Stop Burning Horses’ Legs to Improve Their Gait

Target: Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary

Goal: Close loopholes to end cruel practice of soring, and require inspectors to be independent veterinarians.

In the show horse industry, people will apply tremendous, painful pressure or burn horses’ legs in order to enhance their gait. Tennessee walking horses are the breed most affected by this practice, as they have a distinctive gait that is sometimes cruelly exaggerated, producing what is known as the “Big Lick.” The cruel practice, known as soring, is illegal; however organizations have been easily finding loopholes for years.

Typically, mustard oil, kerosene, or diesel fuel are used when burning horses’ legs for soring. The process is obviously painful and traumatizing. Under the Horse Protection Act, horses that have been sored are not allowed at shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions. However, due to inner industry connections, organizations are easily able to work around this law and continue the cruelty.

Sign this petition and demand the USDA enforce stronger protections for horses. Soring is unusually cruel and unnecessary. It is time for soring to be a thing of the past.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

Soring is a common process in the show horse industry that puts extreme, painful pressure or burns Tennessee walking horses’ legs to enhance their gait. The practice is illegal under the Horse Protection Act; however due to inner industry connections, organizations have been easily working around this law to continue the cruel practice.

The main problem is that many inspectors work in the industry. They often turn a blind eye when they see horses that have been sored at shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions. If the USDA trained its own inspectors and had them be independent veterinarians or animal health technicians, the problem would drop significantly.

Please consider increasing protection for Tennessee walking horses. Soring is completely unnecessary and unusually cruel.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Selena N

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  1. Is there nothing that humans won’t think of to do to these poor animals of all kinds. I didn’t realize just how many evil people we have in the world. This must be stopped.

  2. Muriel Angus-Shaw says:

    This VILE and WICKED process MUST cease!!!!!!!

  3. Rhona LaBruzzo says:

    They will just say it helps with the horses health or something. Stop hurting animals.

  4. fran oakes says:

    STOP HURT ING ANIMAL !!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Gerard FABIANO says:


  6. The people who sore these horses are above the law and keep doing it, VILSACK has yet to stop them, big money corruption as usual.

  7. Alice Cheang says:

    Please take this seriously and help your horses for they are nothing but sweet, harmless loving creatures that deserve love, care and respect from humans.

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