist in the saddleseat world. If you have a sore horse, you really wont be able to trot your horse. Because saddlebreds are prized for their high action trot, soring with chemicals and other irritants does not happen

    What does happen? I know a few trainers who climbed the show world ladder very quickly by pressure shoeing and putting objects between the padding of the shoe and the sole of the foot.”

    http://thesaddleseattruth.tumblr.com/post/86117084075/natural-maybe-not-so-much

  2. Well the Saddlebred folks are in denial and banned me from their page. So I’ll pose that question here.

    A serious question. Why do many people of the trotting breeds say there is no soring in their breed but in the next breath aren’t phased by people in the trotting breeds who pressure shoe? Another example is in the blog below.

    Quote

    “Let me just say this first. Soring really does not exist in the saddleseat world. If you have a sore horse, you really wont be able to trot your horse. Because saddlebreds are prized for their high action trot, soring with chemicals and other irritants does not happen

    What does happen? I know a few trainers who climbed the show world ladder very quickly by pressure shoeing and putting objects between the padding of the shoe and the sole of the foot.”

    http://thesaddleseattruth.tumblr.com/post/86117084075/natural-maybe-not-so-much

  3. Dr. Owen Weaver’s comment was right on the mark. If this law is intended to get rid of soring associated with the “big lick” then it needs to so state, and not use broad language that can be applied to other kinds of horses. The Saddlebred industry is particularly anxious about this as they are often accused of soring to get high action by all kinds of people, both ignorant and those who should know better. Yes, that includes people who confuse “saddle horse” (meaning any gaited breed) with the Saddlebred breed. There is too much leeway as the law is written for such ignoramuses with an agenda to damage other breeds.
    This law also smacks of the holier-than-thou do-gooders that think that only they treat their horses right and everybody else is abusive. Some people (you can easily find them on the Internet) think that any kind of showing is abuse, but mostly they are against anything that they themselves don’t do. So if they don’t use a curb bit, a curb bit is abuse. If they don’t ride Saddle Seat, they think that Saddle Seat is abuse. This is already happening in the laws of Switzerland which greatly restrict horse owners, including forbidding shaving the muzzle. Since they don’t customarily shave the muzzle, this has now been legislated against as “abuse.”

  4. What your article states is the proposed rule is actually the rule as it currently stands–not what the USDA is trying to pass now. What their website states is this:

    “Retitling § 11.2 as “Prohibited actions, practices, devices, and substances” and prohibiting all action devices, pads, and substances applied to a horse’s limbs. Also prohibited is any practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving.”

    Furthermore, they state:

    “We would add a new paragraph (a)(1) to § 11.2 that prohibits any action device and a new paragraph (a)(2) that prohibits hoof bands, wedges, and pads at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction. We would also remove current paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(8). These paragraphs provide for restrictions regarding action devices and pads.”

    It doesn’t say at Tennessee Walking Horse Shows and other racking horse breeds–it says “at any horse show.” It is absurd to expect the exhibitors of trotting horse breeds not to expect and ask for exclusion from these regulations, or to expect us to assume that it will not affect us. Soring absolutely needs to stop, but passing such broad and unspecific legislation is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • the horse protection act as written is not what is being enforced now…. nobody wants horses abused…….the objective inspection and use of modern technology such as thermovision defeats all soring practices the usda uses subjective inspection which are not consistant and subject to hsus influence which is huge…..

      how about consistant uniform inspection that would end soring……

      pads and wedges and action devices don;t hurt horses…..

      the AVMA was invited to witness the inspection at the celebration….if you;ve never been you need to go and witness the inspection then make an educated decision…….. this is the problem alot of very well intentioned people are making decisions without real information……….

  5. This is what happens when ignorant people people try to pass bills when they don’t know the whole story and don’t try to get all the facts before passing a bill.

