Skip to content

More Time To Say Your Word On Horse Protection



reposted from the American Farrier Journal
written by Jeremy McGovern


When the United States Department of Agriculture announced the proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act in July 2016, the general equine industry rejoiced. “Finally,” they thought, “a real effort to end soring.” After all, attempted legislation against soring died in the past by being stalled in the sausage mill of Washington, D.C. By being able to bypass the the legislative process, the USDA can enact these changes without interference from Congress.

However, many farriers looked at the proposed changes and recognized the broad implications the revisions could have beyond Walking Horses — intended or not. Loose, ambiguous language, particularly regarding pad usage, have raised eyebrows of these farriers who don’t shoe Tennessee Walking Horses.

“Don’t worry,” hold those who fail to see the misapplication the revised HPA could have. They believe the USDA will improve with clarification or trust the government to not misapply or overextend the act. Or there are those, including other farriers, who aren’t worried about the changes because they don’t fear being affected by these changes. They don’t train, ride, shoe, etc., those horses.

The government has held four hearing sessions on this issue. They’ve also called for public response on this matter. This past week, it was announced that this period would be extended until Oct. 26, 2016.

Along with this announcement, the USDA released a clarification to its changes :

Clarification: As part of our proposed rule, we proposed to retitle § 11.2 as “Prohibited actions, practices, devices, and substances” and to prohibit all action devices, pads, and substances applied to a horse’s limbs. Also prohibited is any practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving. These proposed changes were intended to successfully and significantly reduce the number of sored horses shown, exhibited, sold, and auctioned. In our proposed changes to § 11.2, we included provisions in proposed paragraph (a)(3) of that section stating that the use of any weight on horses up to 2 years old, except a keg or similar conventional horseshoe is prohibited, as is the use of a horseshoe on horses up to 2 years old that weighs more than 16 ounces. In keeping with the intent of our other proposed changes, we are considering changing proposed paragraph (a)(3) to read “The use of any weight on horses, except a keg or similar conventional horseshoe, is prohibited.” We will consider all comments we received on this provision throughout the comment period so that those who have already commented know we will continue to consider their views.

So those hopeful for some definitive clarification were left disappointed. The water not only will remain muddy, but the USDA dumped more silt into our line of view.

If you are one who has concerns over the proposed changes to the HPA, this “clarification” should encourage you to submit your opinion if you haven’t delivered it before. Farriers are the footcare experts, which the USDA sorely needs help with. Remember, this is the agency whose footcare expert wasn’t able to remove a padded package from a horse. And you are outnumbered by the non-experts on these comments. Not only are there those who are solely focused on soring, there are those who would accept misapplication of a revised HPA to do so. This is like the homeowner who burns down the house to get rid of ants in the pantry. You can submit your opinion here: http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=APHIS-2011-0009-0001

Don’t let the opportunity pass. If the revised HPA is enacted with changes that you don’t agree with, don't be left with the regret that you could have done more.

More Stories

  • Faces return after long absences

    This past show season saw the return of several new faces to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry — although, technically, they aren’t actually new. A few weeks back, the WHR reached out to horse enthusiasts via social media to hear the stories of any newcomers who decided to jump back in the saddle after a 10 or more-year absence... Read More
  • Latest Issue Dec 18 17

    Read More
  • Equine Obituary - The Land Shark

    World grand champion and multi world champion The Land Shark passed away on December 6, 2017. The five-year-old stallion was owned and loved by Larry and Pam Russell of Pontotoc, Mississippi... Read More
  • Walking For The Angels and WHTA give back

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association teamed up once again with Walking For The Angels and Christmas In July Horse Show to give back to those in need at Christmas time. Over 300 children across Bedford County received help this year... Read More
  • KWHA Ladies Auxiliary celebrate a great year

    The KWHA Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon was held on December 9, 2017. The event was held at Malone’s Event’s and Catering in Lexington, Kentucky. 18 members joined to celebrate a wonderful year in the horse industry and participation awards and ended the day with a dirt Santa gift exchange... Read More
  • Office Holiday Hours

    The office will be closed for Christmas holidays beginning Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, and will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. We hope you enjoy that time with your families as we will be... Read More
  • Walking For Cancer show announces date

    The 2018 Walking For Cancer show will be held April 21 at the Champions Arena in Shelbyville. The start time is still pending however organizers are aiming for 5 p.m. Further details will be announced as they become available... Read More
  • Youth Council awards

    New this year for the Youth Council, a point system was put into place to help encourage all youth members to participate in different events and horse shows. Throughout the year members earned points by helping to raise money for the FAST Legal Fund and for assisting at horse shows... Read More
  • Two new faces join TWHBEA Executive Committee

    The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’s annual meetings were held last weekend in Lewisburg, Tennessee with two new faces joining the Executive Committee (EC) following the annual elections, held Saturday... Read More
  • Birth Announcement - Knox Lucas Robbins

    Paul and Jennifer Robbins welcomed their second son, Knox Lucas Robbins, on December 4, 2017. He weighed 8lbs., 6.5 oz and measured 20 inches in length. Read More