Three American Dressage Riders Launch Effort to Rescue Horses at John Byrialsen’s Danish & Polish Farms

7 years ago admin Comments Off on Three American Dressage Riders Launch Effort to Rescue Horses at John Byrialsen’s Danish & Polish Farms
Tina Konyot and Calecto V competing at the 2012 London Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tina Konyot and Calecto V competing at the 2012 London Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Three American dressage riders have launched what may be the first international effort to rescue severely neglected horses at the Danish and Polish farms of John Byrialsen and Viegaard Stud by buying as many horses as possible and rehabilitating them in Europe.

The three riders are Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, who rode for the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 world championships on Calecto V that is part-owned by John Byrialsen’s Viegaard stud; Karen Lipp of Alpharetta, Georgia and Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina who competed at the 2011 and 2012 World Cup Finals on her Come On III, sired by Viegaard’s signature stallion, Come Back II.

The plight of horses at Viegaard’s Polish farm in Posadowo as well as at the main stud in Skals, Denmark was first show in a graphic video by an employee in Poland that was dispayed by media around the world. The video, with a warning about the shocking scene, can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dHUWqlpG6E.

John Byrialsen, in an interview with Media-Vest at the Polish farm, admitted that his operation has fallen on hard times and he claimed he had not visited the farm in three months so claimed he was unaware of the problems. And he indicated he may not have the financial means to fix the problems.

Former employees have come forward claiming that malnutrition and neglect of horses at the Viegaard stud in Denmark was reported to Danish authorities in 2011.

At least 50 horses in the most critical condition have been removed by authorities, and the investigation continues in both countries.

However, more than 500 horses remain at the farms in his care and that has led to the three Americans joining with several investors to purchase horses from the operation in Poland. The investors were not identified.

Both the Danish Equestrian Federation and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) have deplored the situation but have said that any action to deal with the situation is in the hands of national and animal welfare agencies.

“The blame for the neglect is for the authorities to decide over the coming weeks,” Karen Lipp said. “But, John has admitted he has fallen on hard times and is having trouble keeping up with the expense of his operation. We are gravely concerned with horses suffering now. That is why we have come together and are planing to offer to buy as many horses as we can. We have located various farms in Europe that will take the horses and get them back to full strength. They need to get proper attention now before it is too late for any more horses.”

A formal offer from the riders to buy horses is to be sent to John Byrialsen and the authorities in both Denmark and Poland later this week.

“We hope John accepts this offer in the best interest of the suffering horses,” Karen said.

Shawna Harding and Come On III at the 2012 World Cup Final. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Shawna Harding and Come On III at the 2012 World Cup Final. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com