  6. I read with amazement that the AVMA supports the extreme animal rights drivel of the Humane Society of the United States, the entity who wrote and supported the failed PAST ACT, that is the origin of the proposed rule. Not only should the animal community, agricultural and otherwise be fearful of this assault on Congressional authority and affront to representative democracy, the supposed caretakers of our beloved animals continue to side with them and enforce their agenda to eliminate animals for recreation, utilization and ownership of any kind. The first step is to eliminate competition, by making it cost prohibitive to have shows. Our performance equine athletes who wear a padded package, and may have a light chain on them for a few minutes a week at the most, can show well past their teens without incident, go from a padded to light show several times a year with no adverse impact and be utilized in other capacities after a show career. Placing caustic substances on horses for enhancement has been illegal and the Tennessee Walking Horse is a most inspected agriculture product. There is no nexus between anything the rule wishes to eliminate and the overly broad definition of “soring” under the HPA. The impact on other breeds under the rule will be immediate and adverse. The HSUS legislative agenda in Kentucky in the past, specifically called out the American Saddlebred and the Tennessee Walking Horse, along with hunting with hounds and the bear and elk season. The AVMA, better wake up, before the few of you with a like agenda to the HSUS, put the hard working men and women of your profession that know better out of business.

  7. I guess the bell boots I found ringside after a Saddlebred show probably wouldn’t be considered ‘soring’ to a horse. There was a 4 inch screw through the top of the boot that protruded on the inside that would be next to the horse’s foot. Right about the area in the back known as the ‘pocket’. I’m sure that didn’t hurt that horse at all. All the mentally tortuous things such as shooting bottle rockets in the stall with the horse in it and shooting fire extinguishers at them doesn’t affect them in any way. These are only some of the things I’ve witnessed and the horses involved weren’t TN Walking Horses. I’m really sick of other breeds wanting to divert any attention away from their training ‘methods’ and continually pointing at the TWH industry. You’ve all got skeletons in your stalls that you don’t want anyone who hasn’t witnessed it to know about. Bite the bullet boys and girls. Your hands aren’t as clean as you lead others to believe.

    • Was it a bell boot or a quarter boot? A bell boot is usually rubber and round attaching with Velcro or sometimes a light leather round boot that has a leather shoestring that attaches it. A quarter boot is a leather boot that fits tight around the back and bulbs of the hoof and has a leather strap that attaches the boot around the front of the hoof. These are not supposed to move so some people put a small , thin bolt through the back of the boot and it goes between the pad and the frog. There is plenty of room and it doesn’t bother the horse at all but keeps the boot in place. When the USDA came to the NRHA World Racking Show the inspectors were shown that and how it worked and they had no problem with it because it doesn’t hurt the horse one bit. As far as the fireworks, they are illegal at USEF shows and if someone is using them at a show there are sever penalties for it. Someone was fought this summer at a show and were asked to leave the show grounds right then and the groom’s had to load the horses and take them off the grounds to go home. When the USEF heard the case I’m sure there will be a fine plus barred from attending shows for a time. It was also a state that fireworks are illegal so this person could also do jail time. We don’t police ourselves, USEF does and they don’t take breaking rules lightly. All trotting breeds and Hunter/jumpers fall under USEF rules. I can’t help what people do at home in their own barns but to set off fireworks in a stall is just stupid on that person because a horse’s stall is their home and they should feel safe in their home. I hope I helped you understand this. You are welcome to come to my barn or put you in contact with someone closer that has American Saddlebreds and watch them work and see how well we take care of our horses. I’m serious. You are welcome any time.

  8. I guess the bell boots I found ringside after a Saddlebred show probably wouldn’t be considered ‘soring’ to a horse. There was a 4 inch screw through the top of the boot that protruded on the inside that would be next to the horse’s foot. Right about the area in the back known as the ‘pocket’. I’m sure that didn’t hurt that horse at all. All the mentally tortuous things such as shooting bottle rockets in the stall with the horse in it and shooting fire extinguishers at them doesn’t affect them in any way. These are only some of the things I’ve witnessed and the horses involved weren’t TN Walking Horses. I’m really sick of other breeds wanting to divert any attention away from their training ‘methods’ and continually pointing at the TWH industry. You’ve all got skeletons in your stalls that you don’t want anyone who hasn’t witnessed it to know about. Bite the bullet boys and girls. Your hands aren’t as clean as you lead others to believe. Stop trying to have these regs reworded to keep the regular folk in the dark.

