This is incredibly exciting! This past December, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Executive Committee made a rule change to their rulebook excluding soring, action devices, and the use of weighted shoes, pads and wedges in conjunction with a hoof band! The change was made December 17, 2012 and is effective immediately.
Copied from their rulebook. The official rule number is GR839n. Click here for the link to the rulebook section GR; Section 839n is on page 25.
SUBCHAPTER 8-F WELFARE OF THE HORSE.
GR839 Cruelty to and Abuse of a Horse.
n. Soreing and/or the use of an action device on any limb of a Tennessee Walking
Horse, Racking Horse, or Spotted Saddle Horse (each a breed not recognized by
the Federation) in any class at a Federation Licensed Competition is prohibited.
An action device is defined by the USDA as any boot, collar, chain, roller, or other
device that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse
in such a manner that it can rotate around the leg or slide up and down the leg so
as to cause friction or strike the hoof, coronet band, fetlock joint or pastern of the
horse. (Protective bell boots or heel boots are specifically excluded from this definition).
The use of a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, in conjunction with a hoof band
or other device or material (commonly referred to as a performance package)
placed on, inserted in, or attached to any limb of a Tennessee Walking Horse,
a Racking Horse, or Spotted Saddle Horse (each a breed not recognized by the
Federation) constructed to artificially alter the gait of such a horse, and which
are not protective or therapeutic in nature, in classes at a Federation Licensed
Competition is prohibited. EC 12/17/12 Effective Immediately.
It's also important to note that this is breed specific, meaning that they have pointed out this is specific to TWHs, SSHs and Racking Horses. It does not affect other breeds that use pads, wedges or bands.
So this means that at any show that uses the USEF rulebook, they have to abide by this rule, and stacks, bands, and action devices ARE NOT allowed at the show! This means that if there a show in your area that has TWH stacked and banded classes in it and the show is USEF affiliated, let the show management know to remove those classes or they can be fined by the USEF. If they don't, then give the USEF a call!
This is massively huge, folks. The USEF has not recognized the TWH breed and the SSH and Racking Horse subsets because of the soring and does not include a rulebook for these horses in their association. But to actually put this down in writing in their rulebook...well, this means a lot and should be a gigantic message to the TWH industry. It's time to wake up and stop playing games and start getting rid of the current BL look!
"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
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