Horse trainer supports use of pads for horses' feet

Horse trainer supports use of pads for horses' feet

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Pads like the one on this horse's front right hoof do not sore the animals, said horse trainer Winky Groover. Pads like the one on this horse's front right hoof do not sore the animals, said horse trainer Winky Groover.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The blocks that were believed to have been placed on 19 horses' feet by a Maryville trainer charged with animal cruelty are legal, but the chemicals that he allegedly used are not, according to the Blount County SPCA.

Authorities believe walking horse trainer Larry Wheelon used the blocks, known as packages, and chemicals on the horses' feet in what's called a soring process.

The purpose of soring is to create artificial high stepping for the horses in walking competitions.

Professional horse trainer and member of the Walking Horses Trainers Association Winky Groover said the use of packages is monitored within the industry.

"The pads don't sore horses," Groover said. "It's unscrupulous people that sore horses, not the pads and action devices."

Groover said the amount of pads is limited.

"There is a limit on the amount of pads that you can put on a horse," Groover said. "You can have half as much pads as you have hoof growth, up to a limit of two inches."

Groover also said the horses are eased into using the packages.

"We don't just take a horse and go from nothing and nail those pads that you saw yesterday on them. There is a gradual buildup."

Federal lawmakers, meanwhile, are looking to crack down on the use of the packages in a proposed bill amending the Horse Protection Act which would restrict the use of devices on the horses' feet.

The bill is currently being considered by the Energy Commerce Committee.  

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