Issue at Hand: The Soring of Tennessee Walker Horses
By Juliane Dykiel
Over the past couple of years, I’ve heard of more and more people taking an interest in rescuing horses. It seems that animal cruelty is being put under an even brighter spot light, and people are working together to increase awareness and to promote change.
Among the countless abuses that horses throughout the world are currently experiencing is the soring of Tennessee Walker Horses. I’ve just learned about this issue and it’s horrifying me and I can’t sleep, which is why I’m up at midnight writing this blog even though I have to get up early tomorrow.
This video pretty much sums up what these horses are going through.
If you don’t want to watch the whole video, or can’t, I’ll try to sum it up for you. Tennessee Walkers are often prized for movements that don’t always come naturally to them. Some trainers use “soring,” creating pain on the horses’ front legs using both prolonged exposure to chemicals and consistent beating. Some horses are ridden with heavy metal chains that hurt them when they move, causing a “flinch.”
If you watch the Yahoo News video you’ll see the effects that these measures have on the horses, and the horrible beatings that, at the hands of one specific trainer, these horses got as a result.
One study in the video showed that this is present in a lot of horses that are competing. This has been happening for years. It seems that horses that have been trained “properly” don’t do as well in competitions, and therefore don’t win the big prizes, usually huge sums of money. This increases the motivation to “sore” these horses’ front legs.
But I can’t imagine this being a proper justification. And in fact, I don’t know too much about the breed, or the “proper,” humane methods that exist to train them. So if you’re in the business, please contact me so that we may continue educating people. Perhaps we can write a blog about this.
In the meantime, let’s try to put a stop to soring. You can sign this online petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/190/457/083/end-the-abuse-soring-corruption-in-the-tennessee-walking-horse-breed/
Or write to your congressman or woman. Or simply spread this around to everyone you know who has a heart.
Luckily, some organizations have been started to address these issues. You can support them. One of them is FOSH – Friends of Sound Horses: http://www.fosh.info/
AllHorseStuff has recently started a rescue project, so if you know of anyone who has rescued a horse from this situation and needs to find it a new home, you can advertise it for free on our website. You can contact me about this at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!