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Horse Protection Act

The Horse Protection Act is a Federal law that prohibits horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. The Horse Protection Act also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse and ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows. Our ultimate goal is to end this inhumane practice completely.

Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals such as mustard oil or the use of mechanical devices.

Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait , but in order to be successful in competition their natural gait is often exaggerated. The exaggerated gait can be achieved with proper training and considerable time however, some horse exhibitors, owners, and trainers have chosen to use improper and inhumane training methods to shorten the time it would take to produce a higher gait without abusive practices.

Horse Protection Act Contact Information

If you have any questions about the USDA Horse Protection Program, please contact:

USDA-APHIS-Animal Care
4700 River Road, Suite 6D03
Riverdale, MD 20737

Additional Information