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.
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
News & Events
April 9, 2014
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
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
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
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.
January 13, 2014
The Cheesecake Factory, which serves more than 80 million customers a year, announced that it has begun eliminating gestation crates from its pork supply.
July 30, 2013
A U.S. District Court in Texas upheld federal regulations to prevent the practice of “soring,” in which trainers abuse horses to force them to perform an unnatural high-stepping gait for competitions.
July 9, 2013
Former Hall of Fame Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell and two associates have entered guilty pleas to charges of abusing horses in violation of the Tennessee cruelty to animals statute.
June 10, 2013
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has declared that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product and therefore cannot be manufactured, sold or delivered anywhere in New Mexico.