Spotting Horse Abuse and Taking Action

Horse Abuse

Horses are very large and popular animals that many people around the world have as pets. They're used throughout daily life as competition horses for sport, trail rides for vacationers, farm work, racing, etc. People don't realize how often horse abuse happens because they don't know the signs of the abuse. People notice the obvious signs of dogs or cats being neglected but you never hear about the harsh reality of the equine community.

Spotting horse abuse is a large ask for the daily person. Fellow equestrians or not every person should be able to spot the signs of abuse throughout their community. Eyes and ears should be open and people should be paying close attention to the well-being and care of horses.

As a lover of horses, it is important to spread awareness to my fellow equestrians and non-equestrians. This is where I need your help, start using the NSAR method. The NSAR method is Notice when something is wrong, Speak up to the person who owns the animal and find out information, Act on the matter and report the abuse to the correct agency(s) if needed, and Rescue this animal from the abuse it's living through.



Top Signs To Look For

Spotting the Issue

- lamesness                                                                      
- cuts on ankles                                                                
- long hooves
- filthy living conditions
- no food or water
- tasing or shocking of animal           
- physical beating of animal
- signs of soring
- gingering 

Specific Terms to Know

Lameness, Soring, and Gingering

Horses that are lame can sometimes be very difficult to notice. Most of the time the horse will be limping on a leg (usually a front) and they're head will drop when they put weight on that leg. If a horse is lame it should not be ridden or worked and needs to be checked by a vet immediately. 


Soring horses started back around 1935. The idea of soring a horse is to hurt a horses legs in such a way that it changes the gait (movement) of the horse to be more animated.   


Gingering is the practice of forcing a horse to carry it's tail higher than it's natural state. They do this by placing ginger in the anus or vulva of a horse with a goal of irritation. 

How to Help

Know Who to Contact to Save Horses

Within the state of Indiana there are specific rules and guidelines (see below) about the laws of animal cruelty. If you or someone you know sees signs of horse abuse, please report it to BOAH or another organization as stated in services.


Not only does Indiana have laws based on horse abuse, but Kentucky and Illinois does as well. We need to make sure we're doing everything we can to save our horses within the tristate.

Go Gold Girl Scouts

Reason for website

Horses are kind and gentle animals with big hearts. If you are unsure if an animal is being abused or neglected please don't hesitate to ask questions and take a stance. Reporting and even spotting signs of horse abuse can be uncomfortable and emotional, but it is so necessary for the well-being of these beautiful animals. 


I have been a member of Girl Scouts since I was in kindergarten and have been an equestrian almost my entire life. Horses are a huge part of my life and a passion of mine. I followed my passion and decided to do my Gold Award project on supporting and advocating for horses.