In 1970, the public began to voice their outrage to Congress over the treatment of Tennessee walking horses for the show ring. There was a call for politicians to ban the act of “soring,” the intentional invoking of pain on a horse’s limbs to encourage an exaggerated gait and win points from judges during the competition. Soring can cause a horse to develop blisters along their limbs and is particularly cruel.
The Horse Protection Act gives the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture the authority to investigate any horse show for signs of soring. Regulations require that all Tennessee walking horses and racking horses be inspected before entering any horse show, sale, auction, or exhibition and are not allowed to be exhibited, auctioned, or sold if they exhibit signs of soring.
However, the law did not make the act of soring illegal. The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act seeks to close loopholes in the Horse Protection Act.