An annual Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) sale slated to take place this month at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington, Ky., is drawing fire from some equine welfare activists who claim the event could include the sale of horses trained to wear padded shoes intended to produce an exaggerated gait.

Padded shoes are devices composed of stacked, weighted pads attached to a horse’s front feet, often used in conjunction with chains around the horse’s front fetlocks to achieve an exaggerated gait. The use of pads is not forbidden under the Horse Protection Act (HPA) which forbids soring, the deliberate injury to a horse’s feet and legs in order to achieve an exaggerated gait. Some equine welfare advocates believe use of such devices leads to the practice of soring.

The Kentucky After Christmas Sale has been taking place at the Tattersall Sales Company facility at The Red Mile harness racing track in Lexington for more than 20 years, according to Jerrold Pedigo, president of Kentucky After Christmas Sale, Inc. That sale venue was demolished in 2012. The 2013 Kentucky After Christmas Sale is slated to take place Jan. 25-26 at the KHP. Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson said that the choice of the Horse Park as the sale venue has drawn comments from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and from equine welfare advocates alike.

"We’ve been getting all kinds of feedback ranging from those who say there is a ‘witch hunt’ on this breed to those who say ‘padded horses must be sored no matter what the inspectors say’ and everything in between," Nicholson said. "What I can say is that this