    • Was it a bell boot or a quarter boot? A bell boot is usually rubber and round attaching with Velcro or sometimes a light leather round boot that has a leather shoestring that attaches it. A quarter boot is a leather boot that fits tight around the back and bulbs of the hoof and has a leather strap that attaches the boot around the front of the hoof. These are not supposed to move so some people put a small , thin bolt through the back of the boot and it goes between the pad and the frog. There is plenty of room and it doesn’t bother the horse at all but keeps the boot in place. When the USDA came to the NRHA World Racking Show the inspectors were shown that and how it worked and they had no problem with it because it doesn’t hurt the horse one bit. As far as the fireworks, they are illegal at USEF shows and if someone is using them at a show there are sever penalties for it. Someone was fought this summer at a show and were asked to leave the show grounds right then and the groom’s had to load the horses and take them off the grounds to go home. When the USEF heard the case I’m sure there will be a fine plus barred from attending shows for a time. It was also a state that fireworks are illegal so this person could also do jail time. We don’t police ourselves, USEF does and they don’t take breaking rules lightly. All trotting breeds and Hunter/jumpers fall under USEF rules. I can’t help what people do at home in their own barns but to set off fireworks in a stall is just stupid on that person because a horse’s stall is their home and they should feel safe in their home. I hope I helped you understand this. You are welcome to come to my barn or put you in contact with someone closer that has American Saddlebreds and watch them work and see how well we take care of our horses. I’m serious. You are welcome any time.

  9. The rule should be written so it cannot be misunderstood, not just understood and too much of this is left open for interpretation.

  10. There is no one here who is being melodramatic or being used by the Big Lick faction. I have been a veterinarian since 1996 and been in the hunter and Saddlebred horse businesses for forty years at the very highest levels and I have also worked for the government and understand it VERY well. NO ONE wants this amendment shot down. You are insulting and niave to even suggest such a thing. This is not an all or nothing thing Kelly G. This amendment is too vague and reaches potentially across many breeds and disciplines who have never been accused or convicted of sprig horses and in fact, soring would be counterproductive and destructive.. The farrier associations are not clear on the amendment and neither is the USEF itself. We simply need more precise verbiage period. If the government were so good at it’s job this problem would have been eradicated 46 years ago and countless horses would have been saved. Everyone is quite aware that the government cannot afford to attend every little show. But as things go, they can take vague language and show up where they want and use the law as they want and when they want even if you or anyone else is NOT breaking the law. This is what vagueness can bring.

  11. I respectfully one hundred percent disagree with the AVMA on this. The wording opens the door to prohibit therapeutic use of pads that do not sore horses and have no history of doing so. . I agree with Dr Weaver “Reasonably expect” can mean anything ! The trotting breeds should not be included as trotting breeds do not and never have used the big lick practices ! I also agree that “All the trotting breeds have accentuated gaits and the boots, pads, and leg wraps are used as protective and therapeutic devices.” The AVMA have missed the mark big time on this issue and are grossly misinformed. It must be rewritten and changes need to be made in the wording and the AVMA must realize how it could be detrimental to breeds like the Arabians, Morgans, American Saddlebreds, Friesians, Dressage Horses, Jumpers and Hunters, hackney ponies, Dutch Harness horses etc. I agree excentuated motion could mean anything and is very subjective!AVMA please review the material and correct your press release!

  12. Apparently the AVMA is ok with very vague wording that could be used to ensnare other totally innocent breeds. “Reasonably expect” can mean anything at all based on the history of the breeds this rule is meant to address. And yes, it is about specific breeds in this instance. The trotting breeds could be heavily impacted by this rule if it is managed improperly. All the trotting breeds have accentuated gaits and the boots, pads, and leg wraps are used as protective and therapeutic devices. Anyone who does not understand this can enforce this rule in reference to any of the trotting breeds and get those horses injured or worse. I have read comments from AVMA members who believe American Saddlebreds sore their breed. Did these folks just skip the equine lameness class in vet school? They are uneducated, misinformed people who do not understand kinesiology, conformation or much of anything else pertaining to horse sport. No one in their right mind is for the soring of horses. The Big Lick faction has been allowed to exist for far too long and I will be glad to see them go, but allowing innocent folks to be penalized is irrational and unnecessary. Cleaning up the language of this rule is essential to breeds like Arabs, Morgans, American Saddlebreds, Friesians, Dressage Horses, Jumpers and Hunters, hackney ponies, Dutch Harness horses etc. ALL these breeds and disciplines have accentuated motion. Every single one. You as an organization need to protect these breeds from overreach or your equine veterinarians might wake up one day and have a lot less to do.

