Sound Horse Outreach®

   We support and promote the naturally gaited, sound Tennessee Walking Horse


Industry News


Pre-Conference Workshops Thursday evening, Nov. 4 for Trainers, Owners and Judges only.

2010 Conference Details 





September 17, 2009

The Cruelest Show On

June 30, 2009

Mr. Biggs - Tennessee Walking Horse's Life Ruined By Abusive

August 31, 2008

Gary Oliver Freely Admits That Chemicals on a Horse is the

Court Upholds Soring Decision

November 20 2008, Article # 13137

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently upheld a  upheld a U.S. Department of Agriculture ruling that Herbert and Jill Derickson of Tennessee violated the Horse Protection Act when they transported and entered a sored Tennessee Walking Horse, Just American Magic, in a 2002 horse show.

Soring is the deliberate infliction of pain on the legs and feet of a horse, in order to create severe pain and force an exaggerated, high-stepping gait.

"This decision sends a clear message to anyone who abuses a Tennessee Walking Horse that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can and will strictly enforce the Horse Protection Act," said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. "We commend the court for its decision and hope this case signals a renewed USDA resolve to protect Tennessee Walking Horses and other victims of soring."

According to court documents, Herbert Derickson presented Just American Magic for pre-show inspection at the 34th Annual National Walking Horse Trainer's Show. Two industry inspectors determined that Just American Magic was sore because he had bilateral scarring and thus did not comply with the Horse Protection Act. The horse was disqualified, and USDA initiated enforcement action.

In their appeal, the Dericksons claimed that there was insufficient evidence to show a violation of the Horse Protection Act, and that USDA lacked authority to pursue legal action once the Dericksons had been sanctioned by an industry self-regulatory organization.

The court rejected both claims, and upheld the USDA's decision in full. According to the decision, this was not Herbert Derickson's first soring offense. He had been issued an eight-month suspension and $600 fine for a bilateral soring violation involving Just American Magic the previous year.

Banned but not banished
August 31, 2008


LANCASTER — When Larry Martin needed to sell his 3-year-old Tennessee walking horse colt, he thought he'd turned to the right man to help. Gary Oliver was a local trainer with an award-winning reputation, decades in the walking horse business, and a big name in the Kentucky Walking Horse Association.

But the trip to the White Pines, Tenn., auction in February 2004 resulted in a nightmare.

Not only did Martin's horse, Daisy's Ebony Generator, not sell, but he came back lame. Within weeks, the colt was dead, put out of his misery after Martin discovered him in Oliver's barn with the horse's left front foot almost rotted off.  

Martin sued Oliver, and in June 2007, a Garrard County jury found that Oliver had failed to properly treat and care for Martin's horse. They awarded Martin $3,500 in damages, as well as trial costs.

Beyond compensating Martin for the value of the horse, Oliver's trial provides a glimpse into the world of Tennessee walking horse training. It is a world of horse owners who dedicate much time, energy and money working with a breed known for its elegant gait. Owners frequently travel to horse shows to compete for honors and prize money, and sales of promising walking horses can run to six figures.

But it also is a world struggling with soring.

Soring is the banned practice of deliberately injuring a walking horse's front feet — through either chemical or mechanical means — to get it to pick those feet up higher in an exaggerated style known as "the Big Lick."

Oliver denies soring Martin's horse.


Horse Show Postponed After Conflict

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was cut short after a few horses did not pass federal guidelines governing the treatment of horses.
      The performance was suspended after two classes of competition had been completed, the Nashville Tennesseean said Saturday.
      A report in the Walking Horse Report Online, a trade publication based in Shelbyville, said inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and trainers disagreed when several horses were denied a place in the show after inspection.
      Competition classes would go on, even officials said, and a decision would be made on when the suspended classes from Friday night will be made up.
      Tennessee Walking Horses, popular throughout the South, are known for their high-stepping gaits, but the industry has faced allegations of animal cruelty for decades.
      Some trainers try to enhance the breed's distinctive stride through a practice called "soring." It involves irritating a horse's forelegs, often with caustic chemicals, so the horse raises its front legs high to take pressure off painful areas, the Tennessean said.
      The 1970 Horse Protection Act made it illegal for people to "sore" show horses.

FOSH Analyzes Soring Violations Data

Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) has analyzed data from over 2,800 suspensions imposed by the USDA and Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) under the Horse Protection Operating Plans since 2002.  Horse Protection Act (HPA) violations that resulted in the suspensions include soring, scarring, pressure shoeing, and the use of foreign substances on horses’ legs.
Some interesting facts have been highlighted through analysis of the data:
·        The actual number of violations was 35% higher in 2005 than in the previous three years’ average. 
·        During the four year period 2002 - 2005, over 450 people were suspended for multiple violations.
·        Almost 70% of the reported violations resulted from shows held in four states. Tennessee shows had the most violations, with 39%, followed by Kentucky shows with 14%, Alabama with 9%, and North Carolina with 6%.
·        Sixteen of the directors serving terms during 2005 for the national breed registry, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA), were suspended at some point during the 2002-2005 period.  (Note:  Under 2005 TWHBEA by-laws, only USDA suspensions disqualify seated directors; HIO suspensions do not result in disqualifications)
·        Twenty-two of the 25 trainers honored as 2005 top performers at the Riders Cup competition, a combined program with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and Walking Horse Report, were suspended at some point during the 2002-2005 period. 
The violations most frequently leading to suspensions were scarring (35%) and soring, including violations involving one or both front legs (52%).
Of the Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) reporting this data, 93% of the violations were reported by two HIOs.  The National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) had 72% of the violations.  NHSC is the dominant Tennessee Walking Horse show organization, reporting just under 50% of the show entries during this period.  Although TWHBEA recently discontinued its alliance with NHSC, the breed registry is one of three industry organizations that formed and managed the NHSC from 1990 through 2005. The Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA) had 21% of the violations.
Specific data about the HPA and soring violations can be requested from the
USDA APHIS Horse Protection Coordinator,

Dr. Todd Behre,
4700 River Road,
Suite 6A02-7,
Riverdale, MD  20737,
(301) 734-5784.


TWHBEA Presents HIO Plan to WHOA
Thursday, December 01, 2005

by Christy Howard Parsons
© 2005 WHR

TWHBEA President Jerrold Pedigo and his TWHBEA committee of Larry Lowman, Jane Meredith, Charles Wharton and Craig Evans presented their plan for the new TWHBEA HIO sanctioning program to members of the WHOA Board of Directors.

       Complete with a PowerPoint presentation, the TWHBEA committee presented their goal as “A Stronger United Industry. We want to protect and grow our show industry.”



Philosophy / TWH Breed Profile / Dedication / Industry News / What is Soring? / Soring Studies /
Pressure Shoeing / Bone Fusion Schedule / USDA Violations / Sound Natural Sites / Sound Natural Stables /
 Sound Natural Trainers / Endorsements / Sore No More Forum
/ SHO Application / SHO Supporters / Shop SHO / More Information / Link to SHO / Contact SHO / Equine Events / SHO Links /


Copyright ©2009-Present
Sound Horse Organization
All Rights Reserved