Banning chains and padded shoes

I see that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and AAEP, two leading Veterinary associations, have issued statements today calling for the banning of action devices in the show ring of TWH shows and have also called for banning of the “performance Packages” which are the stacks of pads, band and shoes which are found on “Big Lick” TWHs.  The statements note that USEF already bans action devices at shows (TWHBEA is not governed by USEF), but they maintain that the chains encourage the “soring” and the pads are used to conceal bolts and other means of causing pain to the hoof and encouraging the lift of the foot.   Go to to see the statements in full.  

 So why should we care?  This is clearly aimed at Big Lick TWHs.   I think we should be aware that banning pads and bands in one breed, however outrageous the abuse, can lead eventually to banning pads in other show breeds.    I personally think the Morgan Show horse has reached a pretty reasonable compromise on shoe length, pads and shoe weight where the action is enhanced without the grotesque “stacks” that TWHs have.    That does not mean other outside observers will agree.  I am sure that after 40 years of basically ignoring the rules, the “Big Lick”TWH people had no idea of the outrage that the internet can now bring to bear.   Any proposal within our breed to increase shoe weights or toe lengths may well draw some very negative attention.   The shoe bands (which I personally can support) have been controversy enough for us.  If shoe bands were currently being proposed, I think there would be a good deal more of negative commentary .     


7 Responses to Banning chains and padded shoes

  1. Jennifer says:

    I am not a fan of the bands in the Morgans. I do realize that they are necessary for the length of foot now allowed. But if the horse can’t keep the shoe/foot on at that length than shoeing should be adjusted for that length. If the shoeing is adjusted we might get more even distribution in the divisions. JMHO.

  2. RaeOfLight says:

    I’m with Jennifer. It’s funny Chris. I read your opinions on gingering and I try really hard to see things from your perspective. And while I certainly don’t want horses to be injured for the sake of appearance, I’ve just never seen a horse that looked to be truly in agony from ginger (maybe I just don’t get out enough). So, I don’t feel as strongly about it as you do. And sometimes I feel bad about that, like it makes me insensitive. But, I’m not a fan of the bands. So, I guess it’s just that we all have different things that irk us.

  3. sportymorgan says:

    If one looks back to the old show photos one sees very few long toes/bands etc. In fact a lot of Morgans, even park horses, were shown barefoot! I think that says something about the direction of the breed. Shoeing “packages” are expensive, you can’t turn out a horse in a “package” really, and require enough expertise that I would think you really have to have your horse under a trainer’s supervision. And from there you get lower show entries because the “barrier to entry” is much higher than it used to be. Our shows would be more welcoming if there was a place for the flat-shod or barefoot horse.

  4. Vintage_Rider says:

    There used to be some sort of class for bare foot park years ago, can’t recall what it was called.

  5. Vintage_Rider says:

    I also have to say the AVMA and AAEP are probably reacting to the well publicized video of a famous TWH (funny, not sure I ever heard the name)caught showing their indeed vicious and merciless treatment to get “the look”. They almost had to. IMO, Shame on them for taking so long.

  6. colwilrin says:

    Vintage Rider – I recall a class called “natural park.” That may be what you recall.

    Today that class is classic, or hunt, and sometimes western depending on who is on their back.

  7. Vintage_Rider says:

    Colwilrin, you crack me up…. that could also describe many of the western pleasure classes I’ve seen (and by the way, I could be any of those too with my current mount) LOL

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