The Death of Prince Harry's Polo Pony Is Not an Isolated Incident | Animal Writes | PETA.org.uk Animal Writes: PETA Foundation’s Blog
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  • May

The Death of Prince Harry’s Polo Pony Is Not an Isolated Incident

© iStockPhoto.com / FreezingRain

The death of Drizzle, a pony Prince William and Prince Harry used for polo, has been in the news recently. According to media reports, Prince Harry was taking part in the second half of a charity match when he realised that Drizzle was struggling. Within minutes of being retired from the match, Drizzle suffered a heart attack and died.

The media are reporting Drizzle’s death as little more than an unfortunate incident. A guest at the match told The Mail on Sunday that “[i]t was very lucky that Harry rode her off because we were spared the gruesome spectacle of watching the pony die”.

Whilst the cruelty involved in horse racing is attracting more and more criticism, little attention has been paid to the plight of ponies used for polo, but the death of Drizzle is by no means an isolated incident.

Polo is very gruelling for the ponies – who are forced to constantly stop and start and make sharp turns. Ankle injuries are common. The whip is used extensively. Sudden deaths – either during a match or shortly after a match – are not uncommon.

Yet again this shows that whenever animals are exploited for “sport“, their welfare comes in a distant third behind winning and making money.

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Comments

  1. avatar Ian says:

    These aren’t the only welfare problems horses face. They’re expensive to keep and live for a long time so many horses go through many different owners over the course of their lives. Many end up in riding schools which are businesses at the end of the day and they could be at risk from poor care or cost cutting. Horse deaths in sport are terrible but a lot more goes on that most people don’t know about.

  2. avatar KT says:

    I feel so ashamed sometimes that the Royal family, who represent our country, are often contributers to animal cruelty.

  3. avatar Edward says:

    This is not an example of animal cruelty; the death of a polo pony at or soon after a match is very rare, certainly to describe it as ‘not uncommon’ is simply untrue. Also although the sport is physically demanding of the pony they are bred for it and are given excellent care off the pitch to ensure they are in the best physical condition possible to play. Unlike in racing where the horses are retired and often disposed of at an early age a polo pony can usually play for most of its natural life. The whip is sometimes used but again ‘extensively’ is an exaggeration. Most people who play polo love their ponies and take good care of them.

  4. avatar HV says:

    There’s so much cruelty in the horse world, I wish they would ban all whips and spurs and make bitless bridles the norm. That would really show who actually has a partnership with their horse.

  5. […] to PETA UK’s blog, Animal Writes, like horses and the American Kentucky Derby, the sport and the animals often don’t mix well […]

  6. avatar Charissa says:

    I hope that news like this helps to widen more people eyes against these kind of sports where animals suffer for someone else’s enjoyment.

  7. avatar Brien Comerford says:

    The Royal family is a mixed bag of inhumane hunters and genuine animal lovers. It would be idyllic to have a vegetarian King or Queen.

  8. avatar Sue Smith says:

    I agree with KT – the royal family are shameful and if not actually participating, often condone the likes of fox hunting, stag hunting and the general use of animals in the name of ‘sport’, which is only glorification for humans……….do animals care if they win a rosette, cup or trophy? I think not.

  9. avatar Lesley Robinson says:

    It always amazes me that anyone could refer to an animal that has been raced to death, as has Harry’s pony in this awful case, as “beloved”.

  10. avatar Lesley Robinson says:

    I’m so pleased for the spectators, who, by Harry’s swift action in taking the animal off the field, didn’t have their lovely afternoon spoiled in any way by “being spared the gruesome spectacle of watching the pony die.” I feel so much better for knowing that NOT.

  11. avatar kristie says:

    The author of this piece obviously knows nothing about polo. I was a polo groom for 4 years and never saw ponies dropping dead. The link provided was related to an incident caused by a pharmacutical company – nothing to do with the death of Harry’s pony.

  12. […] are whipped, “used up,” and then euthanized or sent off to slaughter. Some, such as the pony that Prince Harry rode in a charity polo event, die either on the field or immediately after leaving […]

  13. avatar jasmin says:

    This article is highly twisted and extreme and gives such a false view on the sport. I have been a polo groom for over 2 years and not only do I adore the ponies I take care of but so does the owner. After going to 3 matches per week for two seasons I have only ever come across one death from heart attack (not any of mine) which compared to statistics for racing is f*cking fantastic. The ponies play for less than 6 months of the year and have the rest of the time off chilling and eating in the field with their friends. I have NEVER seen anyone play with a whip so not even sure where that comment has come from?! Each pony is on for less than 5 mins per game and is booted up to the 9’s and washed and examined as soon as it comes off. In my experience these horses live a good life compared to dressage horses that are kept confined and never see a blade of grass. Apart from playing they live a close to natural life out in the field and thoroughly enjoy their job. This article is sickening and out of context twisting a freak accident/death.

  14. avatar dana says:

    I recently photographed a polo match and upon looking closely at the photos I took I was appalled to see how grueling it looks up-close thru the view of my telephoto lens. I am a professional photographer and would like to be able to use these photos to promote the cause of polo being unkind to the horses. Any suggestions or known resources where these photos could be used to shed light on the sport?

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