      • The claims that this is going to “ban” therapeutic shoeing and pads are RIDICULOUS. One, it would be impossible to enforce if all pads, boots and leg wraps were banned for all breeds. The USDA hasn’t been able to properly police all of the walking horse shows, what makes you think they’ll suddenly have the manpower and interest in policing you?
        Two, it clearly says that things will be banned only if they are being used to perform or hide soring. Therapeutic pads don’t cause soring. If you’re not soring your horse, you have no reason to worry.
        The Big Lick sorers have consistently found ways to cover up the their abuse. For gods’ sake, they’re known to beat horses that show a pain response to inspection in order to try to fool the inspectors. They intentionally founder their horses. They pressure shoe. They use caustic chemicals. This needs to end, and taking away all of their toys and their corrupt “self-inspection” process is how you do it.
        You’re being played by the Big Lick people. They’ve convinced you that you’re next, and they’re using you to try to kill this regulation. By screaming “vague!” you’re opening the door for more and more loopholes that will allow them to continue soring.
        Stop being melodramatic, and look at the big picture. The current regulation – the one that’s in effect right now – applies to ALL breeds as written, yet you’ve not been targeted by USDA yet, have you? Here’s the wording of the USDA reg that is currently in effect (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2001-title15/html/USCODE-2001-title15-chap44-sec1821.htm). It’s not that different.

        (3) The term “sore” when used to describe a horse means that—
        (A) an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse,
        (B) any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse,
        (C) any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or
        (D) any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse,

        and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.

    • Thank you Owen Weaver. I clicked on this link thinking I was going to find some comfort and clarification of something I had missed in the 1000 times I have read these proposed changes. Nope. Same propaganda. I just had a photograph of my BAREFOOT, ASB mare with her foal used by WBIR (Gannet) TROTTING in a field with NO action device and a foal with her as an example of SORING. I don’t expect reporters to be geniuses, I do know communication law and defamation and that I have a strong case against the morons for pulling a photograph from their archives that had nothing to do with the USDA story but in my mind, it just showed me that I am NOT willing to leave to random people whether my horse is “related” or has accentuated gait. I guess my flat shod Friesian who has never lost a Saddleseat class, never worn a pad or action device and moves like no horse I have ever seen could have accentuated gait. Are you going to put all of us through the drama of checking him too?

      • Many yrs ago, as a young person, I used to show a flat shod Racking Horse. After observing what others were doing at the time to their “big-pad-packaged” horses, I now know what all that liniment and leg wraps over the pasterns were really all about. Years later, I bought a padded TWH mare, brought her home, took the pad package off, and found that I now had a shuffling pacer, much like a camel. No more smooth stylish gait, just a slow bouncer. I knew then that she had been sored. It seems the “gear” they wear must go hand in hand with the soring.

        I have actually been afraid to admit to any non-horse person that I have ever owned a Walker or anything related to it, after a person accused me, without even knowing me or my horse, that I “put mustard plasters” on her. I am so sorry that an ignorant person did the same to you. It puts you in the position of defending yourself, then having to inform them of the truth.

