Irish horse trainer banned for viral photo sitting on dead horse as ‘most appalling’

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The Irish trainer Gordon Elliott was banned for 12 months, six of them suspended on Friday after someone posted a photograph of him smiling while sitting on a dead horse.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) stated the photography published on social media last weekend showed “the most appalling bad taste on the part of Mr. Elliott.”

“…It demonstrates a complete absence of respect for the horse at a time when he still remains in his charge…  commenting on Elliott’s action as “jovial demeanour and gesticulations…”

The ban will begin on March 9; Elliott accepted the punishment stating:

“I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this. With my position in the sport I have great privileges and great responsibility. I did not live up to that responsibility. I am paying a very heavy price for my error but I have no complaints. It breaks my heart to see the hurt I have caused to my colleagues, family friends and supporters.

I will never again disrespect a horse living or dead and I will not tolerate it it in others.”

The photo had been taken in 2019, where the horse named Morgan had died from a heart attack after a training session. The Regulatory Board noted, however the incident was not one of animal cruelty or neglectful horse care. Elliott’s horses are known to be well cared for.

Elliott did offer an explanation and said he had been waiting for the dead horse to be removed and it had been a very sad time for him. While standing over the horse, his phone rang and not thinking he sat down to talk. At the same time one of his staff had been calling to him, and the gesture in the photo was Elliott telling the team member to wait until he was finished with his call.

 

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