April 13, 2013
What You Can Do to Stop Soring
End the cycle of cruelty in the Tennessee walking horse community
Soring is the practice of deliberately causing pain by applying chemical irritants, heavy metal chains, and other devices to horses’ front legs to force them to produce a high-stepping gait that wins ribbons and recognition at horse show competitions.
Soring was outlawed in 1970 by the federal Horse Protection Act, but it continues to be widespread in the Tennessee walking horse community.
Here are steps you can take to stamp out soring:
1. Get the facts
- Learn more about soring »
- Read about The HSUS's latest undercover investigation, which led to federal charges against a renowned trainer »
Let your state and federal legislators know that it’s time that those who break the law—and torture animals for personal gain—are caught and punished.
Use every means of communication to ask federal lawmakers to increase enforcement funding and close loopholes in the Horse Protection Act to fix the broken enforcement system that permits people who sore horses to flaunt the law and get away with it.
- Write a letter—you can draft your own or download and personalize our sample letter (find your legislators' addresses)
- Call (find your legislators' telephone numbers)
3. Speak out in the media
Write an op-ed or letter to the editor of your local newspaper, television station, or horse industry publication.
4. Inform the general public
- Post copies of The HSUS’s fact sheet on soring in your veterinarian’s office, your stable, tack shop, or feed store.
- Use your Facebook page or Twitter feed to share links to The HSUS’s investigative video “Tennessee Walking Horses: Cruelty behind the Scenes” and soring fact sheet.
5. Educate the equestrian community
If you ride horses, talk to friends and fellow riders. Let them know that soring is not only inhumane and illegal, but—sadly—widespread. Ask them to join you in sending letters to lawmakers urging vigorous enforcement of The Horse Protection Act.
- At your local horse show, 4-H event, or Pony Club rally, set up a display, including a poster illustrating the soring process and samples of chemicals used for soring: diesel fuel, hand cleaner, mustard oil, and kerosene. Play our investigative video on a laptop or iPad.
- At events and around the barn, hand out copies of our soring fact sheet and ask people to contact their legislators to demand an end to soring.
- Spread the word that The HSUS is offering a reward for tips on people who sore horses.
6. Report abuse and spread the word about The HSUS's soring tip hotline
- Download and print our soring hotline flyer (PDF), pictured at the top of this page. Post it in barns, at shows, or anywhere that members of the Tennessee walking horse community will see it.
- If you witness soring at a stable, training barn, or horse show, immediately report the incident to the horse show inspection authorities, your local law enforcement agency, or the USDA Information Hotline, 202-720-2791. You may be eligible for The HSUS's reward.
- Be sure to follow up after the initial contact to make sure your complaint was registered. If you have additional questions or concerns, call 855-NO-SORING (855-667-6746).