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Unformatted text preview: 1 Professor Simon English 101/14 17 November 2006 A Sore Issue 1 Banned 30 years ago, soring was and still is today a major issue in the show horse industry. Although many gaited horses are sored, the most prevalent is the Tennessee Walking Horse. Tennessee Walking Horses were first bred in 1885 to carry plantation owners comfortably over their vast properties. They were bred particularly for their smooth gait. As soon as a young foal is able to walk, owners see signs of the true natural gait. There are two different categories of walking horses, performance and pleasure. As the Tennessee Walking Horse became well known, people gained more interest. Soring was started in the 1950s as a way for trainers and owners to enhance their horses gait. It was not until the 1960s that soring really took off. Everyone wanted that special advantage over others in the show ring. This advantage was called the big lick. By soring a horse you could achieve a sort of animation that you would not naturally see in a Tennessee Walking Horse. Soring causes the horse to lift its front legs higher and the rear legs extend more forward than that of the normal horse. Finally, in the 1970s the United States Department of Agriculture enacted the Horse Protection Act as a result of this cruel practice of soring. As part of this act soring was outlawed. Even though it was outlawed thirty six years ago, it has never really stopped.. Tennessee Walking Horses can be dated all the way back into the late 1800s. The Tennessee Walking Horse is composed of several different breeds, such as Narragansett, Canadian Pacer, Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan and American Saddlebred Stock. The 2 gaits of a walking horse are unlike any other. These include the flat walk, running walk and canter. The flat walk and running walk, consist of a four beat gait with a overstepping back end ("Performance Horse"). It is the extra over stride in both the flat walk and the running walk that the judges look for. Although the flat walk and running walk are very much alike, the running walk is a faster version of the flat walk. The difference between the gaits should be fairly noticeable. The canter however is a "collected, high rolling gallop," the gait can also be recognized as the "rocking chair canter" ("Performance Horse"). These are "naturally inherited gaits" ("A Brief History of the Tennessee Walking Horse"). Genes may play an important part in the horses gait. Majority of walking horses have ancestors who were known for their ability to possess these desired gait "walk." Some of the leading sires of the industry are Midnight Sun, Strolling Jim and Prides Generator. Tennessee Walking Horses may be one breed, but they are classified into two groups. These two groups are the performance and the pleasure walking horses. Performance walking horses have become the most popular in the industry. Unlike the majority of pleasure walking horse, performance horses are shod with enormous looking pads and shoes that cause their gait to be animated. Performance horses also have a distinct high stepping walk. It picks up its feet much higher than the average walking horse would. Pleasure walking horses however have a natural looking gait. They are shod with regular horse shoes and do not perform with chains or pads. The pleasure walking horse is more focused on the horses own natural abilities and breeding. Soring "is the act of mutilating the legs or feet of a horse in order to produce a particular gait in the animal " ("Soring"). In order to achieve this type of animation walking horses are sored. There are many methods people use in order to enhance a horses gait. The most popular 3 is the application or injection of chemicals. These chemicals can range anywhere from mustard oil, fuel oil, petroleum products, or salicylic acid (Yeager). The main use for salicylic acid is to peal off the scars in order to create new hair growth so that the scarring is less noticeable. These chemicals are placed on the horses front pasterns and coronet, where it is wrapped and allowed to settle for a few days, until it becomes "tender to the touch " (Meszoly). This can cause a burning sensations and scarring which may become permanent. Legal practices include chains and pads. Chains, which are worn around the foot, cannot exceed six ounces. Pads are used on the shoes to add height and weight. The height of the pads cannot exceed over half of the natural hoof. Another type of soring is called mechanical soring. These methods include pressure shoeing and road foundering. Pressure shoeing requires that you file the hoof wall all the way down to the quick. This is the same as cutting a fingernail to short. Next a metal shoe is applied where the soul can come in direct contact with it. With every step the horse takes it feels an unbearable pain which makes it raise its feet higher and faster. Road foundering is similar to pressure shoeing with a few exceptions. This requires a horses hoof to be cut to the quick and a shoe is then nailed on. Next the horse is ridden on hard surfaces such as roads. Mechanical soring can also damage the tendons of young horses. Many horses as young as fourteen months, have had to endure this kind of pain (Yeager). Whenever either of these methods are used on a horse it causes it to immediately lifts its legs to ease pressure or pain. Sored horses also can show signs of swelling, abrasions, or bleeding. Some wonder why these magnificent animals only live to a certain age. The average age of a typical horse is twenty four years. Due to the effects and damages of soring a walking horses age can be cut in half. Most sored padded walking horses die from colic, intestinal tumors or other complications resulting from soring. 