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 thehorse.com 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 .