Soring Controversy Delays Walking Horse Show

News Channel 5 in Nashville, Tenn., reported on Saturday (Aug. 26) the postponement of the 68th annual Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration due to a soring controversy. The trainers' association suspended the celebration after federal inspectors reported "30 'non-compliances' to horses and handlers." Soring is a painful, illegal practice that has been used to enhance horses' gaits.

"On Thursday, most, if not all, horses checked out with the United States Department of Agriculture," said the report. But when officials handed out the non-compliance notices on Friday evening, trainers and Celebration staff that were frustrated by issues of clarity and "randomness of federal inspections" delayed the show.

One veterinarian suggested there was discrepancy between what was classified as scarring and normal wear and tear, and what should be considered as evidence of soring.

The show resumed on Saturday evening after negotiations between the USDA and industry organizations. "But federal inspectors will reportedly only be monitoring the animals, not going over them with a fine toothed comb," reported the channel.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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