FOSH is the only international organization dedicated to the promotion of the sound-gaited horse emotionally, mentally, and physically.

We educate our members on how to treat, care for, and train gaited horses across the U.S. and Canada.
Friends of Sound Horses

Got Gait – Go FOSH

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Reasons Why You Should Join FOSH

FOSH is an organization that is incorporated as a public benefit humane and education organization. Our mission is to inform the public how to humanely care, treat, and train gaited horses, especially Tennessee Walking Horse, and promote the flat-shod and barefoot walking horse exhibition at competitions designed to showcase naturally gaited pleasure walking horses. Here are the reasons why you should join FOSH:

The Horse

We prioritize horses — not the show rings and exhibitors and the show ring. Since our philosophy is about putting the horse first, we no longer allow two-year-olds under saddle, manhole cover shoes and hooves that are longer than 4.5 inches.
Our philosophy differs from most other equine showing and inspection organizations, and we take risks with these rules. We believe that sometimes, it’s about doing the right thing and not what’s popular. FOSH sets the gold standard for the treatment of gaited horses.


FOSH leads in the battle to end soring of gaited horses. No other gaited horse showing organization fights soring as much as we do. We have spent thousands of dollars researching about soring/pain/pressure technology, attending Horse Protection Act meetings, and fighting the evildoers’ tooth and nail on ideas they try to slide through the USDA.
We post the HPA suspensions and Horse Industry Organization (HIO) meeting minutes on our website. We also organize the Sound Horse Conference and track and quantify thousands of HPA violations (this is a tremendous use of time and our dollars) to issue press releases and keep the public informed.
Other groups offer a sound show ring; however, the law requires offering a sound show ring. If you want a sound venue to show, there are several organizations to exhibit. If you desire to support an organization that actively works to stop soring, puts the natural, prioritizes gaited horses, and creates the Sound Horse Conference, then we firmly believe you should rejoin and support FOSH.


Because we believe that the horse comes first, FOSH does not allow trainers on its Board. We realize there are sound, excellent trainers who are FOSH members; however, we have also noticed that some organizations suffer turmoil through trainer battles. There are also perceptions that trainer directors have show ring benefits over others or push for rule changes that give them and their clients advantages at the expense of the horse.
We think that these concerns could cause the FOSH “horse first” mission to become watered down, so we avoid this conflict by disallowing trainers.


FOSH believes recognizing the HPA is important to the perception of whether an organization is sound — and FOSH will not issue judge licenses to anyone with past HPA suspensions.

Independent Judges Association (IJA) Exhibition Rules

FOSH designed the IJA rules to showcase a more natural horse because the naturally moving horse will be more marketable and less likely to end up with an unhappy owner and home or at auctions. Newcomers to gaited horses must not use special shoes or gimmicks for their horses to gait; however, they should not be a complete newbie to horses either.
We believe that the organizations that sponsor exhibitions of horses trained with gimmicks are not actively promoting the natural horse, even if it is a sound show ring. Let’s face it; enough gaited horses have already been discarded through the years because they have not properly gaited.
So, we favor naturally moving horses that judges recognize and owners and novices can easily ride without specialized bits and shoeing. FOSH promotes barefoot horses in the show ring, unlike many other HIOs.


We strive for transparency in our member communications and operations. We encourage you to communicate with us for any questions or concerns. Due to our limited budget, we can’t have paid employees to reply to you. Our staff is all volunteers, and many of us have full-time positions.


We publish our Sound Advocate magazine every two months to share the news with our members about themselves and provide information on equine training, welfare, exhibiting, gait biomechanics, and hoof care. We also tackle sportsmanship in the ring, shoes, dressage for gaited horses, gaited breeds, the USDA, the HPA, happenings in HIO, and many other topics.
The Sound Advocate is the only magazine about gaited horses that is not breed-specific but covers all breeds.


FOSH inspections are the industry’s gold standard, and our Licensed Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) want to make sure that sore horses are not seen in show rings. We also focus on the HPA regulations and use our experience to negotiate the Operating Plan with other HIOs and the USDA.

Promotion and Marketing

Being aligned with FOSH provides a marketing advantage to breeders, trainers, and their clients. This is because we are nationally known and highly respected for the strides we’ve taken in promoting sound horses and in the battle against the torture and cruelty of soring.
The rules we’ve set may not be favorable for the desires of trainers, exhibitors, breeders, and clients, but we believe that the rules can be justified when people realize that if humans do not address horse welfare, no one will. Our beliefs are also another marketing tool because individuals, breeders, and trainers promote and sell their breeding philosophy with their training methods and horses.
Our organization also encourages clinics for sound-gaited horses with a FOSH approved clinician. We also support clubs promoting FOSH and sound, gaited horses at equine expos.

Other Benefits of Joining FOSH

  • Free Video Evaluation of Your Horse’s Gaits
  • Financial Incentives for FOSH Sanctioned and Affiliated Shows
  • Tax-Deductible Membership  
  • Subscription to Electronic Quarterly Gaited Horse Magazine, the Sound Advocate

FOSH needs your help to be the voice for the horse and end the soring cruelty so many gaited horses must endure every day— all for a blue ribbon! Please continue browsing through our website and visit Sound Horse Conference and Stop Soring websites for more information. You can also become a member of our organization by filling out our Membership Application form.