The Horse Protection Act is administered by APHIS. A 1976 amendment to the Act led to the establishment of the Designated Qualified Person (DQP) program. A DQP must be an individual who meets APHIS' regulatory requirements and is licensed by a Horse Industry Organization (HIO) certified by the Department.
APHIS works with certified HIOs and licensed DQPs to help ensure the effective identification of sored horses, that proper penalties are imposed, and that the goal of eliminating the practice of soring is achieved. APHIS officials also monitor as many unaffiliated horse shows (i.e., horse shows that do not hire licensed DQPs) as time and resources allow.
APHIS monitors HIO compliance by reviewing show management, HIO, and DQP reports that are filed with the agency, and by conducting audits of records maintained by the certified DQP programs. APHIS Veterinary Medical Officers (VMO) also attend selected shows and sales to evaluate HIOs' inspection procedures and the performance of individual DQPs.
VMOs may utilize additional diagnostic technology during their examinations to obtain objective and scientific data to help identify sore horses. Additional information about these technologies is located below.