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LTE: Stop abusive practice of “soring” 

soring

We often publish articles on the horrible practice of horse soring. Not too often is there a description that will allow the reader to easily understand what is taking place. This opinion piece in Ravalli Republic does just that. ~ HfH

Stop abusive practice of “soring”

soringbleedingImagine…before going to ride your horse you put heavy chains on his front feet. The shoes he is wearing on his front feet are a layer of leather, rubber or plastic pads nailed together in a “stack” that is over five inches high. You tighten the screws. You do this to show off how high your horse can step. To win a ribbon at a horse show. Every time after you ride, you have to dress and bandage your horse’s front feet because they are bleeding from the chains you put on, bleeding from the healing sores opened again from the day before. The pain of the chains, the stacks and the bleeding sores make him step higher. Then, because of his special shoes, you can’t turn him outside anywhere so he goes back in his stall. That’s his life.

You think that “soring”, this torturous training tactic inflicted on horses to exaggerate their gait into a grotesque movement known as the “Big Lick,” which wins ribbons at gaited horse shows, doesn’t happen in Montana? The story I asked you to imagine above was me, in Billings, only 8 years ago. I was a groom for a famous Tennessee Walking Horse trainer working at a barn in Billings. I was just getting back into horses. I trusted people who I thought loved horses. I was so blind, and afraid to stand up to an issue I didn’t know much about. But that’s all changed now. This is my chance to make a difference and I hope you will join me. Don’t turn a blind eye to these horses like I once did due to my ignorance.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S.1406/ H.R. 1518) has been introduced in Congress to eliminate soring. Please contact Senator Jon Tester and ask him to join over 325 members of Congress and cosponsor this anti-crime bill which is endorsed by the Montana Veterinary Medical Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association and a multitude of horse industry and veterinary groups from around the country. We need to end this abusive training method once and for all.

Elizabeth Hansen

Billings

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