Irish racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott has become public enemy number one over the past week.
A photograph of the Meath man sitting on top of a dead horse has been doing the rounds on social media.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) launched an official investigation into the image, one that Gordon Elliott has said he’ll aid with.
Animal rights group PETA quickly condemned the photo that has been plastered all over social media.
The British Horseracing Authority also expressed their disgust with the photo. They even announced that Elliott would be banned from racing any horses in Britain while the investigation by the IHRB was ongoing.
Elliott’s horses will only be allowed to run during the investigation if they’re transferred over to another training. We have seen this come to pass.
Sir Gerhard will go to Willie Mullins and both Envoi Allen and Quilixious will be handed over to Henry de Bromhead.
Gordon Elliott did confirm that the photograph was genuine, and he has profusely apologised.
It was also confirmed that the photo was taken back in 2019.
The beautiful animal was owned by Gigginstown House Stud, which themselves are owned by Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary.
It may be coincidental, but the timing of this incident has caused many to throw out wild conspiracies that the photo was shared by a former disgruntled employee.
Cheltenham festival is right around the corner. Whether or not Gordon Elliott can be involved in this year’s event is now in the hands of racing authorities.
It would be an ungodly disaster for any trainer to miss Cheltenham, especially one as successful as Gordon Elliott.
It would just add to the mounting bad press that he is facing.
His yard sponsor eCOMM Merchant Solutions have cut ties with him, owners are calling for condemnation and many are even suggesting he should give up his trainer license.
Some of that might be a step too far, but nobody can outright defend the actions of Gordon Elliott.
The image is shocking, and people are well within their rights to be appalled.
The sport of horse racing has come under scrutiny, right as it’s about to embark on a run of marquee events in the coming weeks.
Animal Welfare Concerns
The age of social media makes it easy for everyone to jump on a bandwagon and indulge in the backlash.
Publications and people with no prior interest in the sport have instantly become experts on the health and well-being of these horses.
This scandal will very likely open the floodgates for concerns around the treatment of horses.
While our country has a patchy track record when it comes to the care of our equine friends, especially after the Celtic Tiger.
At the highest level of horse racing the care and treatment of these animals is second to none.
While they are investments with the primary goal of making money. These horses are truly loved by the lads and ladies that work with them every day.
They have the finest healthcare, veterinary care, diet, and exercise facilities available to them.
Despite the idiotic lapse in judgement by Gordon Elliott, you could say with full confidence that no horse has ever been abused in his care.
Impact On Gordon Elliot
A photo taken two years ago has brought this man’s life into disarray.
His reputation has received a battering and the biggest stars in his stable have been transferred on to other major trainers.
Unfortunately for Elliott, this is to be expected in the modern cancel culture climate that we live in. It doesn’t matter that the photograph is old, this is the reality of social media.
Again, nobody is trying to defend the actions of Gordon Elliott. He should be appropriately punished, but is calling for the man’s livelihood to come to an end a step too far?
Banishing Gordon Elliott from the world of horse racing wouldn’t just impact his life. He provides plenty of employment opportunities and if his license were terminated, his staff would suffer the consequences too.
One thing you can say is that Elliott clearly understands the magnitude of the situation.
He has been vilified ever since the photograph surfaced. What he done was completely tasteless, especially by an individual that makes large sums of money off these horses.
However, the spread of outright wrong information and unproven claims need to come to an end
Just A Person, Like Us All
As a society we are unbelievably in touch with the complex nature of mental health. We all urge people to be kind and we really should be more aware of practicing what we preach.
People in the public eye seem to be forgotten when it comes to this. A large pocket of people seems to think just because a person is well-known means they’re devoid of feelings.
It’s understandable to be annoyed at Gordon Elliott for this mistake, but we shouldn’t forget this is just a person.
Like every person, he isn’t perfect and makes mistakes. Granted, due to his standing his mistakes are more highlighted.
This is a man that has been highly successful in his field. He is still only 43-years-old, with hopefully a long career still ahead of him.
That future career is now in doubt.
Elliott is going through a real turbulent time professionally and personally. I’m sure many people reading this have endured similar situations. It’s a horrible experience when you feel like you haven’t got a friend in the world.
Public figures aren’t exempt from these dark times. We must remember that Gordon Elliott is just a functioning human like the rest of us.
Adding Social Media To The Mix
It’s all too easy to sit on Twitter and think he’s fair game.
That’s just not the case. Really, it doesn’t matter what your stance is on the photograph. It was a terrible judgement call by Elliott, but surly not one that requires him to be blacklisted by the industry he loves.
It might sound sappy, but just remember to be kind folks.
Spewing venom to somebody on social media doesn’t make you a bigger person, it makes you a coward. Whether the person is in the public eye or not, adding to the turmoil does nothing.
Yes, he should be punished, and I do want to reiterate that. Nobody should defend Gordon Elliott for the photograph. The same way we wouldn’t defend an employee of a dog shelter if they took a snap beside a deceased canine.
Let’s just breath, take a step back and let to appropriate authorities deal with it.
So, now it’s over to you.
Do you think people should lay off Gordon Elliott?
Let us know in the comments below.
Remember to stay safe and be kind to one and other out there.