Kevin Thornton: Irish show jumper denies ‘whipping horse to death’

Equestrian Eventing

An Irish show jumper under investigation after his horse died at an event in France on Monday has denied “whipping it to death”.

Horse Sport Ireland is “extremely concerned” by reports of the “alleged circumstances” of the death of Kevin Thornton’s horse Flogas Sunset Cruise.

“There is no way I would ever whip a horse to death,” he told The Irish Field. “That’s not what happened.”

A post mortem examination is due to be carried out on the horse.

The French equestrian federation is also involved in the investigation, as is the sport’s world governing body Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), while the event’s organising committee has filed a report to the police.

The FEI said the incident happened on a rest day between two international events in Cagnes-sur-Mer. It has started a “full investigation” and added: “The welfare of our equine athletes is our number one priority.”

Thornton said the allegations of whipping were being made “on social media” and that people were “confused” because he was riding several different grey horses during the session.

He said the horse had “felt very weird” and “keeled over” as he finished his 20-minute ride and got off it.

Vinnie Duffy, the horse’s owner, said he was “devastated” both at the loss of the horse and for Thornton’s “vilification”.

“I feel so bad for him, it’s awful what is being said,” he told The Irish Field. “The last thing in the world I would condone is any abuse of horses. Horses are our lives and our business.”

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