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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 »


New Bill Would Protect Walking Horse Abusers

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill that would make it easier for walking horse trainers to get away with inflicting terrible pain on horses.
Tell Congress to protect horses by passing the PAST Act

Learn about the pro-soring bill

News & Events

  • April 9, 2014

    Senate Committee Approves Bill to Protect Tennessee Walking Horses from Abuse

    Congress moved one step closer to protecting horses from the cruel practice of “soring” when the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406/H.R. 1518) today by voice vote.

  • April 4, 2014

    New TV Ads Call for Passage of Federal Bill to End Horse Soring

    In an ongoing effort to urge Congress to pass legislation to protect Tennessee walking horses, The Humane Society of the United States has launched a new television advertisement calling out Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Marsha Blackburn for introducing legislation that would allow the intentional soring of horses in the Big Lick segment of the Tennessee walking horse industry to continue.

  • April 2, 2014

    New Legislation Would Protect Horse Abusers, Not Horses

    Federal legislation introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, with Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Rand Paul, R–KY, and Johnny Isakson, R-GA, as original cosponsors, would weaken protections for horses under the federal Horse Protection Act by placing enforcement authority in the hands of individuals with ties to the Tennessee walking horse industry.

  • March 17, 2014

    New TV Ads Call for Passage of Federal Bill to End Horse Soring

    A new television advertising campaign urges viewers to call their federal lawmakers and ask them to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S. 1406. The ads began airing in Kentucky on Sunday, urging viewers to call Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and ask them to support the PAST Act. The ad campaign will expand to other media markets around the country in the coming weeks.

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