The Good: TWH Soring Issue – New Amended Bill Being Introduced

Thank you E.Q. for bringing this to my attention.   Some of you may remember the uproar last year when a certain ‘behind-the-scenes’  video was displayed on Fugly (and all over the Internet)  in regards to abuse against Tennessee Walking Horses for the purposes of winning in the show ring.

There was a cry of outrage, but as with many things in life, not a whole lot came of it as the proposed Bill 6388 died in committee last September.  Fortunately, tenacity exists in some people and a new amended bill: HR 1518, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky is being introduced.

Both the AVMA and the AAEP are supporting this bill and here’s a link to the particulars of that:  Veterinary Practice News  There is an opportunity to submit a comment at the bottom of this article.  Show your support!

Link to the Popvox:  HR 1518

And another write up by:  Horse Canada

Stand up for the horses and lend them your voice.

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20 thoughts on “The Good: TWH Soring Issue – New Amended Bill Being Introduced

  1. Some time ago I commented on Fugly that IMO the only way to end this scourge is to treat it like dog-fighting. Charge the owners, trainers, riders AND the spectators if a sore horse is allowed on the showgrounds. Take the money and prestige out of it. You can’t go underground and hide this in a basement somewhere and there isn’t a lot of money to be made betting on it. Yeah – not likely to happen – but dog-fighting used to be legal too….

    • Amen! The only thing I would do differently is make the stacked shoes illegal too and prosecute farriers who put them on horses. Lets face it, if they have stacks on, they’re being sored. It’s pretty hard to NOT see a horse with platform shoes on. I live in TN and it is just rampant around here. Especially in show season. I have been writing my congressman for years. They seem to believe a crack will open up in the ground and swallow Shelbyville whole if the TWH industry goes down. I say no great loss. 🙂

      • It’s the owners who need prosecuting for abuse and causing suffering in the first instance.

        IMO this is about having good general enforceable legislation and rigorous rules at shows rather than banning a specific thing.

        I’ve a sense if they ban this “thing” the owners will just try to find another way to achieve the same stupid effect.

        • Like the rule “stacked shoes can be no longer than half of the natural toe’s length”. The asshats responded by simply letting the toes grow out to crazy lengths so yay, on top of those terrible shoes, they now get terrible feet. How about “No stacked shoes, period.”

          • That’s actually what the bill says – The bill would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material”

            The stacks are generally known as pads in the twh industry, this bill WILL ban them.
            As Mercedes says – please stand up for the horses. Popvox is a quick and easy way to do so. 🙂

          • I’ve done my part, I sent my little vote/opinion thing and I wrote up a little article explaining just what happens in this Industry with a link to the bill and sent it to my animal-loving friends on FB, so hopefully it will get shared around and people will – at the very least – be brought to light about it.

        • No, I am trained as a farrier and I consider it a violation of professional ethics to do something that is harmful to the horse. There is no hippocratic oath taken but the idea is to be able to help and not maim the client for money. I once was on a trip to a barn where soring techniques of shoeing were being demonstrated among other things and I walked out, convincing the rest of the class to do so.

          Most farriers here in the north will not participate in the Big Lick/soring crapola and those abusers wishing to have horses done that way frequently have to have shoers come up from Tennessee or Kentucky to have it done.

          Farriers should be held just as responsible because they have the mechanical expertise to apply abusive devices and make them stay on. Should they be liable for every lame horse out there? No, but in cases where stacks, hot nails driven into sensitive tissue are applied, steel bands around feet to hold shoes/stacks on, and other obvious and identified soring devices are applied…yes. The owner should be held ultimately responsible but the farriers should not skate on this either. And let us not forget the trainer, who is often the managing party of the whole shindig.

          This needs to END. NOW. And no, I don’t care if the whole economy of Shelbyville goes down the tubes. I don’t believe it will but if it does, be like everyone else and find another living. No one is going to convince me there is NOTHING else they can do there for people to have jobs.

          • There’s plenty of farriers in Kentucky who won’t touch these horses either. My farrier saw the overgrown foot on a gelding and demanded to know who the owner was, who the farrier was, and did they have a brain cell between them. He did settle after he learned that he was recently purchased and being evaluated for the best possible foot.

        • I’m not saying that the owners, trainers, and even riders should not be held accountable, just that if there was no one to put the “shoes” on them, there would be no big lick TWHs. Plus, there wouldn’t have to be any complicated chemical analysis of heel swabs or any of that crap. It would make the whole process easier- horse wearing stripper shoes? Somebody’s going to jail.

