RTÉ racing pundit Ted Walsh apologises for saying ‘hiding wouldn’t be good enough’ for horse that refused to jump
RTÉ commentator Ted Walsh has apologised after saying “a hiding wouldn’t be good enough” for a “chicken-hearted, cowardly” horse that pulled up before a fence during Punchestown, causing a jockey to fall.
Mr Walsh was heavily criticised for his comments on RTÉ One, when he labelled a horse “a dirty rotten so and so” at Punchestown on Saturday.
The commentator, father to former champion jockey, Ruby Walsh, added: “He had no intention of it (jumping.) Jees, I tell you one thing, a hiding wouldn’t be good enough for him (the horse)…
“He gave him (the jockey) a horrible fall. It’s a wonder he didn’t follow him (the jockey) over and stand on him. He’s a chicken hearted so and so, that horse.”
Mr Walsh also labelled the horse “cowardly”.
Following his comment, junior minister at the Department of Agriculture and Green Party senator, Pippa Hackett, tweeted: “This is completely unacceptable commentary from Ted Walsh on @RTEsport.
“I don’t think anyone in racing or bloodstock could condone the use of this sort of language in relation to a horse. It does nothing for Irish racing.”
However this evening Mr Walsh apologised for his comment, telling Independent.ie he would “never condone physical force” against “an animal”.
"On RTÉ One’s Racing from Punchestown broadcast last Saturday, when analysing a horse’s refusal to jump an obstacle, which led to a young man suffering a heavy fall, “I said that ‘a hiding wouldn’t be good enough for him’,” he said.
“This was an unfortunate turn of phrase and in no way reflects my views on the welfare of animals. I would never condone the use of physical force on any animal and I sincerely apologise for any offence that my words cause
My Lovely Horse Rescue (MLHR), a horse welfare charity run by singer Cathy Davy, reacted to Mr Walsh’s original comments on TV, stating: “We love horses, they inspire us each and every day with their beauty, their elegance, their strength and their resilience…
“At MLHR we always remember that we are not their masters and that when they allow us near them it is a privilege and when they choose to serve us it is an honour.
“How can anyone who knows horses and is fortunate enough to spend their life with them not have anything but complete admiration and love for them.
“Horses don’t ever deserve to be treated with derision or disrespect and we should never forget how lucky we truly are that such powerful and intelligent creatures are humble enough to be our friends.”
People took to Twitter to criticise Mr Walsh’s TV statements. One tweeter wrote: “Poor animal. Horrible sport. Needs 100pc banning.”
RTÉ did not wish to comment when contacted by Independent.ie.