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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.



Support legislation to make soring a thing of the PAST »


Protect Tennessee Walking Horses from Cruelty

Tell your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to help put an end to soring by passing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act.

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News & Events

  • December 10, 2014

    Unidentified Senate Republican Hold Blocks Bill to Protect Horses

    Legislation to stop the cruel and illegal practice of “soring” – one of the most broadly supported bills in Congress with 60 Senate cosponsors and 308 House cosponsors – has been blocked by at least one Republican Senator, preventing movement on the legislation until the “hold” is lifted.

  • December 5, 2014

    Congressional Leaders Urged to Act on Legislation to Stop Horse Abuse

    In the waning days of the 113th Congress, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S. 1406, has continued to gain a level of bipartisan support few federal bills ever acquire, now with 308 House cosponsors and 60 Senate cosponsors.

  • September 17, 2014

    Equine Industry Leaders, Celebrities Urge Congress to Protect Tennessee Walking Horses

    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

    To the Rescue: Tennessee Walking Horses

    An HSUS field rescuer cares for abused horses seized because of an HSUS investigation into the practice of soring Tennessee walking horses.

More News & Events
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