As someone who has loved attending the NC State Fair every year for many years, I was shocked and horrified to learn that one of the CRUELEST horse shows – the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) performance or “Big Lick” show – was coming to our North Carolina State Fair.
When I was younger, my sister rode horses, and I would spend my afternoons at the stables, petting the horses and watching her ride. This is where I learned how gentle, intelligent, and sensitive horses are. Horses have unique personalities just like your family dog, and they deserve love and compassion.
What’s going on?
At the NC State Fair this year, horses will be forced to perform the CRUEL and unnatural, high stepping “Big Lick” gait for a TWH show. How can they be forced? Trainers use an abusive training practice known as “soring.” Soring involves trainers deliberately TORTURING their horses by applying harsh chemicals (including diesel fuel, WD40 oil, and kerosene) to the horses’ legs and hoofs. The chemicals cause excruciating blisters that force the horse into a painful, high stepping gait.
While being sored, a horse can be left in his stall for days at a time, with his legs wrapped in plastic to better “cook” the chemicals deeply into the flesh. The trainers also use chains around the horse’s sore ankles that slide up and down to exacerbate the pain.
In addition, horses are forced to wear tall, heavy stacked shoes, which accentuate the artificial gait. Often times, trainers will shove sharp, metal objects such as tacks or nails between the horse’s hoofs and stacks, which increase the pain. As a result of the soring process, the horses step unnaturally high because their feet are burning in PAIN.
Isn’t that illegal? How do they get away with it?
Under the federal Horse Protection Act, it’s illegal to transport or show sored horses. So to avoid detection during official show inspections, trainers teach sored horses not to react to the pain when investigators examine the horse for signs of soring. In fact, trainers will often BRUTALLY BEAT a horse to train him not to react to the pain.
What do horse professionals say?
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners condemn the practice of soring. And the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the national governing body for most equestrian sports, has issued a rule prohibiting participants in its licensed competitions from using certain action devices associated with soring, such as chains and stacks.
How can I help?
SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION! Urge Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt and Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler to CANCEL the Walking Horse/Spotted Saddle Horse show at the 2014 NC State Fair.
Let’s make it clear – the people of North Carolina firmly believe that the intentional abuse of horses is cruel and should NOT be on display at our fairgrounds! North Carolina horse show participants deserve an even playing field – free of trainers who take abusive shortcuts, and fairgoers deserve a show of true horsemanship with only properly shod and humanely trained horses.
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