The Suffering In The Tennessee Walking Horse Industry

None of the video footage or music is mine. I only claim ownership of the editing, hence the watermark.

This video surrounds the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.
Disclaimer – I am NOT claiming that every Tennessee Walking Horse is abused nor am I claiming that every person in this industry abuses horses.

Tennessee Walking Horse – The Tennessee Walking Horse or Tennessee Walker is a breed of gaited horse known for its unique four-beat running-walk and flashy movement. It was originally developed in the southern United States for use on farms and plantations.
Scientific name: Equus ferus caballus

This industry is infamous for its abuse towards the horses. If you are part of the equine community, you have most likely heard of the abuse surrounding this breed. In all horse disciplines, there is always someone trying to cheat for money (usually by abusing the horses), and the Tennessee Walking Horse industry is no exception.

This breed is gaited and naturally has a flashy step. In horse shows for this discipline, the horses are mainly judged on the height and flashiness of the stride of the front legs.

The abuse in this trade commonly involves ‘soring’ of the horses patterns.

Soring – involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.

These ‘soring’ chemicals and pastes are applied to the horses pasterns (possibly daily) during the days before an upcoming show. After application, the horses legs are wrapped with things such as saran (plastic) wrap. These wraps are left on over night to bake the chemicals into the horse’s skin. This causes extreme pain and soreness to the area. There are plenty of videos and accounts of horses jerking their legs or feet away from handlers when they are touched on that area.

How do you cover up the evidence you might ask?
Many barns and trainers will either use hair spray paint on the area or use more pastes to make the hair grow back at a rapid pace.
(http://m.humanesociety.org/issues/tenn_walking_horses/facts/what_is_soring.html)
(https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/AnimalWelfare/Documents/soring_in_horses_factsheet.pdf)
(https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/AnimalWelfare/Pages/soring-horses.aspx)

Along with the soring, most of Tennessee Walkers are forced to wear ‘high heeled shoes’. These shoes are very unnatural and put the horse’s hooves at an angle. These exaggerated horse shoes are much like high heels. But instead of coming home and taking them off, these horses wear them all day everyday, until they retire. The angle an placement of the shoes makes a longer toe and a lower heel. This causes a lot of stress on the coffin bone. The coffin bone is pointed almost straight down when a horse is wearing these ‘wedges’. This hoof position also affects blood flow to the area. (http://www.thehorse.com/images/content/BGLS2007/lorenzo_sidebar.htm)
In this chart, a veterinarian places a horse’s hoof at different angles to see which one would have the most blood flow and have the most opening and gravitational benefits to the arteries and veins.
(http://forthetnwalkinghorse.blogspot.com/2009/09/research-padding-and-effect-on-walking.html)

During training and practice, horses usually are forced to wear heavy chains. These chains constantly hit and clatter against the horse’s pasterns (where they are sored). This causes more pain which leads to the horse picking up its feet higher (what trainers want). Every time the horse takes a step, the chains clash around their pasterns. In the show ring, horses are only allowed to wear a chain with a maximum weight of 6 oz.
(http://www.angelfire.com/theforce/biglicktwh/)

Thank you for reading and watching the video. I hope you learned or realized something about this field in the horse world that you didn’t know or weren’t aware of before.

It seems that the USDA just passed laws to ban soring and use of chains and pads in this industry.
Learn more about it here:

I believe that there is currently a bill in progress of becoming a law for protecting these horses.
(https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/SA_HPA)
(http://www.soringtwhs.com)

Song:
Natalie Taylor – Come To This

If you like this type of horse abuse awareness video, go check out my other two.
Click Here To Watch My Racing Industry Video:
The Secret Side Of Horse Racing

Author: editor

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