In an effort to stop soring - the brutal practice of injuring horses' feet to make their walk more "attractive" - North Carolina has ended a 30-year-old state fair show that features Tennessee walking horses performing their token exaggerated gait.
The breed's already distinct walk is often amplified into a "big lick" gait for performance competitions, usually by adding heavy platforms to the horse's front shoes.
However, activists argue that such competitions encourage the illegal but all-too-common practice of soring, an inhumane process where horse's feet are cruelly injured. The pain causes them to lift their feet up quickly and emphatically, creating a more dramatic walk.
One common method of soring involves burning horses' feet with toxic chemicals such as diesel, kerosene and mustard oil, then wrapping their legs in plastic wrap and leaving the chemicals to blister the skin.