Local woman pressures lawmakers for stricter horse soring laws

NOBLE CO., Ind. (WANE) – Many horses across the country are abused by a process called soring. That’s when an owner intentionally inflicts pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an exaggerated gait. This is mainly for horse shows.

A horse owner uses chemicals on the bottom of the horse’s foot, causing burning and irritation. Trainers then wrapped that irritated foot for 24 to 48 hours. After that, owners can put on chains and other devices around the affected area. That will result in the horse snatching its legs higher than normal.

“Historically, it’s been prized in the big lick arena as being more showy and more fancy,” said Mindy Lightner, president of World Walking Horse Association.

Lightner trekked all the way to Washington on horseback to bring awareness to the practice of soring. She’s also talking with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to bring stricter laws to the Horse Protection Act of 1970. Lightner wants to add an amendment called the PAST Act.

“That means Prevent All Soring Tactics,” Lightner said. “Unfortunately, after 40 plus years the Horse Protection Act has not been stringent enough.”

Lightner said another issue for Indiana is that abused horses are sold here. She said the states of Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky are where the horses come from. Since they come from abused backgrounds, she said these horses could suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“They ended up getting hurt by these horses because the horse panic at odd moments and react and lash out thinking it was about to be hurt,” Lightner said.

Senator Joe Donnelly’s spokesperson released this comment this afternoon: “Senator Donnelly is troubled by the practice of soring, and is a cosponsor of the bipartisan PAST Act introduced in the Senate. This legislation would help protect horses from the inhumane practice of soring.”

Senator Dan Coat’s office reached out to NewsChannel 15 about the bill: “As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Coats supported the bill when the Commerce Committee approved it unanimously in April. It has yet to be voted on in the full Senate.”

NewsChannel 15 reached out to Congressman Marlin Stutzman about their stance on the issue. Our request for a comment was not returned.

There are currently 57 co-sponsors, including Donnelly, on the PAST Act amendment. Lightner said there needs to be a total of 60 co-sponsors to get it voted out of committee.

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