4 The controversy over soring was started over the inhumane treatment of show horses. It is all about having the advantage in the show ring. The main problem is that owners and trainers know the laws, but all they want is that 15 minutes of fame and glory. They know that the Government Veterinarian Medical Officers will not come to every show to check for violators of these laws. In the performance horse show industry, "the government" is slang for Veterinarian Medical Officers. Trainers bring their horses to show and will not unload them off of the trailer if there is any sign of the government . If the government is there the trainers will usually bring the horses back the next day, because they know the government does not usually come two days in a row. This is one reason it is easy to evade getting caught soring horses because the system is to predictable. The amount of money one can win is enormous. There is also fame that goes along with winning. Each year the portrait of the World Grand Champion is displayed in the Governor's Mansion in Tennessee. There is also big money in the breeding and sales of performance walking horses. Why would people sore horses for any other reason than big prizes, fame and money? The Horse Protection Act, passed in 1970 and amended in 1976, "ensures that the horses will not be subjected to the cruel practice of soring and that responsible horse owners and trainers will not suffer unfair competition from those who sore their horses" ("APHIS Animal Care Update"). As a way to stop soring, the United States Department of Agriculture created the Horse Protection Act. To ensure a fair competition Designated Qualified Persons are assigned to all shows by the National Horse Show Commission. The Designated Qualified Persons are brought in by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association to help ensure the safety and well being of these horses. Although they cannot attend every horse show, the 5 Veterinary Medical Officers or VMO's are rendered enough money to attend only ten percent of all walking horse shows in the United States (Yeager). Even though the Veterinary Medical Officers can not be at every horse show, they do not announce which shows they will attend. Unlike the Designated Qualified Persons, the Veterinary Medical Officers can search anywhere on the show grounds for sored horses. They enforce the federal law and can but are not limited to inspections , criminal and non criminal penalties. For those that sore their horses, they can receive up to 2 years in prison and face a five thousand dollar fine. They also may be disqualified for a year or more. Disqualification restricts the right to show, exhibit or sell their horses. In the attempts to stop soring, several organizations have been formed. These include the National Walking Horse Association and Friends of Sound Horses. Both the National Walking Horse Association and Friends Of Sound Horses work to preserve the walking horses' "true, natural gait" ("A Bright Future"). Soring will always be a major issue in the walking horse industry until some drastic measures are taken to put an end to the torture of these beautiful, graceful animals. Thanks to the Horse Protection Act and the United States Department of Agriculture soring has not stopped but it has hindered some of these practices from taking place. Those who sore will not stop because of the amount of fame and fortune that is at stake. While there are others who try to end it for the safety and well-being of the horses. While there are two sides to this sad story, some see money, while others see the horses. This inhumane practice will take much more than just government regulations to eradicate this problem. What will it take to end soring? 6 Works Cited Meszoly, Joanne. "Why Soring Persists." Equus November 2005 Publication: 42-51 Lang, Andrew. "Sore Winners." ASPCA Animal Watch Spring 2000 Yeager, Bonnie. "What Is Soring?" AHDF. 2006. 6 Nov. 2006 <http://www.ahdf.org/html/soring06.html#soring> "APHIS Animal Care Update." 1997. 6 Nov. 2006 <http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletter/v8n2/8n2hpa.htm> "Soring." Dictionary.com. 2000. 6 Nov. 2006 <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/soring> "Performance Horse." TWHBEA. 12 Nov. 2006 <http://www.twhbea.com/performance/TWHBEA/index.html> "A Bright Future." NWHA. 3 Nov. 2006. 12 Nov. 2006 <http://www.nwha.com/about.html> "A Brief History of the Tennessee Walking Horse." NYSPWHC. 13 Nov. 2006 <http://www.nyspwhc.org/id34.html> ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Simon during the Fall '06 term at Tri - County Technical College.
- Fall '06