        If I ever showed ANY breed of horse again, I would WANT a non-biased veterinary person to check my horse over, knowing that EVERY horse in the entire show had to undergo the same process, in order to know that all the horses there were protected from abuse. If you inspect one horse, then you must inspect them all, even though it seems insulting to your particular breed. The general public, and other horse people not familiar with your breed, don’t always know your training procedures, even though your breed/discipline isn’t well known for abuse. Singling out 1 or 2 breeds for inspection seems like not covering all the bases, even though these breeds’ abuses are more obvious than others’. I have heard of Arabians wearing heavy poll chains to lower the naturally high head carriage for Western classes, gingering the anuses of ASB’s, TWH’s, etc., cutting some of the tail muscles? of Western Pleasure Quarter Horses to stop tail swishing, hanging TWH and Racker’s heads up in a tire for hours, knocking the legs of jumpers to make them tuck up higher over a jump, etc. No breed is entirely exempt from abuse. As an exhibitor, I would have to prove my innocence just as much as the next person.

        When I went through the Frankfurt Germany airport inspection, long before 9/11, their history of terrorist attacks made it their policy to pat every passenger down. I was willing to do it, knowing that everyone got the same treatment, in order to preserve all our lives. This situation seems similar.

        The more we argue about the wording of this new law, the longer the delay and the longer the suffering. If a practice doesn’t enhance an animal’s well-being, or at least leave it in a neutral, unharmed state, then it doesn’t need to be done. If these abuses don’t stop, then the reporters will say, due to internal arguing among various breed groups, there was yet another delay, and again, nothing got accomplished.

        On the other hand, if you don’t want certain action devices outlawed, then how about limiting the pads to rim type only, those not covering the sole, unless one full pad is needed for therapeutic reasons? And you may have to obtain a farrier’s or vet’s prescription for that. Limit the total # of pads. Limit the hoof angle to a healthful one. Limit the weight of the shoe itself, and the chain itself. Keep the pain response inspection. Ban tail-sets; they don’t do anything except make the horse look like he’s in a perpetual state of pooping.

        I haven’t read any vet school studies on this subject, but intend to, and will amend my comment if needed.

  13. If in fact we are protecting the horse, should that not include its feet and legs? Are you proposing to take away all means of therapeutic shoeing? What of the horse that needs the pad and or wedge until it’s hoof become even or balance? Perhaps a veterinarian prescription along with a blacksmith references for each show? Will the USDA understand these problems? Can we expect them to judge each horse and breed with the knowledge and expertise required as if it’s a court of law? Think long and hard what will happen to this industry and the honest people involved and their livelihood.

    • THIS IS A BLANKET LAW FOR ALL BREEDS AND ALL HORSES….FARRIERS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN UP FOR ADDING SILICON HOOF PACKING!!! SEE AMERICAN FARRIERS ARTICLE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR CASE AND BLAKE PRIMM WAS COMPLETELY EXONERATED…. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THE USDA HAS HAD FORTY YEARS TO WORK ON THIS AND THEY REFUSE TO APPLY THE HPA LAW AS WRITTEN…… THIS HAS BEEN DEFEATED IN CONGRESS SO THE HSUS SPONSORED GROUP IS TRYING TO GO THROUGH COMMITTEE!!! THIS IS THE END OF THE HORSE SHOW INDUSTRY AS ONCE THEY TAKE PADS FROM ONE BREED THEY WILL GO TO THE NEXT BREED!!! THIS IS NOT ABOUT TWH OR SORE HORSES THIS IS ABOUT PADS AND WEDGES AND ACTION DEVICES ON ALL HORSES…..MANY THAT SUPPORT THIS BILL DON’T OWN A HORSE HAVE NEVER HAD A FARRIER WORK ON THERE HORSE BUT THIS IS ALL VERY SENSATIONAL!! THE ADDED LIABILITY TO FARRIERS WILL BE HUGE AS WELL…. THE TWH INDUSTRY HAS BEEN AT THE FORFRONT OF EQUINE WELL FARE THE INSPECTIONS BOTH TECHNOLOGICAL AND HUMAN MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR A NON COMPLIANT HORSE TO SHOW!!! HOW MANY VETERINARIANS HAVE WORKED ON ONE PERFORMANCE HORSES IN ANY OF THE BREEDS????? DON’T SEE PADDED HORSES IN THE MTNS OF MONTANA ,NEW MEXICO,IDAHO AND OTHER PLACES…..THIS IS A CLEAR OVERSTEPPING OF THE GOVT!!! A LAW IN ACTED BY CONGRESS CAN ONLY BE AMENDED BY CONGRESS NOT A COMMITTEE….. WHY HAVE CONGRESS CREATE LAWS IF YOU ARE GOING AROUND THEM????..

