If you think all show horses are pampered and well cared for, think again. Many Tennessee walking horses, known for their distinctive gait and willing natures, are subjected to a cruel practice known as soring—the intentional infliction of pain to their feet and legs to produce an exaggerated gait known as the "Big Lick."
The Tennessee walking horse is bred for its smooth, natural gait—the running walk—and The HSUS supports the many owners and trainers who use humane training methods to showcase this natural gait, while also working to end the abusive practices often used to create the exaggerated high-stepping gait that has long been associated with soring.
The lives of many Tennessee walking horses trained in this manner are filled with pain, suffering, and fear. Most are kept in stalls the majority of the time. Fitted with tall, heavy shoes, their legs covered with caustic chemicals meant to cause pain, these horses are subjected to extreme cruelty, all for the sake of a ribbon. The HSUS is working to increase the enforcement of the federal Horse Protection Act and other laws that are meant to protect these majestic animals.
News & Events
September 17, 2014
Support for legislation that would put an end to the cruel training practice known as “soring” continues to grow among horse industry professionals and celebrities. Among the latest celebrities urging passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S. 1406, are wellness author Kathy Freston; TV personalities and actresses Maria Menounos, Torrey DeVitto, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, Fiona Gubelmann and Victoria Summer; and actor Michael Vartan.
September 5, 2014
An HSUS field rescuer cares for abused horses seized because of an HSUS investigation into the practice of soring Tennessee walking horses.
July 23, 2014
The public sale of horses bearing evidence of soring is prohibited by federal law, but The Humane Society of the United States has found evidence that some horse and livestock auctions are not abiding. The HSUS urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pursue meaningful penalties against auctions that facilitate the sale of sored horses in violation of the Horse Protection Act.
June 20, 2014
An innovative grant program encourages humane training of Tennessee walking horses.