Information, Fact Sheets and Statistics About Horse Soring

"Stacks", or layers of pads attached to the front hooves, which would be prohibited under the proposed amendment.Horse Soring

The legal definition of horse soring under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), passed by Congress in 1970, is a sad list.  Sad, because these practices were, and are still widely used to create the “high lick” on gaited horses.  Although these practices are illegal, they persist:

(A) an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse,

(B) any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse,

(C) any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or

(D) any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.

Horse Soring Fact Sheet – “Soring is commonly found in the world of the Tennessee Walking Horse where horses are sored to perform the “big lick” for big prizes, such as the annual Walking Horse Celebration in Nashville, Tennessee.”  Read more on

Horse Soring FAQs – “Some trainers can bypass inspectors by “stewarding,” or teaching the horses not to react to the pain that palpation may cause, by severely punishing the horse for flinching after the sored area is palpated. Trainers may also time the use of the agents so that it will not be detected when the horse is examined, but will be in effect when the rider goes into the ring.”  Read more on

About the PAST Act (Prevent All Soaring Tactics) – “Animal Welfare Institute Congress enacted the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970 to make illegal the abusive practice of “soring,” in which unscrupulous trainers deliberately inflict pain on Tennessee Walking Horses’ hooves and legs to exaggerate their high-stepping gait, known as “Big Lick,” and gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows.”  Animal Welfare Institute

Articles about horse soaring:

Picture Above: Hooves of a Tennessee Walking Horse, showing built-up padding and hoof band, sometimes called “stacks.” United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, credit APHIS veterinarian Todd Behre