Tennessee Walking Horses competing with stacks.

Walking horse group successful with new rules

Cross-posted from WBIR TV

When legislation to toughen federal protections against horse soring gained momentum last year, opponents said the proposed rule changes would decimate their walking horse show industry.

But a Murfreesboro-based walking horse group says it has found a way to thrive regardless of what becomes of those stiffer rules.

Dee Dee Miller, president of the Walking Horse Owners Association, said entries for its sanctioned shows across the country nearly doubled from 2012 to 2014. The number of shows were up, too.

“The popularity is just growing by leaps and bounds,” Miller said. “We just create a good time and a good place where everybody feels welcome and equally and fairly treated.”

But spectators at WHOA shows won’t see horses wearing the special shoes and metal chains that are a common sight in padded performance show rings. They’re not allowed.

Only flat-shod horses — those without materials between the hoof and shoe — are welcome to compete, Miller said. The proposed Prevent All Soring Tactics Act included a universal show ban of the pads and action devices that are used to artificially enhance the gait of a horse.

“We saw that we couldn’t be profitable with performance padded shows, but we had a great niche in the flat-shod industry,” Miller said. “If the PAST Act passes and the pads and chains were gone, the industry and the Tennessee walking horse breed will certainly survive.”

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3 thoughts on “Walking horse group successful with new rules”

  1. This is what happens when people make moral decisions and not ones that are easy and produce rotten fruit as a result of selfishness. The public is not stupid. An increasing amount of individuals (including myself) are being educated on the reality of horse soring. If supporters of the TWH industry hope to keep it afloat and to go to bed with clean consciences, they need to do what’s right. No regrets ever come from doing what is ethical.

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  2. Walking horse survived before the torturous acts of greedy trainers and owners. Their natural gait is beautiful and they are kind, loving, intelligent animals. It’s man that is corrupt and greedy making them suffer at the hands of trainers and owners, and the riders. Soring needs to end and should have ended years ago it should never have started. Now it’s up to us to get the PAST ACT to go through so these beautiful creatures can live pain free!

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  3. Of course it will survive. It isn’t about the humans, alkthough they made it be. It is the beauty of these horses and their wonderfully kind spirit that we want to see. And the people who appreciate them.

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