SNIPPETS OF HISTORY: ‘ The Horse Protection Act 1970 ‘

#AceHistory2ResearchNews – Nov.16 – The Horse Protection Act of 1970 is a United States federal law, under which the practice of soring is a crime punishable by both civil and criminal penalties.


Soring is the practice of applying irritants (including objects such as nails, example pictured) or blistering agents to the front feet or forelegs of a horse, making it pick its feet up higher in an exaggerated manner that creates the "action" desired in the show ring, giving practitioners an unfair advantage over other competitors.

The Act makes it illegal to show a horse or enter it at a horse show, to auction, sell, offer for sale, or transport a horse for any of these purposes if it has been sored. It is enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Violations are detected by observation, palpation and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify chemicals on horses’ legs.


Certain training techniques and topical anesthetics can be used to avoid detection by the first two methods. In 2013, an amendment to the Act was proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives to toughen penalties and outlaw "stacks", or layers of pads attached to the front hooves.

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