Veterinarians call for tighter oversight for walking horses

The largest group of horse veterinarians on Thursday called for changes in regulating Tennessee walking horses to end the breed's "culture of abuse."

The American Association of Equine Practitioners released a "white paper" with recommendations for how the walking horse industry can eliminate the abusive practice of "soring," which they called "one of the most significant welfare issues affecting any equine breed or discipline."

Soring involves deliberately injuring a horse with chemical irritants, weighted chains or pads, painful shoeing or hoof trimming to exaggerate the natural walking horse gaits.

The recommendations come as walking horse owners and trainers, including many in Kentucky, are preparing for their biggest show of the year, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.

Chip Walters, spokesman for the celebration, said the show would take a close look at the recommendations. He said they want to do everything they can to be “100 percent compliant.”

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