Amputation of parts of the lower legs of Middle Eastern endurance horses, videos of which have emerged online, has provoked concern from the FEI and the charity World Horse Welfare.

Roly Owers of the charity queried the justification for putting horses through this ordeal.

The FEI told H&H that the videos were “very disturbing”. It will raise the issue, and the general treatment of sport horses in retirement, at a forum in FEI Group VII (Middle East) this winter.

An increasing number of videos of dead and injured sport horses in Group VII countries are being openly posted on social media.

In one video, a bay mare with a missing foot is seen being loaded into a trailer, with a caption that the surgery followed injury in the CEI* 100 in Riyadh in January. She is still bearing her ride number, 45. It was posted on Iconosquare by a professional equestrian photographer.

amputation 2

Watch the video, viewer discretion advised.

In another, posted on Instagram by the Asayel Al Kuwait Endurance Team, a grey had his off foreleg amputated at the knee.

The horse is shown moving slowly with a makeshift prosthetic attached to a small wheel.

amputation 1

Watch the video, viewer discretion advised.

In the Middle East, cultural issues militate against euthanasia of animals. Comments accompanying the Kuwaiti post state that amputation solves this problem in cases of traumatic leg injury.

This development is very troubling and will do nothing to improve the reputation of equine welfare within some areas of endurance,” said Mr Owers, who has seen the videos.

“Amputations in horses are not unheard of, but are still very uncommon and there are huge potential welfare implications. One has to ask what is the equine welfare justification for putting them through this ordeal, compared to humane euthanasia?

“And above all, nothing should detract from what must remain the primary focus here, namely the reduction in the incidents of fractures in endurance across the board.”

H&H 29 October, 2015

  • Baiano

    You can’t post on Iconosquare. Iconosquare is showing post from Instagram