There are now bills in both the U.S. House and Senate to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to eliminate soring. On July 31, just before breaking for the August recess, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the "Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013." The bill is intended to strengthen the HPA, which was enacted in 1970 to prohibit the showing, exhibiting, transporting, or sale at auction of a horse that has been sored.

The Senate bill is the same as the legislation already introduced in the House, which now has 137 cosponsors.

The USDA enforces the HPA and deems soring to involve the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, or wedges to cause pain in a horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition. According to the USDA, soring has been primarily used with Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses, and continues despite the existence of a federal ban for over forty years.

The bill focuses on those breeds by amending the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an action device, or a weighted shoe, pad, hoof band or other device if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic. These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds and would not prohibit the use of therapeutic pads, bell boots, or quarter boots that are used as protective devices.

“The horse show industry has been living with the HPA for over 40 years,” said Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council (AHC), whi