Racing Horse Who Reportedly Died of Heart Attack Deserves Justice

Target: Annamarie Phelps, Chair of the British Horseracing Authority

Goal: Fully punish Gordon Elliott for sick photo that seemingly promotes mistreatment of animals.

An appalling photo reportedly depicting renowned horse racing trainer Gordon Elliott sitting atop a dead horse drew widespread condemnation. Almost immediately, the excuses and the attempted “victimization” of this trainer began. The so-called punishment leveled against Elliott included a six-month suspension, while the horses under his care can continue racing, As a PETA director affirmed, this lack of accountability demonstrates that the industry “doesn’t actually care about the animals it claims to respect.”

The deceased horse, felled by a reported heart attack, had apparently become one of the nearly 200 British-based horses that die as a result of horse racing every year. Young colts are especially prone to being exploited and ultimately losing their lives. After Elliott takes his time off (half of which was suspended), he will be free to go on potentially putting these animals at risk and making money off their pain.

Sign the petition below to urge a more robust penalty in this disturbing case.


Dear Ms. Phelps,

“A complete absence of respect” and “appalling bad taste”: these are the words the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board used to describe the photograph reportedly depicting trainer and ambassador Gordon Elliott casually sitting on a dead horse, waving a peace sign.  The penalty for this seemingly disgraceful behavior amounted to a paltry fine and a six-month sabbatical. Meanwhile, you have decided that the apparent turmoil can continue for the horses under Elliott’s care. You announced that so long as they are “transferred,” Elliott can continue to seemingly exploit and profit off them.

This inaction, combined with the insinuations by some officials of a “witch hunt” against this trainer, shows a stunning lack of priority for the welfare of these animals and a callous disregard for supposed “honor and respect.” Animal Aid called for a ban on racing for all of Elliott’s horses. Animal advocacy groups have denounced the overall sparse punishment.

The world’s eyes are on horse racing again for all the wrong reasons. Correct this grave error in judgment and show the world you are willing to hold Gordon Elliott and any individual who reportedly trades in cruelty and abuse fully accountable.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sportsfile



  1. Horse racing needs to end now. It is cruel.

  2. Jacqui Skill says:


  3. Race the bastards who do this to death!

  4. Paula Morgan says:

    The horse race industry should be shut down. You raise and train horses to win. If they don’t win they are shipped off to slaughter. If they win you allow them to live until their death of a heat attack brought on by using so many steroids and enhancement medications. This is an ugly industry which gets paid off the horse’s back so to speak, then you kill them. The photo of you expresses the mercy and compassion not shown horses. Why am I so mad? Because horse helped build and maintain our societies on both sides of the pond for centuries. Now, they are paid no honor just sacrificed. It seems disrespectful and horrid.

    • Paula, much of what you stated is not accurate, and I speak from experience as a huge horse lover with both Arabian show horses we used to raise, and compete with ourselves, and through close friendships with people who breed, train, and race thoroughbreds. Yes, there are good, and bad people in EVERY industry, and we must continue to weed out the bad, and protect horses always, but the majority of people in any horse business truly love horses, and as you basically said, humans have a LONG history, and might I add a spiritual bond with horses. For most of us, they are great companions, and amazing partners in competition, as they used to be in battle, which thank God they no longer must do, at least here in the US! To correct some of your misstatements, first, horses can’t be trained to win! They can be trained to be ridden, and they can be taught cues to direct them, but they either have the will, and athletic ability to run (or jump in the case of jumpers, etc), or they don’t. And no, most are not sent off to slaughter, at least not in the world of thoroughbreds, where many go on to be bred, and many go on to show careers as hunters, jumpers, and dressage horses, or just companions, therapy horses, or just to live out their lives at retirement farms, or sanctuaries. Yes, much more work is left to be done to assure a happy ending for all, but we’ve come a LONG WAY in recent years! Racing also has very strict drug protocols, and regular testing, so no, they are not just pumped full of drugs, and forced to run. Yes, there are still some who cheat, but more, and more is being done to combat that, and most are honest, hardworking folks, who love the sport, and the spirit, and heart of a horse. I always have, and always will stand up for all animals, but the truth must be told, and I feel you have been fed lies by those who just hate the industry as a whole, and that’s not fair, when most involved are good people, and it provides millions of jobs, and helps to support many states economy’s. Sadly, the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Assoc), who also race their horses, actually SUPPORTS the slaughter of horses (last I heard anyway), WHILE ALSO ENCOURAGING breeding a greater number of horses in order to achieve the most desirable foals, so maybe more people could address that root evil, rather than attacking the sport as a whole.

      • Oh yah? Tell that to all the formerly raced horses that get shipped overseas by plane for human (unnecessary) FOOD purposes when they’ve outlived their “usefulness”, and all the horses from the rodeo industry who go to slaughter for the same lame excuses. The documentation, photos and even some admissions (including from those who worked within these industries) of these sick practices, abound. Bottom Line: if you truly care about animals, you don’t seek to USE them for your own selfish gain, end of story.

        • You clearly didn’t thoroughly read, or understand my post. In summary to help you, I am VERY anti slaughter of any horse, wild or domestic!

        • D.M., you clearly didn’t thoroughly read, or understand my post. I am VERY anti slaughter of ANY horse, wild or domestic!!

      • Bonnie Sudnick says:

        Just go to facebook and see ALL the Arabians, Bureau of Land Management horses and donkeys, and Standardbreds, Thorobreds, Quarter Horses, and all the other overbred horses, drafts (mules and horses), and donkeys, ponies, and minis that are dumped by not only back yard breeders but well known breeders every week and many go to slaughter. IT IS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT MANY RACE BREEDERS DIRECT SHIP TO CANADA and those never get to see a potential buyer or forever home. YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK and so many weanlings and colts get into the slaughter pipe line because the breeders want to “achieve the most desirable foals”, one time last year 15 registered quarter horses, with papers all under 2, were dumped into the slaughter pipeline because of undesirable. Every single day more and more unwanted thrown away race horses are dumped into the slaughter pipeline due to ‘did not run’, ‘lost last race’, too old, you name it and the excuses mount up. Some just give no excuse. Many come in with traceable record of having run track the day before, and even some that day that they were dumped. Most go to slaughter with their shoes on, no vet care. How wonderful humans can be – NOT – to these hard working horses. Some have won their owners a lot of money, they should have a forever retirement home for them with plenty of good food, roomy fields to run, and shelter and quality vet care.

  5. Jaime Perez says:

    Just ban and outlaw horse racing!! It’s a sport we don’t need. I agree with what Paula Morgan said.

  6. Rafael Garay says:

    I don’t mind seeing jockeys galloping with a horse on their backs, as long as the horses don’t suffer from boredom. There’s no need for either horse or dog racing anywhere, enough of them have suffered and died.

  7. Jim Takahashi says:

    “Animals are there for us to use according to their utilities.” And, horses are born to run and race. My Ass! They are only forced to race against their will and run to death.

    • Jim Takahashi – I agree with your comment.

      “Animals are there for us to use according to their utilities.” And, horses are born to run and race. My Ass! They are only forced to race against their will and run to death”.

  8. I used to own 13 race horses only raced 2 but I never ever forced any of my horses to run thier heart out because that’s what many are forced to do both my sons are jockeys as well but they also know when a horse had had enough horses do like to race but cumon all races should be shorter distances and less fences to jump and less cruelty I have seen trainers hit thier horses or sent em to slaughter because they are not fast enough to earn them money and see a few horses maxed out to the point of exhaustion MORE SHOULD BE DONE IN THE INTEREST OF HORSES WELFARE

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