#Animal Rights
animal rights, anti-soring groups
United States of America

The Tennessee Walking Horse is know for its high-stepping gait in the show ring. The horses that perform these gaits are called "Performance" or "Big Lick" horses. They wear tall, heavy shoes on their front feet coupled with chains around their pasterns to exaggerate the natural gait of the breed for show purposes.

However, it is well know that these horses are also abused in order to create this gait, a process called "soring." Soring is an illegal practice per the Horse Protection Act (HPA) federal law that is still being used on a regular basis to achieve the desired action for the show ring. This has been proven by recent statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in charge of enforcing the HPA, this year’s cancellation of the final World Grand Championship class at the annual National Walking Horse Celebration due to five horses being disqualified per the HPA definitions, and eye-witness testimonials. The USDA even openly acknowledged at the June 13-14, 2006 Horse Industry Organization (HIO) meeting that “the industry needs to acknowledge that soring still exists and make a sincere effort to stop it.”

As quoted from the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA fact sheet on their website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/hpainfo.html: “Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the injection or application of chemicals or mechanical irritants. Sored horses sometimes develop permanent scars in the pastern area due to the use of these painful chemicals. The accentuated gait may also be accomplished using inhumane hoof trimming or pressure-shoeing techniques. When it walks, a sored horse responds by quickly lifting its front legs to relieve the pain.”

We, the undersigned, owners, trainers and breeders of the naturally gaited Tennessee Walking Horse (hereinafter referred to as “TWH”), sound gaited horses, and traditional horse breeds, and animal advocates in the State of Arizona and across the U.S., declare our displeasure with the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Arizona for allowing the Performance or “Big Lick” TWHs in your show venues.

We request that the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Arizona reconsider allowing the Performance or “Big Lick” TWH at their show venues from now on.

We have been informed that the reason why these horses are still in the show is because the association does not get enough support from the local public to eliminate them. We acknowledge that as the local and general public, we do not approve of the Performance or “Big Lick” TWH and therefore will not associate ourselves with your venues as a display of our non-support.

If the association eliminates the Performance and “Big Lick” TWHs from its venue, then in return, we can support your efforts by participating in your venue and promoting it to outside sources as a sound and reliable venue for safe and natural representation of the TWH.

The Eliminate the Performance Tennessee Walking Horse from the Arizona Saddlebred Futurity petition to animal rights, anti-soring groups was written by Andrea Ohnstad and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.