Soring: Where are We Now?

Look at this picture of a walking horse struggling to retain his balance from the grotesque position he’s been forced to assume. He looks as if he’s going to spill over backwards, injuring himself and the rider. And this has happened.

The eleven-day Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, is over for another year. Time to address this question: has anything been won in the battle against those who continue soring although the barbarous practice is illegal? More than forty years ago the federal Horse Protection Act made soring a crime. In spite of this, people have stubbornly tried to show their abused horses at the Celebration and other shows.

For readers who ask why people  sore horses, here are a few reasons

  • To win prizes and make money.
  • To gain prestige at producing a winner.
  • To show defiance toward state and federal governments who “dare” to criticize a cultural folkway: “My daddy and his daddy did it and so there’s nothing wrong with it.”
  • To show others there’s nothing wrong with these attitudes: “I own the horse and I can do anything to him I want to,” or, horribly, “He’s just a horse and it doesn’t matter what I do to him.”

In future blogs, I’ll talk about the champions in this fight and how they have joined forces this year to put a stop to this practice once and for all.


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