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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Activist filming horse being euthanized at OBS claims assault, robbery by staff

An animal rights activist who was filming a horse being euthanized after it crashed on the track during an Ocala Breeders’ Sale under tack show claims he was assaulted by an official and robbed of some of his equipment while trying to document the incident.

On Wednesday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a statement alleging that one of their investigators had been “assaulted” while filming the incident at OBS, which is located at 1701 SW 60th Avenue in Ocala.

“One man grabbed him repeatedly and forcibly wrenched off his backpack, which they refused to return, and tried to prevent him from leaving. He has filed a complaint with the police for assault, battery, theft, and unlawful detainment,” reads a statement from PETA.

On Wednesday, PETA posted video of the incident. The video includes footage shot by investigator, as well as video from the OBS live stream of the event, which has since been removed from the OBS YouTube channel.

In the video, “Frosten” can be seen racing along the track for a short distance before attempting to jump over the inside track barrier.

The horse can be seen jumping the barrier.
“Frosten” can be seen jumping the barrier. (Photo: OBS)

The horse is then seen colliding at high speed with the barrier, causing the jockey to be thrown from the horse’s back.

"Saintly Sister" crashes into fence while racing an under tack workout at OBS.
“Frosten” crashes into fence while racing an under tack workout at OBS. (Photo: OBS)

The video shows both the horse and jockey laying motionless for several seconds before it cutting to the PETA investigator’s camera angle.

"Saintly Sister" and the jockey can be seen laying motionless on the track after the crash. (Photo: PETA)
“Frosten” and the jockey can be seen laying motionless on the track after the crash. (Photo: PETA)

In that camera angle, staff at the track can be seen injecting a shot with a pink fluid into the horse.

An OBS official can be seen injecting a pink fluid into the horse. (Photo: OBS)
An OBS official can be seen injecting a pink fluid into the horse. (Photo: OBS)

Shortly after the fluid is administered, the horse writhes, hits his head on the barrier, falls to the ground, and goes stiff.

Video shows "Saintly Sister" writhing and hitting its head on the barrier before going motionless. (Photo: PETA)
Video shows “Frosten” writhing and hitting its head on the barrier before going motionless. (Photo: PETA)

Seconds after the horse goes stiff, an individual can be heard telling the PETA investigator to “put your damn camera down,” before the video abruptly ends.

The horse can be seen going limp after receiving the shot. (Photo: PETA)
The horse can be seen going limp after receiving the shot. (Photo: PETA)

In the equestrian industry, under tack workouts allow prospective buyers the ability to evaluate future racing prospects through workouts of various lengths (i.e., eighth of a mile, quarter mile, etc.). During these workouts, horses are generally pushed to run as fast as possible.

PETA and other animal rights groups argue that the shows are unnecessary and “don’t have to be fatal.”

“Deadly sprints used to drive up selling prices of young horses at these shows are pointless. They’re not even good indicators of performance for future races. When they don’t kill the horses, these events (and the training leading up to them) often leave the animals with permanent injuries,” reads a statement from the organization.

OBS did not respond to a request for comment before the publication of this story.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the horse as “Saintly Sister,” which was the horse’s mother’s name.