Trainer, stable hands plead guilty to horse soring - WKRN News 2

Trainer, stable hands plead guilty to horse soring

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -

Three men charged with violating the Horse Protection Act for soring, the illegal practice that forces Tennessee Walking Horses to exaggerate their trademark strut, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chattanooga.

Jackie McConnell, 60, John Mays, 50, and Joseph R. Abernathy, 30, were arrested earlier this year.

McConnell and his wife own and operate Whitter Stables in Collierville where he trains and boards Tennessee Walking Horses for shows.

Mays and Abernathy were employees of Whitter Stables as assistants, grooms and farriers.

Video recently obtained by ABC News shows McConnell and his stable hands beating and torturing the horses to distract the animals from the pain of soring on their feet in the process known as stewarding.

When the horse reacts to pain, the animal is beaten.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 10.

McConnell faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Mays and Abernathy both face up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Charges are still pending against a fourth individual charged in the case.

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