  14. The problem with this bill is that it specifically attacks a breed of horse (TWH) and then serves to lump all the other “show” breeds into that category.

    Anyone who knows anything about trotting horses knows that an unsound horse cannot perform (trot) soundly. This issue of soring trotting horses is COMPLETLY false and any vet, farrier, and or trainer can confirm the same.

    The language in the bill is poorly drafted and leave WAY to many opportunities for misinterpretation. I pray that this bill is shot down, not only for the safety and welfare of the show horses, but for the TWH who need and deserve REAL AUTHENTIC protection from those who wish to do them harm.

    • AMEN…. THIS BILL WILL END SHOW HORSES THE IDEA THAT SOMEONE THE BIG PICTURE IS REFRESHING!!! PADS AND WEDGES HAVE BEEN STUDIED AT LSU AND ANBURN WITH NO ADVERSE EFFECT…. THE STUDY WAS DONE BY EQUINE PRACTITIONERS THAT WORK ON SHOW HORSES DAILY….
      NO BODY WANTS HORSES ABUSED!!! THE HPA AS WRITTEN HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED…. ALL BREEDS SHOULD BE PROTECTED… MY DAUGHTERS DRESSAGE HORSE HAS A PAD AND GOES LAME WITHOUT THEM!!! YOU CANNOT REULATE A FEW BREEDSW WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION.
      ….
      LETS TAKE CARE OF ALL HORSES AND LETS NOT TALK ABOUT WHAT ISN’T DONE TO TRAIN HORSES IF AN ASB CAN’T WORK SORE HOW DO THEY KNOW????? I STARTED IN ASB AND MORGANS

      • Replying to ALL CAPS!!!! You cite the “Anburn [sic] study” in your comment. Unfortunately for your argument, it is apparent that you have not actually read the study. If you had read the Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine study (it is available on line), you would know that the results of four years of experimentation and observation indicate unequivocably that stacks and chains DO harm horses, even in the absence of the caustic chemicals that “performance” horse trainers apply to the pasterns of Tennessee Walkers. The six ounce chains allowed in competition don’t do much of anything (do not increase the length or amplitude of stride), but photographic evidence makes it clear that heavier chains are used in training. The researcher tested ten ounce chains and observed that within seven days they caused swelling, bleeding and exudate (pus) on the front and back of the pasterns. As for the stacks worn by big lick horses, it was found that elevating the horses’ heels by only eight degrees caused swelling and inflammation of the flexor tendons, as revealed by thermography. It also reduced the horses’ tolerance of pressure on the tendons from the normal 40 pounds per square inch to only 5 psi. So, chains alone DO cause injury and pain, and stacks alone DO cause injury and pain. That’s just for starters. Add in the caustic chemicals, “cooked in” on the pasterns with plastic wrap, the extra weights in the stacks, the grinding down of the soles until they bleed, the bolts the horses are forced to stand on for days, and other ingenious methods of soring, not to speak of the “stewarding”, and you certainly have a “show horse” – a horror show horse.

        • The Auburn study
          Shows that chains and pads are not detrimental unless a heavy chain is used and if the angles are greatly increased.

          The study says that chains 6 ounces or less are not detrimental and that when angles were raised by 3 degrees there was slight heat registered by the thermal imaging but it went away after a one week adjustment period by the horse.

          It is the EXTREME use of pads and chains that hurt, not normal, judicious use.

        • I love our breeds of ASBS and if our breed is going to end because we can’t use pads we didn’t have much of a breed to start with. Have some faith in your breed that it isn’t a pile of pads.

  15. The naming of specific breeds in this proposed rule completely contradicts the intent you describe as not being about breed. Get rid of that language and state it plain and simple as “any breed”. I am sick to death of riding my walking horse down the trail and having folks automatically “assume” that it is sore simply because of the breed association stated in these rules. I don’t feel that you are helping the breed in this manner. It only lumps everyone into the same category of bad apples.

