Sale of Tennessee Walking Horses at Kentucky Horse Park proceeds quietly


Cross-posted from The Lexington Herald-Leader at

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections. Photo: HSUS.
Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly from his stall during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS that exposed some of the gross cruelties perpetuated on these gentle animals for the sake of human greed and ego. Photo: HSUS.
After online drama and official angst, the Kentucky After Christmas Sale of Tennessee walking horses opened quietly at the Kentucky Horse Park on Friday.

Jerrold Pedigo, president of the sale, said the crowd was a little lighter and the early prices were a little lower than had been anticipated.

Some sellers were unable to get their horses to the sale because of winter weather. Would-be buyers also said they had difficulty driving into Lexington. That might have affected prices, which seemed to mostly be under $1,000. About 220 horses were cataloged to be sold.

After a delay due to the weather, dozens of horses began to make their way into the Alltech Arena to go before a crowd of a few hundred potential buyers looking mostly for trail horses.

Tennessee walking horses are Kentucky’s third-most-populous breed, behind Thoroughbreds and quarter horses.

Anti-soring advocates had expressed concerns before the sale that sore horses might be part of the sale, but that appeared not to be the case. USDA veterinary medical officers were on hand to inspect horses before the sale, alongside paid inspectors from the International Walking Horse Association.

By late afternoon, all the horses going to auction had passed inspection.

There appeared to be no padded horses at the auction. Pads have become controversial; the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association have called for them to be banned because vets say they facilitate soring. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, has filed legislation to beef up the Horse Protection Act and ban pads.

Almost all of the horses offered for the sale appeared to be flat-shod, but “performance” or padded horse enthusiasts point out that they can be sored as well.

In the world of Tennessee walking horses, padded horses wear thick front horseshoes used to help create an exaggerated, high-stepping gait known as “the big lick.” The big lick is often associated with soring, the deliberate injuring of walking horses’ front legs. Painful treatments that trainers sometimes use to encourage the big lick include painting caustic chemicals on the horse’s front legs, piling on heavy chains that bounce on tender spots, applying huge padded shoes, or inserting objects (including nails, tacks or golf balls) under the pads to create sore feet, a practice known as “pressure shoeing.”

An analysis of the sale catalog by the Humane Society of the U.S. found that about half of the horses were entered by owners previously cited for Horse Protection Act violations; a third of the owners had multiple violations. Two horses in the sale were previously cited as being sore at horse shows, including one cited twice in 2012.

Read full report >>

Thank you Ms Patton for your unbridled coverage of this issue. — Ed.

9 thoughts on “Sale of Tennessee Walking Horses at Kentucky Horse Park proceeds quietly”

  1. Some horses need to go to meat market and very few padded horses get sored. Go to a quarter horse show , they drain blood out of them to get their head so low . Saddlebred people stick ginger up butt and pressure their horses! So get all breeds


  2. Wow, that sale looked like a bunch of yahoos. Looked very unprofessional and I would not be surprised if there were meat buyers there. Or people that scooped up for their meat buyer connections.


  3. Pedigo says “he is unfamiliar with buyers who might be purchasing horses for slaughter” and “I don’t know of a single horse thats ever went to the killers from this sale in 20 years”.At 200 dollars, any horse can be bought for slaughter. Can he be sure?


  4. Please everyone get involved in banning horse soring and horse slaughter the horses need your voices:)


    1. I second that shirley. Everyone who feels a bit of empathy for the pain or confusion the horses suffer must ask themselves what they can to help. The only way to protect them is to pass laws to do so. W

      We need a ban on transport to slaughter and ban on slaughter of American horses. Presemtyl, horses may be transported. There are no plants slaughtering for human consumption yet. there has recently been a ban on showing horses with pads. The ban on training aids such as soring or other artificial enhancements needs to be banned.

      Contact your state and federal legislators (Congressman and Senators) and demand they represent your interest in protecting the horses and go ahead and do it as soon as possible.

      People are joining everyday. Soon protections will be in place.


  5. Thank you. Many of these horses seem to be destined for better lives. And the fight against soring goes on with increased determination. Thanks for everyone who keeps the fight in the news, and don’t forget about our ultimate fight against horse slaughter.


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