The cruelty known as “soring”

I know that this blog is normally about all things “birdlike”, however sometimes a story needs to be told.  There appeared in my inbox an email from a humane society about a movement to stop the cruel practice known as “soring”.  I am uninitiated in the ways of the horse show ring and know very little about breeds of horses, so the email got my interest.  Apparently, in show ring circles there is a horse – the Tennesse Walker.  Besides being a magnificant animal, it has long been the object of the cruel practice of “soring”.  The procedure involves wrapping the front hooves of the horse with a caustic solution, causing such anguish and pain that the horse can barely place its front hoofs on the ground. The ensuing “gait” of the horse becomes a “prance” where the horse raises the front hooves extremely off the ground and can barely return them without torture.  This “prance” is greatly valued in show circles…the higher and longer the hooves are held off the ground, the more exhubrant is the cheering crowd.  Another way to cause the horse to “prance” is to nail horseshoes on the front hooves, the horseshoes being filled with golf-balled sized inserts.  If you have ever tried to walk with a golf ball nailed into your instep…well, you get the idea.  More agony for the poor beast.  Yet another method of “soring” involves driving bolts into the horse’s front hooves. There exists in the archives a wonderful short film, produced by three senior girl scouts. The film explains in detail about “soring”.  The YouTube film is entitled  “Through My Eyes”.  The official definition of “soring” is…The deliberate causing/inflicting of pain to the front legs/hooves of horses to create an exaggerated high stepping gait.”  Many Tennessee Walking Horse shows have been cited with violations of this animal cruelty, yet the practice continues.  However, public outcry is being heard. Most recently, in April 2011 four men were indicted for the inhumane practice of “soring” at a Tennessee Walking Horse Show competition.  The “Friends of Sound Horses”, a non profit organization, is striving valiantly to educate the public on the inhumane practice of “soring”.  There is much yet to be done, as the following photos will attest.  This is the second, and hopefully the last blog about animal cruelty for the month.  It would make me a far happier blogger to not have any such stories to post. 

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