CORRECTION: the HIO is Heart of America--that's not the horse's name. I also found out this horse won the class and "passed" post show. I think we can all conclude what' really going on here.
I received this photograph from a reliable source today. From the information I've recieved, the HIO is Heart of America and this photo was taken this year at a show. Don't know anything about the show, owner, whatever, but my God...if this horse isn't sore, I don't know what is.
PLEASE flood the USDA with letters and emails. Tell them this has GOT to stop!
Here's the letter I wrote to the USDA.
I received the attached photo today. If you don't know about the photo, I hope this is enlightening to you. If you already do know about the photo, then this had better be a strong reminder of how the Federal law is continuing to be violated.
From what I understand, this horse is named Heart of America and this photo was taken this year. I don't know anything further about it, but I don't believe I have to. This is absolutely ridiculous. This horse is obviously sore. Is this what our industry has come to? Is this what SHOW and other HIOs that allow this freak of a demonstration of this breed believe is okay to be in the show ring? I don't know if this horse was allowed in the show ring, and frankly, I don't care. It's the fact that this horse was on the show grounds at all in the state he's in that is absolutely unacceptable.
I am begging the USDA, please, PLEASE ban pads and chains from the show ring and limit the toe length and shoe size and weight like all other sound horse venues have done. These practices have obviously helped--why is it that the USDA won't follow suit? It doesn't matter that the industry claims that stacks don't hurt the horses--it's what they are doing to these animals when they are allowed to have stacks on them that does. Pressure shoeing will be easier to detect without pads on the horses. Shut down HIOs who continue to have violations at their shows. The USDA has been able to pass rules such as removing the saddle for inspection and not allowing a horse to show for the rest of the show if it's found in violation...certainly rules can be put in place to get this to stop for real.
I believe you are not doing enough and that the time for allowing the industry to police itself is over. Step up and stop this. Playing around and adding rules here and there is not going to stop this--we know that. These people have had plenty of time to stop this, and now they need real action from the Feds to end it. Stop trying to not offend them or upset them or whatever it is that is keeping the USDA from banning these practices--they don't deserve it because they are criminals. The Tennessee Walking Horse has become a disgrace to the horse industry at large, and it's obvious that those who continue to sore horses will not stop. Make a difference and make a change for the better.