Should Horse Competitions Be Banned After One Horse Was Euthanized & Another Punched During The 2020 Olympic Games?

Photo credit: PA

Sadly, the blatant abuse of one horse and euthanasia of another who was severely injured while competing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo was not enough to stop the equestrian events from continuing. The tragic incidents did lend credence that animals should not be exploited for so-called “entertainment” or “sport.”

This was perhaps most evident on Friday, August 6th, as the anguish of two of the games’ final competitors were displayed in front of a worldwide audience. One was human, the other a horse. One had a choice, the other did not.

The senseless animal cruelty occurred when Annika Schleu of Germany struggled with Saint Boy, the horse that she was assigned to ride during the Women’s Modern Pentathlon competition. While digging her spurs into Saint Boy’s side and hitting him with her whip, Germany team coach, Kim Raisner, was heard yelling at Schleu to try harder. Raisner, who punched Saint Boy with her fist, was subsequently suspended from the remainder of the Olympics.

The travesty followed the heartbreaking news earlier in the Olympics that another horse, a 14-year-old gelding, named Jet Set, was euthanized after suffering a leg injury while being ridden by Robin Godel of Sweden.

“Due to the severity of the injury and the associated pain, the horse had to be euthanized,” noted a statement from the Equestrian Sport delegation, which purported that Jet Set’s injury was not to be attributed to either the rider or the terrain of the Seafores Cross Country Course.

Perhaps both appalling instances should be attributed to the fact that Jet Set, Saint Boy, and other “sport” horses, should never be callously used as unnatural and inhumane vehicles for human “entertainment.”

“Horses are trusted companions who, of course, do not choose to compete, so we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that their safety and well-being come first,” Dr. Joanna Grossman, equine program manager and senior advisor at the Animal Welfare Institute told WAN. “Often in competition and sport, the health, and even the humane treatment of these majestic animals is utterly disregarded for the sake of winning a prize. When a coach hits a horse with her fist for refusing to jump, and another horse is euthanized after suffering from a crippling injury in the middle of a cross-country course, we must reevaluate whether these sports should be celebrated at the Olympics.”

Many animals have gained the increased protection from being exploited in zoos, theme parks, and circuses. Why should it be different for these horses or other animals who are forced to compete for “entertainment” and “sport?”

Please consider signing this Care 2 petition aimed at banning all horse competitions from the Olympics. HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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