A race between Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius and a horse has caused outrage in the equestrian world.
The South African athlete, dubbed “Blade Runner” — due to the carbon fibre prosthetics he runs in — raced against an Arab horse in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesay (12 December).
The pair race over 115m in a challenge for “Definitely Able”, a campaign to highlight the Paralympic contribution to sport.
Oscar had a 15m headstart, and won, but the way the horse was ridden made for uncomfortable viewing due to excessive use of the whip.
“We are appalled at the way the jockey used the whip which was not only completely unnecessary but utterly barbaric,” said Tony Tyler deputy chief executive of World Horse Welfare.
“Excessive whip use like this is a disgrace to racing as a sport. We applaud the achievements of Oscar Pistorius and his race could have been a great spectacle, but instead it was marred by the flagrant abuse of this horse.
“We commented on the race beforehand to say we didn’t see any immediate welfare concerns providing the horse was treated well. Clearly it wasn’t.”
And H&H Facebook fans were in agreement, with 244 people commenting.
Fiona Jamieson said it was “totally shameful”, while Katherine Old commented: “That was awful, amazing runner, but awful riding.”
Lisa Maxem added: “Oscar is amazing. But that ‘riding’ is hideous. The horse wasn’t lined up for an equal start and then was being beaten for the duration. Absolutely hideous.” And Angela Jones-Moore said: “Plain and simple it’s disgusting.”
Before the race Oscar told press: “I have never even thought of doing something like this. This concept was brought up six months ago And The Arabian horse is an iconic thing of the region. It is just a very special thing to do. I think it is going to be an amazing spectacle.”