The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) condemns the practice of “soring,” as legally defined in the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA), to accentuate a horse’s gait for training or show purposes.

The AAEP supports the efforts of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the application and enforcement of the HPA as outlined in the APHIS Horse Protection Operating Plan and strongly recommends imposing sufficient sanctions to prevent these practices.

As legally defined in the HPA, “soring” refers to:

  1. An irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse;
  2. Any burn, cut or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse;
  3. Any tack, nail, screw or chemical agent has been injected by a person or used by a person on any limb of a horse; or
  4. 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 a 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 a treatment was given.

For additional information on this issue, please read the AAEP’s white paper “Putting the Horse First: Veterinary Recommendations for Ending the Soring of Tennessee Walking Horses” (2008), available at here.

Revised by AAEP board of directors in 2023.

Resource Type

  • Position Statements


  • Equine Welfare
  • Foot Care

Publish Date

March 1, 2023