Pair race harness horses down busy Irish highway

A still from the race video, below.
A still from a video of the race, below.

Two travellers raced their harnessed horses down a busy Irish highway, with police trying to stop them.

A video taken of the apparent contest showed the sulky drivers weaving their horses through the traffic on the main Cork to Mallow Road.

Local animal welfare groups voiced their anger over the race, saying it put the horses at risk, as well as other road users.

Police described the race as a clear breach of road rules and were preparing a file for the director of public prosecutions.

A man in his 20s was arrested for public order offences, but was released without charge.

The race occurred around 7am last Saturday, and police were alerted by calls from concerned motorists.

Footage showed a gathering after the race and police said they would be able to identify some of them from the tape.

A representative of the Pavee Point Travellers’ Centre, a group promoting travellers’ human rights, condemned the race.

Press officer Ben Archibald told RTE News: “What we saw on Saturday, what we saw in that video was just a serious risk to life, and there’s nothing cultural about that, you can’t defend that on cultural grounds, and no traveller is trying to.”

In a statement released later, the centre described the race as illegal and dangerous.

“Pavee Point is concerned that all the participants involved in the event filmed placed themselves, their animals and other road users in danger.

“This was a completely unacceptable misuse of a public road and Pavee Point calls on anybody contemplating similar activities to stop and consider the safety of their animals, themselves and other road users.

“We are concerned that the practice of sulky racing, which is a longstanding tradition within and outside the traveller Community, should not be conflated with the actions of the participants in this event — sulky racing can be carried out in a way which is safe and well regulated, where there is space for it to take place.

“Examples of good practice exist around Ireland.”

The centre called on local authorities to engage with traveller organisations, horse-owner projects and the police to investigate how to bring about a resolution which allows this long-standing tradition to continue in a manner which is safe and legal.

» Watch the video



One thought on “Pair race harness horses down busy Irish highway

  • May 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    When you watch the video you realize that there is no concern for the horse at all. It is all about betting and money exchange. No one even pets the horse for it’s effort. CRAZY.


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