SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Walking Horses are known for their exaggerated gait, but some animal welfare advocates feel trainers still go too far to get that recognizable walk. That's why they're pushing Congress to outlaw equipment that enhances their gait.
The 'Prevent all Soring Tactics' Act would amend a law to make so called action devices illegal.
Dr. James Baum said, "This is a package that goes on the performance Tennessee Walking Horse, it's secured to the horse's foot with 6 nails."
Dr. Baum, a veterinarian who also shows Tennessee Walking Horses, said the animals don't feel any pain because their hooves are like our fingernails.
"This is like a high powered jogging shoe," Baum said.
Animal welfare advocates like Clant Seay believe the equipment is inhumane.
"Those pads and chains have got to come off these horses! It's akin to rooster fighting and dog fighting! It has no place in 2019," Seay said, "They take baby horses show them at 24 months of age, they start them at 17 to 18 months, that is horrific."
Mike Inman, the CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, said they go through rigorous inspections. He feels a few bad people have given the entire industry a bad name. If the act becomes a law, it would hurt agribusiness.
"What the PAST act would do is it eliminates the equipment that we use for our show horse and over 80% of the classes. If in any business you eliminate 80% of your business, well your business wont survive," Inman said.
For perspective, the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration brings in roughly $14-million to the City of Shelbyville according to Inman.
While some people hope the United States House of Representatives won't approve the act on Wednesday, animal advocates are expecting a victory.
"They're going to remove the pads and chains it's going to be over," Seay said.
UPDATE: The 'Prevent All Soring Tacts' act has passed the House of Representatives and it will move on to the senate.