The 75th Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee on August 29, 2013. HSUS.

The true celebration will be when we end horse soring

Take action to eliminate horse soring and “big lick” animal cruelty. Elizabeth Fite, reporting for the Times Free Press writes:

The biggest competition for the Tennessee walking horse breed begins Wednesday in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

For some, the 11-day Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration — often called the Celebration — embodies the best of the breed and its traditions. For others, it’s tainted by the cruel practice of horse soring — when humans intentionally injure horses’ hooves or legs to make them step higher, creating an artificial gait known as the “big lick.”

Soring became illegal in 1970 and is not allowed at the Celebration. However, the current law doesn’t prohibit stacked shoes, chains or other “action devices,” and those will be used on horses at the Celebration in classes where the high-stepping “big lick” is still coveted.

Horse soring "stacks" on the front hooves of a Tennessee Walking Horse at Big Lick competition. HSUS.
Horse soring “stacks” on the front hooves of a Tennessee Walking Horse at Big Lick competition. HSUS.

Yes, horse soring and the “big lick” is still coveted by a minority of cruel people who continue to perpetuate horrific cruelties against the beautiful and gentle Tennessee Walking Horse. Together, let’s bring it to a final end.


There is a bill pending before Congress that will wipe out horse soring once and for all.

The House version of the bill recently passed by an overwhelming 333-96. The Senate version of the Bill — S.1007 — is pending right now awaiting further action.

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections, part of an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.
Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections, part of an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.


Contact your two U.S. Senators in Washington D.C. and urge them to cosponsor and make an unwavering commitment to the passage of S.1007, the bill against the cruel practice of horse soring for Tennessee Walking Horse competitions.

Go to to contact your U.S. Senators online. Prefer to telephone? The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.  Go here for further information »

The Times Free Press article includes:

Clant Seay and the advocacy group Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty have peacefully protested outside the Celebration for the last four years.

Seay founded the group and regularly documents examples of “big lick” horse abuse on his blog,, and Facebook page, which has more than 11,000 followers. One of his latest videos is of 2-year-old walking horses wearing weighted shoes and chains and displaying the “big lick” at a show on Aug. 3.

“Calling attention to illegal and abusive activity is every citizen’s responsibility. Animal cruelty is not a tradition just because it has been going on for more than 50 years,” Seay wrote in an email. “To say that this is a ‘tradition’ is just a propaganda technique. Nor is this an ‘industry’ any more than cockfighting or dog fighting is an industry.”



See The Horse Fund’s Stakeholders page at for talking points regarding this legislation »

You can also create an account with an email and password at to find and communicate directly with your lawmakers, follow bills that interest you and more. Highly recommended!POPVOX LOGL

The 75th Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee on August 29, 2013. By HSUS.

4 thoughts on “The true celebration will be when we end horse soring”

  1. Moscow Mitch McConnell received around $700,000 in donations from the BIG LICK members and he has steadily blocked any legislation to end this brutal, cruel and inhumane practice.
    Marsha Blackburn’s entire political campaign was funded by the BIG LICK, about 1 million, and she outwardly supports the BIG LICK so she does everything she can to block any legislation.
    It’s amazing how our politicians are FOR SALE even if it means supporting brutality and blocking the will of the majority of Americans as we see with the NRA as well.
    That said, this MUST pass.
    Incidentally, since I’ve rescued a few of these poor horses, the horse in the picture who displays a “worried” look is very common in these horses who have been abused.
    They are frightened by anybody approaching their stall because they relate this to the horrible people who inflict pain, and suffering on them every single day.
    I rescued one of these horses who refused to go into a stall because he equated his stall, which should normally be a safe haven, with pain and abuse.
    So I kept him out in the paddock where he was very happy and lived out his life.
    This has got to be the most blatant form of animal cruelty in American.
    These people are sadistic, demented monsters who seem to get joy out of harming a horse.
    They are monsters.


    1. So agree. They are demented and should never be allowed to go near any animal. And/or put away as well. When Clant’s group have conducted their peaceful protests they have come so close to being run down. These abusers have no respect for any life. All to win a ribbon! That’s maniacal.

      We are so grateful for your rescues. Bless them every one.


  2. Feeling sick for these poor horses with yet another “Celebration” fast approaching.

    The sadists are preparing to carry out their abhorrently cruel acts upon these innocent, defenceless, voiceless horses.

    These sadistic people get pleasure out of putting these noble horses through physical and mental torture.

    And how on earth it has been allowed to continue is beyond me.


    1. Corrupt politicians from Tennessee and Kentucky is the answer. We must defeat them to get the current bill passed. We can do it if enough of us contact our US Senators.

      Thank you Carolyn.


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