Soring has long been a controversial topic in the Tennessee Walking horse world. For years, animal rights activists have been working hard to abolish soring once and for all in this beautiful and unique horse breed.
One owner, Cameron Ring, has been working to raise awareness and put an end to soring. After rescuing his Tennessee Walker, Awesome Gal, Ring was inspired to make a difference to stop soring. Since then, he has given a voice to these innocent horses
What is Soring in Horses?
Soring is a cruel practice of applying chemicals or extreme mechanical devices to a horse’s forelegs or hooves to cause pain when a horse steps on the ground. This in turn forces them to move their legs faster and higher as to avoid touching the ground.
Soring is mostly focused on the Tennessee Walking horse breed to create exaggerated leg motion and make them look more “attractive” in the show ring.
Though soring was made illegal by Congress in the 1970s through the Horse Protection Act, several Tennesse Walking Horse trainers still use soring techniques.
Lack of funding from the USDA prevents officials to be able to attend every Tennessee Walking Horse show.
Though all horses at shows are supposed to undergo examination by show officials, some trainers have found ways to avoid detection. In addition, judges continue to award the “Big Lick” gait which is the result of soring.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act hopes to finally put an end to the unethical practice of soring. The act hopes to end the practice of soring and strengthen the penalty for those who still use this training technique.
Though the act has been passed by Congress, it still needs to receive a passing vote in the Senate in order to make it to the President’s desk.
Here is a video below of a convicted trainer explaining how common soring is:
Cameron Ring’s Journey To Make a Difference in the Tennessee Walking Horse Breed
After learning of the terrible hardships Awesome Gal, affectionately known as Awesome, faced because of soring, Ring knew he had to make a difference. Though he couldn’t change Awesome’s past, Ring knew he could make a difference for other horses’ futures.
To tell her story, Ring helped produce a short film called Awesome Gal that portrays the abuse his beautiful horse Awesome was a victim of.
However, for Ring it is more than just a movie, it’s a movement to put an end to the abuse that so many horses within the breed face.
See Cameron’s Awesome Gal movie trailer below:
Ring’s mission is to end the harmful practice of soring, as his goal is to get the PAST act passed. His journey to put a stop to storing began when he found Awesome at a rescue barn called Canterbury Farms. While volunteering, Ring met Awesome and quickly fell in love with her.
Awesome Gal’s Sad Back Story
Awesome was 12 years old when Ring first saw her. She never showed at the coveted Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, as she was said to be “unmanageable” as soring didn’t break her like it does most other horses.
Awesome was sent off to a slaughter, where Canterbury intervened at an auction by saving her from a terrible fate.
When they first met, Awesome was shy and would cower in her stall, with the exception of one volunteer. Over time, Awesome slowly gained the trust of Ring and his mom, Debby. Ring was set on taking Awesome home, as he couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her.
How Is Awesome Gal Living Today?
Though she is much better now, it is clear that Awesome still struggles with the abuse she dealt with in her past. She once would cower when people passed her stall, but now she is more open and friendly.
However, she still takes a while to warm up to people. Some small things still trigger her, such as sunglasses, tripods, and even once a ukulele.
Part of Awesome’s past has led her to be extremely protective of new horses that come to pasture. She has a strong motherly instinct, where she will protect, comfort and provide companionship to any horse that gets picked on.
Sadly, Ring believes Awesome’s motherly instinct goes back to when she lost her first baby at the soring barn.
She refused to go into the barn where she had been a victim of abuse to have her baby. Unable to catch her, she stayed as far away as she could from the barn.
Awesome ended up giving birth in a rainstorm and sadly her newborn foal drowned. She stood over the body for four days before they were able to get her back into the barn. Ring believes this is why she is so caring towards all the new horses now.
Awesome is fortunate to now have a home where her owner loves and cares for her. Though she still struggles with some things, she has come a fair way from her abusive past. The stunning blue-eyed pinto is definitely in a much better place than where she once was.
Making a Difference to End Horse Soring
Though many Tennessee Walking horse owners treat their horses with kindness and respect, soring still happens within the breed.
Ring is among one of the many advocates for the breed who is against this unethical practice. He uses Awesome’s backstory as a way to raise awareness and advocate for a change that will bring the end of soring.
Ring is thankful for FMC Productions, for helping him to bring light on the issue of soring through his short film. Along with Andromeda Pictures, who Ring is the co-president of, Awesome’s story has been brought to the spotlight.
If you are wanting to make a difference to put an end to soring, you can reach out to your local legislators to push for the PAST act to be passed.
Along with Ring, you can help make a difference for these beautiful horses who deserve to be treated with respect and kindness by sharing this article and increasing the awareness of this barbaric act.