Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dustin Osborne

Committee Members

Bradley Edwards, Jennifer Pealer, Chris Rush


The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Although a limited amount of research has focused on the practice, this is the first known study to utilize a criminological lens to better understand the perceptions and motivations of its use. The study relies upon data collected from Tennessee Walking Horse trainers, event attendees, and Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs), which are analyzed via a mixed-methods approach. Agnew’s (1998) theory on the causes of animal abuse serves as the theoretical framework for this analysis. Results provide a moderate amount of support for the theory’s extension to the problem. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed, as is a framework by which future researchers can continue to advance knowledge regarding soring in the industry.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.