The true celebration will be when we end horse soring

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

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 »

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

Rep. Paul Tonko promotes H.R.1754 at Saratoga

Racehorse tied in stall.

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) spoke at Saratoga Racecourse promoting the Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R.1754), gifting us with an interesting poster. It was on the front of the stand Tonko was speaking from. A link to a pdf version was also available for download online.

Promotional poster for H.R.1754 — The Horseracing Integrity Act — used at Saratoga racecourse by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY, who introduced the bill with Andy Barr (R-KY).
Promotional poster for H.R.1754 — The Horseracing Integrity Act — used at Saratoga racecourse by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY, who introduced the bill with Andy Barr (R-KY).

Number 1 under the subtitle “The Horseracing Integrity Act”, it reads:

“Establishes a conflict-free, self-regulatory organization responsible for creating and implementing an anti-doping program for the entire horseracing industry.”

Guess where that self-regulatory organization will come from.

We remind you of the words of Dr. Sheila Lyons, DVM, the founder and director of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, writing about H.R.1754, The Horseracing Integrity Act:

“This proposed legislation ultimately leaves the details of drug regulation in the control of members of the horseracing industry despite the reality that following decades of promises to regulate drugs effectively, it has failed to do so.”

Dr. Sheila Lyons, DVM

The poster barely mentions the horses at all. As you can see, they talk about how much money they make, how many people they employ, how lack of uniformity impacts betting and thereby their “handle”. We believe this is the only reason they are pushing no race day medication, bringing them in line with other race betting nations, and at the same time increase confidence in bettors at home.

The last sentence of the poster — their last thought — finally mentions the poor old racehorse, saying this bill will increase the safety and welfare of the horses, jockey and drivers. Oh, how nice. Thanks a lot.

Doesn’t matter where you bet on racehorses. You bet. They Die.


At the very bottom of the poster, look who supports this disingenuous bill:

Animal “Welfare” Groups

Horse Racing Groups

ASPCA and HSUS. No surprise there. Enough said about that. The Animal Welfare Institute? You must be kidding. We thought they were pretty decent. Probably haven’t read the bill.

What about Animal Wellness Action? We just published their press release regarding horse soring. How disappointing. Would they promote putting Big Lick-ers in charge of governing horse soring? Then we say do not promote putting cheaters, liars, dopers and killers in charge of governing horse racing.

We won’t insult your intelligence by commenting on the racing groups. Except for WHOA. What happened to them? We actually supported them when they first started out. But as you can see, they have gone rogue. Or maybe they always were.

Hey. It’s all about the money. Nothing but the money.


Go here for quick, easy steps to take to oppose this bill »

YES, it’s August recess. But you can still contact your U.S. Representative’s office. They should be “at home”, back in their constituencies. Call. Write a letter and drop it off there instead of contacting their D.C. office if you can.

OR go to The Horse Fund’s Stakeholders Page on POPVOX. Sign up with an email and password and you can do it all from right there, with the guarantee that your lawmakers will see your message. We love POPVOX.

You can also view The Horse Fund’s talking points on each bill at POPVOX without signing up or signing in.

If your U.S. Representative has cosponsored this bill, contact him (or her) to remove their cosponsorship. Contact your two U.S. Senators and ask them to refuse to cosponsor S.1820.

*   *   *   *   *

UPDATE: We didn’t know at the time of posting, but PeTA also support this legislation, although their name is not on the poster. We are disgusted with these big box animal rights’ groups, who clearly have NOT done their homework. Nauseating.  — Editor.

6.25pm EST.

Horse racing kills in Australia

Jockey tries to hold an Australian steady up who has a badly fractured foreleg.

From the Australian “Death Watch” report at the Horse Racing Kills website:

Caslon Quote Left BlackFor a one year period from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has collected data from the stewards reports from every state and territory in Australia, compiling a detailed report of the horses who have died in racing and the reasons why – something that is not made available to the public each year by the industry itself.”

The 12 month period of data collection ends on the Horse’s Birthday (August 1) and is released on the first day of Spring (September 1). This is also known as the racing year in Australia.

Their report shows that the total kills for the one year period was 119, or one dead racehorse every three days. 46 of the 119 were 2 yr olds.

It is our view that 2 year olds should not be raced, with good reason. Read on.


Racing Babies: Are Two-Year Olds Too Young?

Part 1:  Introduction
Part 2:  Stages of Bone Growth in the Horse
Part 3:  Effects of Training and Racing on the Immature Musculoskeletal System
Part 4:  What Racing People Say: Fact or Fiction?
Part 5:  The Verdict: Training Regiments – Too Much, Too Soon?

