SPCA launches investigation after rider kicks horse

Warning: The above video may be disturbing for some viewers, we advise discretion. 

An investigation has been launched after footage of an equestrian event rider repeatedly kicking and hitting a horse in Oamaru was posted online.

The video shared on social media shows a woman beating a horse for about a minute before a North Otago A&P Show committee member intervenes. It is understood to have been filmed in Oamaru on Friday afternoon, the day before the A&P Show started.

SPCA national inspectorate manager Alan Wilson confirmed an investigation into the incident had been opened.

''SPCA was shocked by the behaviour displayed in this video and on the face of it, this may be a breach to the Animal Welfare Act,'' Mr Wilson said.

SPCA this morning said they had launched an investigation, but this afternoon said it would be led by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

"We're of course here to assist should they require it. "

North Otago A&P Show secretary Katrina Kelly said the incident happened on Friday afternoon, before the show started. The rider was allowed to participate in one event, before she was shown a yellow card and told she could not take part in the rest of the show.

"The North Otago A&P Show in no way condones the actions of this person," Mrs Kelly said.

Its committee was "disgusted" and had dealt with the incident. Mrs Kelly said it was heartbreaking the incident had occurred and a successful A&P show had been tarnished by it.

She declined to identify the rider.

The incident came only weeks after New Zealand Olympic equestrian champion Sir Mark Todd received international condemnation when a video emerged showing him striking a horse with a branch.

After that video emerged, from an eventing training session in Scotland in 2020, Sir Mark was handed an interim suspension by the British Horseracing Authority, and he apologised. Sir Mark also stepped down as a patron of the World Horse Welfare charity.

However, he escaped prosecution under Scottish animal welfare law because incidents must be referred for prosecution within six months of their occurrence.

SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe said whether someone was ''world-famous or an unknown'', there was no excuse for beating an animal.

Mr Appelbe said the actions of the rider in Oamaru were disgraceful, and called on authorities to ''immediately'' investigate the incident and take appropriate action.
"After the swift condemnation of Mark Todd’s treatment of horse recently, these horse riders should know better," he Appelbe said.

"It’s completely unacceptable to treat horses like this, and we’re seriously concerned that this behaviour could be more widespread.''


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