(MURFREESBORO, TN)--On the heels of a November 13 hearing in Washington D.C., the Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA) board of directors met recently and reaffirmed its position in opposition to HR 1518, the so-called PAST Act being sponsored by Cong. Ed Whitfield (R-KY1) and backed by the Humane Society of the United States. In reaffirming its opposition, the board again pointed to some inherent problems with the proposed legislation:

• Self regulation within the industry has dramatically reduced incidents of soring. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s own data, compliance rates hover in the 97 percent range. In 2013 alone, violations are down approximately 34 percent from just one year prior, according to USDA. In addition, violations found by the USDA at the World Grand Championship dropped a staggering 37 percent with even more inspections conducted.

• Stipulations within the proposed legislation are discriminatory because they only apply to three breeds—Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking horses and Spotted Saddle horses. At issue is the use of padded shoes and action devices, which are common among other breeds as well.

• Banning the use of pads and/or weighted shoes would effectively eliminate 85 percent of Tennessee Walking Horses from competition. And contrary to the misleading statements by advocates of the PAST Act, pads and action devises do not cause soring.

• The legislation does nothing to remove subjectivity from testing, which the industry believes is the cause of numerous erroneous violations. Even the USDA inspectors have disagreed 26 percent of the time at one training clinic. The board endorses a more objective set of criteria in determining whether a violation has occurred.


“The industry has made great strides in eliminating soring and will continue to do more—without federal intervention,” said Dr. Doyle Meadows, a PSHA board member. “The history and culture of this breed will be protected—as will the horses themselves—with the industry promoting more and more independent oversight.


The Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports more than 20,000 jobs and makes a direct and indirect contribution of $3.2 billion to the nation’s economy.


PSHA was established to promote and protect the integrity of the Performance Horse as a sound competitor in the show ring. Further, the organization is intent on also promoting and protecting the culture and history of the breed. Our goal is to consolidate industry enforcement of the HPA and inspect all horses in a fair and consistent manner to protect the wellbeing of the performance horse while maintaining the integrity of the sport.