published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Walking Horse Celebration opens under scrutiny

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — The annual Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville is seeing the most intense horse inspections in its 74-year history.

The Tennessean reports that on Wednesday, the opening day of the Celebration, trainers took their horses through a chemical swabbing station designed to detect soring. That’s the illegal practice of causing injuries to a horse’s legs or hooves to exaggerate the high-stepping gait that wins prizes.

If a trainer is found to have chemically sored a horse, he or she will be stripped of ribbons and prize money and immediately suspended.

The Celebration comes as independent inspectors clash with the U.S. Agriculture Department over new inspection rules. Those rules were prompted by a graphic undercover video released in May showing horses being beaten and sored with chemicals.

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