My first reaction when I saw Fran’s article was, it’s about time! Big Lick Walking Horses have been (in my opinion) subjected to an unusually perverted form of torture under the auspices of “performance” for many years. Who, after all, actually wants their horse to have gaits like this so badly that they use keg shoes, chains and soring?
Compare this to the more traditional Tennessee Walking horse below.
Obviously, the exaggerated gait achieved in the show ring, is not exactly natural. The sad part is how it is achieved. The video below is from an investigation undertaken by the Humane Society.
According to the Hoof Blog article:
The out-of-the-ordinary rule will strip hoof equipment off show ring “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking and racking horses, once and for all. While pads, shoe bands, weighted shoes and action devices (“chains”) may not directly “sore” the horse, they have been implicated as part-and-parcel of the decades-long soring debacle.
Walking horses will be forbidden to wear their trademark pad stacks and pastern chains, beginning 30 days from the filing, which may be today or early next week. Beginning January 1, 2018, a horse may wear a pad or pads only if it is prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a specific condition.
The new rule does not impose a shoe weight limit or a toe length limit, but does limit use to a “keg or similar conventional horseshoe”.
Note that the ban doesn’t prevent horses from being shod in pads, rather it bans the use of pads that raise the heel over 1″. And even then, they can be used for medical purposes.
Let’s just hope that this makes a difference for those Big Lick horses, because despite years of exposure, the practice is still going strong.