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Newport Polo Refuses to Answer Questions About Horse’s Injury

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Saturday’s Polo Match in Portsmouth Rhode Island between Team USA and Team Ireland was scarred by a rider being thrown from his horse and the horse being seriously injured.

Agnes Keating, co-chair of Newport Polo refused to answer reports that the horse was severely injured and may have been destroyed.  In response to a number of questions, Keating responded each time with the following statement:

The polo community appreciates the overwhelming outpouring of concern for the horse that was injured in yesterday’s polo match.  Injuries are a part of every sport.  In this unfortunate event, the horse stumbled, for no apparent reason and went down, sustaining an injury.  The horse received immediate veterinary care by its vet & trainers who were present.  The rider incurred only minor injuries and was able to resume competing in the match. 

No further medical information is being provided, and we ask that the media & public respect the privacy of the family that owns the horse.

Raises Concerns

RI DEM’s State Vet Scott Marshall told GoLocalProv he has not been notified of the injury or if the horse had to be destroyed. State regulations do not require his office to be notified.

The Washington Office of PETA raised concerns about the lack of transparency by Newport Polo.

"That public statement (issued by Keating) raises a lot of red flags..the fact that they're not responding to the status of the horse raises concerns.  I would want to know who the vet is...anyone who uses an animal for sport will you they're well cared for, but oftentimes they give these animals drugs so they don't feel pain, and injuries happen as a result."

"I can't speculate on what happened here, but transparency is what we need anytime a horse goes down," said PETA Spokesperson Kathy Guillermo. 

Polo Under Fire

The sport of polo has come under fire in the past for the treatment of their horses. The most attention getting was the 2010 episode when England’s Prince Harry was accused of animal cruelty yesterday after his horse suffered a bloody injury during a polo match.

According to the Daily Mail, “He was photographed riding a pony that appeared to have been stabbed in the flank by his spurs.

An onlooker claimed that the 25-year-old prince continued to ride his horse while blood was visible on its flank, but St James’s Palace said he stopped playing as soon as the injury was spotted. Animal welfare groups accused Harry of being ‘heartless’.


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