Thursday, 31 July 2014

Future of Italy's Tuscan palios in doubt after horses put down following race

Animal rights activists scream abuse and spectators watch in stunned silence as the injured animals are carted off to be destroyed during the race in Pistoia

Monday 28 July 2014

The future of the medieval horse race in the Tuscan city of Pistoia was in doubt after two horses were put down after breaking their legs during the race.

Animal rights activists screamed abuse and spectators watched in stunned silence as the injured animals were carted off to be destroyed soon after the start of their heats in the 2014 Giostra dell’Orso (Golden Carousel) race in Pistoia, north-west of Florence, on Friday evening.

The deaths of two animals have reignited the seasonal controversy over the palio, of which the most famous takes place in Siena. Friday’s race in Pistoia was allowed to take place in the confines of the town’s medieval central piazza, even though heavy rain had made conditions more treacherous than usual.

The accidents came in the penultimate and final rounds when the horses, Oracle Force and Golden Storming, set off at breakneck speed around the square as their riders attempted to throw spears at a target.

After the second accident in a matter of minutes, Golden Storming limped off the course, its right hind leg twisted sickeningly out of shape, to shouts of “shame” and “bastards”, from protesters. Vets quickly destroyed both animals. The riders suffered only minor injuries.

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