In the Introduction Allin writes:

Caslon Quote Left BlackMore than a sport, horse racing is a huge business where moneyed gentry spend their fortunes during yearling sales with the expectation that these horses begin to earn their keep at the tender age of two. It is indeed an unyielding situation in which horses are valued largely for the first three years of their life and wherein their bona fide value is ultimately established.

“Above all the investor’s main objective is to race 2-year olds in preparation for the celebrated 3-year old stakes races after which these adolescent horses will be retired to the breeding shed. It is well recognized that the modern Thoroughbred’s peak earning potential occurs at the age of three with, on average, diminishing return at the age of four and beyond.”

“The current owners want two-year-old racing and I think it’s a pity. I think it’s a pity because it certainly does cause the breakdown of a lot of two year olds.” — Percy Sykes, horse racing industry vet.

An Australian study on the rates of injuries that occur during the training and racing of 2-year olds revealed that 85% suffered at least one incident of injury or disease. See “Racing Babies”, Part 3 by Jane Allin.

• See all our Special Reports, especially those by Jane Allin, on The Horse Fund website »

1953 dead racehorses in 4525 days in the UK

Thoroughbred Eye Photographic Print from Etsy.

Death and disarray on the racetrack seems to know no bounds.

The numbers in the title of this post are what you find when visiting the UK based Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch page. They describe their mission:

Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch was launched during the 2007 Cheltenham Festival. Its purpose is to expose and record every on-course thoroughbred fatality in Britain.

The horse racing authorities have failed to put clear, unambiguous horse death information into the public domain, preferring to offer complex statistical data rather than specifying, as Death Watch does, the names of killed horses, where the fatality occurred, who was riding the horse and the nature of the injury.

We have good reason to believe that the equine fatalities we are able to list on Death Watch, and which we have verified, fall some 30% short of the true total. Disgruntled industry insiders have, in the past, supplied us with documents to support that view.

Sounds familiar, right? Read on.

Here are Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch’s ten most recent entries. These injuries and deaths happened mostly over jumps. They note where the fatalities have occurred on the flat.

Aussie Showstopper (FR) / Goodwood / Broke Near-Foreleg — Destroyed
Le Maitre Chat (USA) / York / Pulled Up Injured — Destroyed
Prince Ahwahnee / Redcar / Broke Foreleg — Destroyed
Watt Broderick (IRE) / Uttoxeter / Fell, Injured — Destroyed
Altaira / Windsor / Injured Foreleg — Destroyed
Beat The Bank / Ascot Flat / Broke Near-Hind Leg — Destroyed
Swift Emperor (IRE) / Chester / Finished Race Lame — Destroyed
One More Tune (IRE) / Newton Abbot / Fatally Injured
De Good Man Luke (FR) / Pulled Up after Jumping Hurdle, Injured — Destroyed
You Say What (IRE) / Uttoxeter / Fell, Spinal Injury — Destroyed

The Horse Fund have been in contact with the British Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Board over the years, warning them and asking them  — begging them actually — to bar the American Thoroughbred from their Stud Book because of their unsoundness which has been bred into them due to egregious and debilitating doping practices and abuses.

In the meantime, does it matter why and how so many racehorses are killed during racing outside of the U.S.? The question it raised for us is — what do they have in common since it’s not excessive, deadly drugging? Does it all start in the shed?

Whatever the answer to that turns out to be, the bottom line for U.S. horse racing is this.

American horse racing has problems which are now virtually insurmountable making its future assuredly doomed. It’s just a matter of time. Our concern is how many racehorses will be drugged, abused, tortured and killed before the final curtain?

There is no doubt whatsoever that the U.S. horse racing industry is on a death watch of its own, but not just in terms of its horses, but of the entire industry itself.


Forgotten Side of the Salix Debate: The Calcium Connection

• LASIX. In the 1960’s when U.S. Astronauts were going to the moon, American horsemen figured out how to prevent and manage Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) or bleeding in horses with the use of Furosemide (Lasix/Salix).

• BUTE. Phenylbutazone (Bute) is an analgesic pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication, commonly used for the treatment of horses.

So, what’s wrong with that?

JANE ALLIN writes:

“So Salix leaches calcium from the bones and bute aids and abets the outcome. Great combination if you are Gumby’s sidekick Pokey, the talking red horse with rubber legs.” Go to Report »


Racehorse Memorial Wall

Covering racehorse deaths worldwide since 2005. Detailed account 2014 to present here. See

Horse Racing Wrongs

Patrick Battuello’s American racehorse death watch. See »

Slow and Merciless Death of American Horse Racing

See The slow and merciless death of American horse racing by Vivian Farrell, Tuesday’s Horse »

Horse Fund Special Reports