I received a pdf presentation today that was put together by the USDA. It is 78 different photos of horses that have been sored and were cited for HPA violations of the scar rule in 2009. Yes, you read that right: 2009. I've posted some of the photos so you can see what they look like. For the full pdf slideshow, click here. Here's Walkin On Ranch's page about it. NOTE: These photos could be considered graphic, so consider yourself forewarned.
As far as I understand most of the photos are of different horses (some are of the same horse at different angles, but not many). Note that some of them are very obvious that the horse has been sored, but some aren't so obvious. The biggest thing to notice is that some of the horses have "grease" on them. This is the lubricant that is put on them before they go in the show ring that supposedly protects the legs from the chains rubbing on them. So this means that those horses with greasy legs were allowed in the show ring after DQP inspection.
Folks, this kind of damage doesn't happen after only 10 minutes in the show ring. The grease should be protecting the legs, not damaging them. If the horse was in the show ring for 10 minutes and it has this kind of damage on it, then something is rotten in Denmark. This means the horses have had the scars and damage for a while, and the chains and whatever special mix is in that grease is making it worse.
I challenge those of you who lurk in the shadows and write me annonymous messages to explain this garbage. Explain why the USDA has collected these 78 photos. If soring is a thing of the past, then why are these photos still being taken? And this is just violations of the scar rule. How many more horses didn't pass the palpation or thermography tests?
Let me remind everyone that there were over 400 violations documented at the 2009 Celebration. FOUR HUNDRED. Why is this continuing? Why are people still allowing this continue? What has the horse done to you that he deserves such cruelty? The industry said they're going to clean it up, that this is going to be a thing of the past. How does 400 violations in 2009 compared to 187 violations in 2008 show that you are cleaning things up? From what I and others can see, progress by far is not being made. I witnessed it first hand at the sore horse show I went to a few months ago. Soring is still the preferred way of training BL horses, and don't ever, ever let anyone tell you any different.
My friend Nathanael Jackson said it best on his webpage: "I know this is frustrating to many as to why and how this is still going on, the why is still a mystery, but the HOW can be answered by knowing that there are dedicated folks out there working everyday to stop this, so they are not getting away with anything, it's just that this disease, is what we call in the medical field "Chronic"...And chronic things require a extended course of action to be eradicated."
I agree. My personal choice course of action: BAN PADS, BANDS, CHAINS, AND ACTION DEVICES IN THE SHOW RING. Sure, road foundering will happen, and pressure shoeing will go on. But it will be a lot easier for honest DQPs to pull shoes and test with hoof testers for pain without all the extra garbage on the horse. Pads on flat-shod horses are frequently used to hide devices or material used to create pain on the sole of the horses' feet.
And let's start dolling out some real punishment for the HIOs who allow this to happen. Writing them a warning letter doesn't work. Please, USDA, PLEASE SHUT THEM DOWN. Start banning DQPs who allow horses like these into the ring. Start fining trainers for soring the horses AND owners for allowing the horse to be sored. Start upholding animal cruelty laws in various states and remove these horses from the trainers and owners. Stop talking about what you're going to do and just do it.
78 photos. 78 sore legs. 78 TOO MANY.