"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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NEWS - 78 Too Many (WARNING - Graphic Photos)

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.


Funder said...

I think the pictures in the annotated rules .pdf are even worse. So sad!

Serena said...

Oh. My. God.
How can ANYONE do something like that? 78 anyones, even worse. that sh*t turns my stomach.

NotAFollower said...

Without knowing how many citations were issued in the past, I think the jump in citations is a good sign. If they really are getting serious about this, you would expect an obvious jump in the number of citations in the first year or so, as they weed out all of the really determined abusers.

horsndogluvr said...

Kat, do you have the numbers on entries? Ratios of numbers entered vs numbers sored might make it clearer.

Do you think the new HIO is doing any better of a job than the old one?

And, you lurkers who use padded horses, have you spoken out against soring? Are you SURE your trainers aren't using it, or do you just prefer not to know?

If you want to keep your stacks and pads, better get on the anti-soring bandwagon. That's your only chance, because the outcry from the rest of us is getting louder and louder. If you really want to keep the "big lick," you need to clean it up NOW. Otherwise, we'll do it for you, by getting them banned.


Anonymous said...

NAF, you're right. There has been no public information about how many citations have been in the past. That's been one of the problems with the general coverup on this--the HIOs not only haven't been citing sore horses, but they weren't releasing info on how many they have cited to make it look like they're doing their job. It's why the USDA now has the HPA violations list publicly posted since the 2006 Celebration shut down. It's also why they're now publicly releasing these photos.

HNDL, to answer your questions, I can't find the info on how many entries right now. I cannot for the life of me remember what website to find them on! But honestly, the ratio is part of our problem. It is never honest unless the USDA is present. When the HIOs do it by themselves, the numbers are always low. When the USDA does it, the numbers ratio is something like 300% higher. We of course know this means that the HIOs absolutely are not doing their job. Well, unless they are a sound HIO--FOSH, NWHA and the HPC are always honest about their numbers.

However, from what I understand, the amount of entries this year and last year were very similar. They are down from the 2005 and 2006 celebrations, however, as are the amount of spectators in the stands.

Overall, though, we should have 0 horses being sored. 400 is too many, 187 is too many, 50 is too many, 3 is too many.

As for the new HIO, SHOW, they are absolutely NOT doing their job. They have already received warning letters from the USDA because they were observed as not doing the job according to the USDA inspection procedures (not palpating corectly, allowing too many people in the DQP area, not doing the cone inspection correctly, etc.) I have those letters posted on the blog here. I witnessed it myself at the sore horse show we went to--the DQP was not doing his job. The very fact that people run when the USDA shows up tells me that inspections aren't being done right because the DQPs are allowing the sore horses through when the USDA isn't around.

Plus, the new HIO is being run by the exact same people that the old HIO was run by, AND it has the same DQPs. Seriously, if those people couldn't run the NHSC correctly, how in the hell are they going to be any different with SHOW? All they've done is change names to make it look like they're making a difference. Believe me, the new HIO is just as crooked as the old one.

Good call on your questions to those who continue to sore horses. I truly believe that if the pads, bands, chains, and other crap they put on these animals goes away, then soring will be easier to detect and harder to get away with. It CAN work!

forthehorse said...

I agree that the soreing has to STOP. But the "big lick" is not a NATURAL GAIT, so you can NOT tell me that any one of these horses, even the ones who DID show has not been or is sore at the time of show. They figure out ways to pass. What do we do with the horses that are ALREADY scared? One of my major concers: I buy these horses, take off those pads, and show them the life of a "horse" by teaching them trail and flat shod show. There are a LOT of scared GOOD horses that can never show. What do we do with the scared throw away horses, send them to slaughter? I have several scared horses, yet I DON'T, WOULD NOT, and HAVE NEVER sored one. Why are my horses discriminated against because of their previous owners?

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

forthehorse, if a horse is scarred then make him a trail horse, a driving horse, an endurance horse, versatility, dressage...there are hundreds of other jobs a horse can have that don't involve going through the DQP/VMO inspections. I ask you two questions: why do you think you have to show scarred horses - why not train them in another discipline? I have met dozens of scarred horses that are now awesome trail mounts, endurance horses, versatility horses. There are plenty of talented horses out there with clean legs that can be shown, so show those horses. Second, why are you not outraged that these people who have caused scarring have denied your horses chances to go into the show ring? Why are you blaming the inspections rather than those who caused the scars in the first place? Start letting the industry know what you think rather than complaining on a blog.

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