    The regulation is not about breed; it’s about ending the cruel practice of soring. There is a large, and growing, number of walking horse owners who don’t sore their horses and who ride, train and show them in their natural gaits. They despise being lumped in with the soring crowd and need your support to return the breed to its natural beauty.

    • Your article is diametrically wrong. The Auburn studies commissioned by the USDA many years ago established, in fact, what we all already know: that neither a six ounce action device nor a a pad “can reasonable be expected to cause a horse to be sore”. Moreover, the phrase “that raises concerns about soring” is the most nonspecfic language possible. Raises concerns in whose mind? The real issue is whether the phrase “related breeds” in this exquisitely badly worded rule will in fact include “related breeds”, and exactly what that means. The essential problem with the rule is that it prohibits devices common to almost all breeds and which do not cause soring, and yet manages to do nothing to prevent soring. Let all of us horsemen beware. I am glad to discuss with anyone and everyone from my standpoint as an owner, trainer, equine attorney and owner of other breeds. Tom Kakassy

      • 1. The Auburn study, is, by the way is over 40 years old and might reasonably, at least in scientific circles, be considered to be out of date.
        2. It ‘studied’ as in scientifically researched, the practice of soring. And its conclusions caused it to be slammed by the biglick community, who are now using it as evidence to support their filthy practices. A fine example of clutching at (now rotten) straws.
        3. Chains, by the use of thermography were shown to cause pain and damage to horses
        4. The pads, stacks etc. were only looked into by gathering information in questionnaires from reputable farriers and other hoof professionals. The Auburn university researchers came to some conclusions from the answers to the questionnaires. They asked whether these professionals considered “pads covering the horses’ hooves” would show evidence of: thrush? contracted heels? other abnormalities? They also asked if pads would have to be removed to discover such evidence.
        The professionals answered “yes” to all the questions!
        The researchers passed all this information on to the organisations commissioning the research.
        No offence Tom Kakassy but these days when I read someone quoting the Auburn study I scent a biglicker. “Horseman”? Pain compliance administrator methinks.

        • THERE WAS ALSO A STUDY DONE AT LSU…. WERE YOU AT AUBURN 40 YEARS AGO TO SEE THE STUDY DONE OR DID YOU JUST HEAR ABOUT IT????
          I SUGGEST YOU CONFER WITH THE EQUINE PRACTITIONER S THAT CURRENTLY WORK ON PERFORMANCE HORSE… THEN EXPLAIN WHY THERE ARE SO MANY PERFORMANCE HORSES
          SHOWING AT 15-20 YEARS OF AGE….. HOW MANY OTHER BREEDS CAN MAKE THAT CLAIM????
          HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN RINGBONE SIDE BONES NAVICULAR ON NON PADDED HORSE???? VERY SELDOM SEEN WITH PADS AS THEY CAN BE USED FOR COMFORT!!!
          I SMELL SOMEONE THAT IS UNEDUCATED…….

        • The Auburn study
          Shows that chains and pads are not detrimental unless a heavy chain is used and if the angles are greatly increased.

          The study says that chains 6 ounces or less are not detrimental and that when angles were raised by 3 degrees there was slight heat registered by the thermal imaging but it went away after a one week adjustment period by the horse.

          It is the EXTREME use of pads and chains that hurt, not normal, judicious use.

      • as you may know soring is done in the training barns. Horses are creatures of habit and they learn the action device or whatever is used is associated with pain and it becomes a conditioned response. Being compliant for the show ring really means very little. Removing the pads and chains is truely the only way to help stop the soring

      • Tom Kakassy, please clarify why, in your comment, you represent yourself as being an “equine attorney.” Kakassy.com indicates your areas of practice. There is no mention anywhere on that site of equine law.

        • SPEAKING OF ALL THIS WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN A VET RECOMENDS A PAD OR WEDGE AND THE HORSE COMES UP SORE?????? THE FARRIER???? THE VET????? WE ALL KNOW IT HAPPENS NO MATTER HOW UNINTENTIONAL!!!

      • Hello Tom. I thought this sounded like it was weltitten by a lawyer. Where do you practice? I am a law student.