Stalls handler will not be disciplined for slapping unruly horse

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  • A senior stalls handler who slapped an unruly horse across the nose will not be disciplined by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

    Mark Wilson, who has 28 years of experience as a stalls handler, caused a stir in equestrian circles when he hit the stallion Caprio when the horse was playing up while entering the stalls at Brighton earlier this month.

    The horse had twice bitten Mr Wilson as well as trying several times to headbutt him. He had also injured groom Anna Weinsjo while saddling.

    Racing UK viewers witnessed the incident and one of Caprio’s part owners lodged a complaint.

    But after an investigation the BHA will not take it any further.

    A spokesman for the BHA said: “We are not saying hitting a horse is acceptable but there were wider circumstances that led to the event and these were very much mitigating in favour of Mark Wilson by the end of it.

    “I think the most sensible people would agree he’d done quite a remarkable job of keeping the horse under control.

    “Bear in mind the horse had already put someone in hospital and had played up the whole time at the start — kicking and trying to headbutt.

    The only real sanctions available to us would have been exclusion or removing his accreditation as a stalls handler and I don’t think anyone would suggest either of those would be remotely proportionate to what he did.”

    Caprio has since been gelded.

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