After ABC aired the controversial footage, Pepsi pulled its sponsorship from the event entirely and stricter penalties were put in place to prevent further abuse of these horses. The method referred to as ‘soring’ causes these horses to step higher due to stifling pain, resulting in a more ‘fancy’ high-stepping gait. It it important to note, however, that not all Tennessee Walking Horses are trained with this method. Thus far four Tennessee Walking Horse handlers have pleaded guilty to horse abuse, and it is expected that this number may steadily rise.
In the quiet town of Dixon, Illinois, long-time comptroller Rita Crundwell is alleged to have embezzled over $30 million to fund a private horse farm, a lavish motor home, and expensive jewelry. The horse farm in question, Meri-J Farm is well-known for its high-quality quarter horses that were predominantly local champions in the western riding scene. Crundwell was well-known for her elite horses, most recently praised for her mare ‘Pizzazzy Lady’, who won the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.