HOW THE NEW FEDERAL REGULATION AFFECTS BREEDS OTHER THAN THE TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE AND RACKING HORSE
The HPA applies to ALL BREEDS. The HPA covers all horses shown, exhibited, sold, or auctioned at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.
Under the HPA, the management of any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction is responsible for disqualifying and prohibiting sore horses from being shown, exhibited, sold, or auctioned, no matter the breed of horse.
USEF events are not excluded from compliance with the HPA although USEF did request to be excluded.
When speaking of breeds other than the TWH or RH, the USDA noted that the use of weighted leathers and rubber exercise bands, although used by owners of trotting horses to strengthen and condition their horses, are prohibited on the limbs of any horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction. The USDA stated that their experience shows that weighted leathers and other devices have been used in ways that can cause soring in horses.
APHIS further noted that they are aware of substantive reports and instances of soring at events involving breeds of horses other than Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses and are aware of concerns and incidents of show jumpers bearing signs of abuse on their legs.
Now that you know the HPA applies to ALL breeds and that USEF sanctioned events are not excluded the following is some of the prohibitions that apply to ALL breeds at ALL horse shows, ALL horse sales, and ALL horse exhibitions. (Prohibitions pertaining to the TWH and RH will be discussed later).
Essentially, any device, method, practice, or substance used with respect to any horse at any horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction if such use causes or can reasonably be expected to cause such horse to be sore is prohibited.
“Sore” continues to be defined as: Any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse; Any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used on any limb of a horse, or; Any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given.
Single or double rocker-bars on the bottom surface of horseshoes which extend more than 1.5 inches back from the point of the toe, or any device which would cause, or could reasonably be expected to cause, an unsteadiness of stance in the horse with resulting muscle and tendon strain due to the horse’s weight and balance being focused upon a small fulcrum point, are prohibited.
Paring out of the frog in a manner that will cause such horse to suffer, or can reasonably be expected to cause such horse to suffer pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving is prohibited.
Bruising of the hoof or any other method of pressuring shoeing is also prohibited.
Pads or other devices on horses up to 2 years old that elevate or change the angle of such horses’ hooves in excess of 1 inch at the heel are prohibited.
Any weight on horses up to 2 years old, except a keg or similar conventional horseshoe, and any horseshoe on horses up to 2 years old that weighs more than 16 ounces is prohibited.
Artificial extension of the toe length, whether accomplished with pads, acrylics or any other material or combinations thereof, that exceeds 50 percent of the natural hoof length, as measured from the coronet band, at the center of the front pastern along the front of the hoof wall, to the distal portion of the hoof wall at the tip of the toe is prohibited. The artificial extension shall be measured from the distal portion of the hoof wall at the tip of the toe at a 90 degree angle to the proximal (foot/hoof) surface of the shoe.
Toe length that does not exceed the height of the heel by 1 inch or more is prohibited. The length of the toe shall be measured from the coronet band, at the center of the front pastern along the front of the hoof wall to the ground. The heel shall be measured from the coronet band, at the most lateral portion of the rear pastern, at a 90 degree angle to the ground, not including normal caulks at the rear of a horseshoe that do not exceed 3⁄4 inch in length. That portion of caulk at the rear of a horseshoe in excess of 3⁄4 of an inch shall be added to the height of the heel in determining the heel/toe ratio.
Pads that are not made of leather, plastic, or a similar pliant material remain prohibited.
Any object or material inserted between the pad and the hoof other than acceptable hoof packing, which includes pine tar, oakum, live rubber, sponge rubber, silicone, commercial hoof packing or other substances used to maintain adequate frog pressure or sole consistency is prohibited.
Acrylic and other hardening substances are prohibited as hoof packing.
Metal hoof bands, such as used to anchor or strengthen pads and shoes, placed less than 1⁄2 inch below the coronet band are prohibited.
Any action device or any other device that strikes the coronet band of the foot of a horse except for soft rubber or soft leather bell boots that are used as protective devices is prohibited. Action devices cannot exceed 6 ounces. Weighted leathers and rubber exercise bands are prohibited. Please refer to 9 CFR Part 11 for more specific restrictions.
Lead or other weights attached to the outside of the hoof wall, the outside surface of the horseshoe, or any portion of the pad except the bottom surface within the horseshoe is prohibited. Pads may not be hollowed out for the purpose of inserting or affixing weights, and weights may not extend below the bearing surface of the shoe. Hollow shoes or artificial extensions filled with mercury or similar substances are prohibited.
This list of prohibited acts under the Horse Protection Act and federal regulations is not intended to be a complete list. You are encouraged to read 9 CFR Part 11 for a better understanding of additional regulations such as the Scar Rule.
Show management may elect not to hire HPIs for a show and bear liability for any instances of allowing a sore horse to participate in an HPA-covered event (all horse shows, all horse sales and horse exhibitions other than timed events) or other noncompliance with the Act and its regulations occurring at that horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction. Consistent with the HPA, this final rule provides that management not using an inspector from the list of APHIS-trained and licensed inspectors will be held liable for the participation of any sore horse in an HPA-covered event.
Show management must ensure (verify) that all horses entered in the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction be properly identified by one of the following methods: A description sufficient to identify the individual equine, as determined by APHIS, to include name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification when present (e.g., brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, or an equine passport issued by a State government) If any such horses belong to a registry, the registry number and registry records have to be provided to an authorized HPI and/or APHIS representative upon request.
APHIS noted that they are continuing to consider what, if any, additional restrictions are necessary for horses other than Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses.
Many various breed associations made official comments during the comment phase of this rulemaking, along with individuals owing breeds other than Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses. Claiming ignorance or exemption from the Horse Protection Act is no longer an option in light of the participation by other breeds and the specific statements made by the USDA relating to all breeds.