"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Click here for the Confidential Interviews about Soring from the 2009 Sound Horse Conference.

This is incredible information. Be sure to take the time to watch the interviews and read the transcripts if you can. The below is the description of these interviews from the Sound Horse Conference 2009 information. I think it best describes why these interviews were done and the process used.

Confidential Interviews about Soring Process Described:

Our goal for the Sound Horse Conference 2009 is to reinforce and accelerate the pressures being brought to bear to end the abusive practice of soring. Soring has been called one of the most significant welfare issues affecting any equine breed or discipline by the AAEP. That’s the association of 10,000 equine veterinarians in this country. Soring is the intentional infliction of pain, from chemical and mechanical means, to create an exaggerated gait in show horses for the purpose of winning.

There is no one in this room who would argue that soring is acceptable. There is no-one in the entire Tennessee Walking Horse industry who would suggest publically that soring is acceptable. Soring has been federally illegal for almost 40 years.

And it is denied by many in the Tennessee Walking horse industry that soring is still a common practice. Many press releases, articles, and websites claim that the vast majority of show Tennessee Walking Horses are not sored. Do you believe that? Our first presentation, Current Soring Practices, was developed to help you answer that question. Let’s dedicate this Conference, and focus our combined energies after these two days, to bring an true end to this abuse. Remember why we are doing this: for the horses, those mute, sensitive, affectionate and trusting animals who cannot defend themselves against these tortures.

And now, as we begin the Conference, I will tell you the background of this first presentation. We reached out to 12 people involved with Tennessee Walking Horses and asked for their help in contacting any sources they might know with personal involvement in soring. The basis for this project was complete anonymity.

The only way the people interviewed would agree to speak to us was if a double-blind interview was used. This would ensure that no one recognized their names nor their voices. Each source called into a conference line at their pre-scheduled time, and was questioned by a prominent attorney who has over 12 years of involvement in Horse Protection Act issues. The conference calls were recorded, and transcribed by a professional service. Interviews were conducted with padded and flat shod show horse owners, a world champion trainer, show judges, show exhibitors, and farriers. And the end of this process, the attorney who conducted the interviews stated, “The people you identified to have me interview… had terrific knowledge, and although their perspectives on the issue were all somewhat different, it's clear that soring remains a constant and institutionalized blight on the TWH breed.”

Each of the sources understood that their call was being recorded, and no sources received any compensation. The transcripts were condensed from 8 hours of interview time into what you are going to hear today and tomorrow, read by professional voices to protect all identities.

To those of you who stepped up to perform these interviews: I SALUTE YOU. You are right to make a difference and a change in the lives of your horses and yourselves. I hope that you understand that many people will forgive you for what you've done when you make this kind of a change.

Honestly, I cannot imagine how those of you who continue to do this can continue to lie about it. WE KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. I plead with you to change. I don't care of you have a change of heart or not--stop the chemicals, the chains, the pads, the plastic, the pantyhose, the pressure shoeing, and the madness. You can get quality training just by basic proper exercise. I've found that it's a lot easier than one might think. Hell, I don't care if you use a slightly heavier shoe for weight. Just stop the pain these majestic creatures continue to go through. If you truly believed in the breed, you would stop making it look so bad.

Judges, stop rewarding animation. Stop allowing your ideas to be influenced by criminals. Start making a difference.

May God have mercy on the horses and no mercy on those who continue to perpetuate this abuse and do nothing about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

USDA Needs Our Support Follow Up

Here's a follow-up email I received this evening. Yet another important step to letting the gov't know that we support their decision and to keep the bad guys OUT! You can use this web address to contact your Congressional representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


Hello Sound Horse Supporters,

Since my first email this a.m., I have learned that the dark side is posting requests on many of their message boards that the USDA and congressional reps should be contacted to complain about the USDA stepping up inspections. I have a feeling the USDA is receiving hundreds of emails from them.

So, in addition to contacting the USDA to let them know you support enhanced inspections and sound horses in the show ring, we feel it would be helpful to contact the White House and your federal representatives.

The White House has a form at this website:

Some congressional reps can be contacted via email and others require completion of a form. Usually a few seconds of researching on Google provides the appropriate email address and format.

Thanking you in advance for taking the time to send messages to the USDA and reps. We know you do not want to be contacted with numerous email requests; however, when the situation is urgent and your emails will help, we realize you want to be informed.

The USDA Needs Our Support

I'm sure that by now, most of you out there know that the USDA is now requiring that all horses that come to the DQP for inspection be unsaddled. This is because another way to steward the TWHs so they don't react to palpation is to put metal bit burrs or alligator clips on their skin underneath the saddles or the girths. This causes them redirected pain, because if they move it makes things worse. So they don't flinch when being palpated. DQPs are also checking in the horses' mouths to check for alligator clips or any other foreign body in there, also used for stewarding.

Sure, it's a pain in the ass, and yes, I've heard people complain about it. But I think this is a great idea. Step up the enforcement, and do it any way deemed necessary. If we don't comply or complain, then we are only allowing the bad guys to continue to get away with this stuff.

Of course, with change comes great resistance, and of course the sore horse community is up in arms. Here's an email I received today. I hope all of you will take the time to write to these folks and let them know that we support them.


Hello Sound Horse Supporters,

As many of you are aware, the USDA has dramatically stepped up the procedures for inspections in 2009 (no scars at all, use of thermography, use of sniffer, saddleless inspections, etc.). Many people on the dark side are unhappy about this and attempting to convince the USDA that inspections are unfair, abuse of power, overreaching, etc. Some are also contacting their political representatives to ask that they step in and stop the USDA.

If you have the opportunity to email the USDA in support of their stepped up procedures to eliminate the scarred and sore horse from the show ring, that would be great. Remember, they need to hear from both sides and not just the dark side. The individuals to contact are

Dr. Chester A. Gipson - Chester.A.Gipson@aphis.usda.gov
Kevin A. Shea (Mr. Shea is Dr. Gibson's manager) - kevin.a.shea@usda.gov
Andrea M. Morgan - Andrea.M.Morgan@aphis.usda.gov
Dr. Rachel Cezar - Rachel.Cezar@aphis.usda.gov

In addition, if you would like more detail on the USDA's actions and plans for 2009, the audio recording of Dr. Cezar's presentation at the Sound Horse Conference is on that website: www.soundhorseconference.com It is extremely informative and you will learn quite a bit about their step up in enforcement for this year. Click on the "2009 Conference" link and then click on "Future Plans of the USDA."

On another note, please feel free to forward this message to those that are interested in supporting the sound horse. We need their voices to be heard.

If writing is not your "thing", here is some sample language:

First Variation

I am writing to thank you for your continued work in keeping sore horses out of the show ring. I realize that some exhibitors are complaining that the inspection process may take slightly longer; however, as an opponent of soring, these procedures are more than worthwhile.

Please keep up the good work and know that many sound horse owners fully support your actions. As a sound horse owner, I hope to be able to compete on a level playing field in 2009, knowing that no scarred or sore horses are making it into the ring.

Another Variation

I commend the USDA on the strong position that has been taken recently in defending Tennessee Walking Horses from the abuses of soring with your current inspection standards and inspection process.

Please stand strong against any criticisms of your inspection procedures and decisions about scarring. I want the Horse Protection Act vigorously enforced so that there are no scarred and sore horses in the show ring ever again.

Another Variation


Thank you so much for your unit's strong enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. I am a proud owner of sound Walking Horses. I am looking forward to the day when I don't have to caveat that ownership with a statement that I don't abuse them and have nothing to do with soring, etc. Thank you for bringing that day ever nearer!!

Blog Archive