      • I am not sure how Farriers work in the states, here they have to be a member of the Farriers Registration Council, having served an apprenticeship (cannot remember how long, sorry) and they have to sign up to a creed not dissimilar to the Hippocratic oath- so anything approaching the things (I will not call them “shoes”) they put on the TWH would be breaking their oath and they would be ejected, meaning they could no longer practice. I have NO idea how anyone can do this to a horse and then continue to call themselves professional farriers- it defies belief.

        • Memberships, apprenticeships and certification are available – but not required. Anybody can throw a set of farrier’s tools in the back of their vehicle and start up business.

          I think I have heard the ‘shoes’ referred to as ‘appliances’. Seems appropriate.

          • Any inanimate object being applied to the living foot is correctly termed an “appliance”, not just stacks. Any bar shoe or even just a plain shoe is also an appliance, and should be thought of as such, because when we apply the inanimate to the animate and afix it so that it cannot be easily removed, that affects the living tissue, for good or bad.

        • Once upon a time some places did have licensure, but no longer. The AFA has certifications in certified, journeyman and master level, but none of these are required, although I believe in order to be able to graduate any of the schools you have to at least be qualified enough to be able to sit for the certified level exam after completing two years of field work…at least, at my school it was required of any student who wanted to complete the full course.

          • So a logical place to start would be to make it a legal requirement that all farriers have certification- and all new (ie starting work within the last five years) farriers should have qualification- I realise there are a lot of good people that are working as farriers already so you would have to start with certification- which they would just apply for, and work towards proper qualifications. You could then hold them legally responsible and their livelihood would be at risk….

          • Except that guarantees nothing, other than there’s someone to specifically sue. Certification, imo, merely tells me that someone passed a test on a given day. It doesn’t tell me if they passed it with flying colors, or just barely. It doesn’t tell me if they’re any good at what they do. It doesn’t tell me if they can apply theory to practical. It doesn’t tell me if they can continue to learn and develop, if they have a natural talent or skill for their profession. It doesn’t tell me if the person who administered or marked the test knew what they are doing. And it doesn’t tell me if the person who taught the course was any good.

            My point being, I’ve had a number of farriers over the years and the better ones tended to come from old school beginnings…as in ones that served a good ole fashion apprenticeship administered by some old timer who felt that the apprentice had ambition, a good work ethic, natural talent and skill, thusly deciding to take them under their wing and pass on their knowledge.

            I think the best approach is to educate yourself. I’m not a farrier, but I can tell when a farrier is good or not. I can tell when a horse’s feet aren’t balance and in what way they aren’t balanced. I can have an intelligent conversation with a farrier about what a horse needs foot-wise. I don’t want to do their job, it’s backbreaking, but neither will I hand over my horse to a butcher and I’ve seen quite a few certified butchers.

      • I’m from Memphis which puts me in the dangerous triangle of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. My previous trainer bought a barn that had always had this certain Walker show held in their arena every year so the first year she owned it she let them pay her to use the arena. She never did again. I can still smell the mustard paste and see all the horses standing in the founder stance because they were trying to get the weight off their sored front feet.

        Here in Tennessee you have the option of getting the “Tennessee Walker” license plate that features a big lick type horse. I always scoff at the idiots who pay for that because in my experience, if you show Walkers, you sore or use chains or pads or all of the above. I am SO SO SO very glad it is getting the attention it deserves but I have to wonder how in God’s name it has taken so long. This goes on EVERYWHERE. Big shows, saddle club shows, show barns, back yards… It has to stop.

    • I find stacking/soring to be the worst abuse to horses. I know there are horses being over-ridden, over-spurred, over taxed, drugged, dot,dot,dot but a sored horse lives in paint 24/7. There is no relaxation, no comfort to be found. It is INTENTIONAL pain, not a rider meltdown (come on, most of us have been there) and continuous. It is viewed and revered by spectators not hidden behind the barn. Ownerholes adopt the “I’m REALLY that dumb” excuse of not knowing when we all know it is bullshit. Fine them all – the hands-on trainers, farriers, owners with both barrels. Playing dumb is really getting old and I for one am sick to death of listening to peoples’ excuses of not knowing. Fuck the boys’ club and their barbarism. There are more of us than them.

      • Yes, they do know. I know of at least one family where the owner of the big-lick horses had to have it drilled into her head by other family members about what was going on, and after being financially taken to the cleaners for several years by her “trainer” and having her sored stallions NOT win at the “Celebration”, she finally pulled them out. She knew it and EVERYONE in the whole big-lick barn knew it too…that is why they paid the trainer for “full service”…he did everything including saddle and “warm up” the horse, and they called ahead to take their 15-20 minute rides before handing the horse back off to him and scuttling out of the barn to drive away. That way they didn’t have to see or know exactly what went down. They could say “oh, I don’t know anything about THAT, I pay for full service, my trainer handles everything”. But they absolutely know and pay to keep their heads in the sand.

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