Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Walking-horse interests get a spot among the exhibits at the 2010 World Equestrian Games

Despite controversy surrounding practices of the Tennessee walking horse industry, industry leaders have talked their way into the Alltech 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park with promises of better behavior.

Breeders of Tennessee walkers have faced criticism over the practice of "soring" in which a horse's front legs are intentionally injured to exaggerate the gait in competitions. As The Rural Blog has reported in the past, the American Association of Equine Practitioners has called this practice "one of the most significant welfare issues affecting any equine breed or discipline."

The World Equestrian Games Foundation told Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader that the inclusion of the breed in exhibits (not competition) will help improve industry practices. "There can't be one unsound horse here because this is going to have the whole world looking at them," said John Long, WEG Foundation chairman and CEO of the U.S. Equestrian Federation. "This is an opportunity to change the image if they get this right, and I think they will. This is what might be the beginning of the solution to the places they need to go." (Read more)

To read other Rural Blog posts on Tennessee walkers click here and here.

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