A group of Oregon equestrians are concerned that a letter from a Congressman might erroneously link the illegal practice of soring to dressage.

Since 2013 the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act has been proposed to strengthen the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA), which forbids soring (the deliberate injury to a horses’ feet and legs to achieve an exaggerated, high-stepping gait, often in gaited horses). Those attempts have all died before receiving an up or down vote from Congress. In July 2015, Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) reintroduced the PAST Act into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan legislation would, among other things, raise penalties for HPA violators, ban the use of action devices and prohibit trainers from using performance packages on gaited horses.

On April 26, Oregon Representative Greg Walden sent an email to his constituents announcing his support for anti-soring legislation that his statement referred to as the “Prevent All Soring Techniques Act.”

“To ‘sore’ a horse means to use blistering agents, burns, lacerations, sharp objects, or other substances and devices on a horse’s limb to make it painful for the horse to step down,” the statement read. “This pain results in forcing the horse to change its natural gait and step higher than it otherwise would. Although this process is well known within the competitive dressage community, most Americans may not be aware of it.”

“This is a cruel way to treat an animal,” his statement continued. &ldquo