An amateur jockey has apologized after video posted of him climbing a dead horse on social media.
Rob James has confirmed he was the person in the video that started circulating online, in which he was seen riding the dead horse while others watched and laughed.
James’ apology follows head coach Gordon Elliott’s ban from racing in the UK due to similar behavior in a photo which was also released online.
James, who rode an Elliott-trained winner at the Cheltenham Festival last year, said his actions were “totally inappropriate and disrespectful” and that he was “heartbroken at the damage” he caused.
James said The Irish field diary: “I would just like to apologize for my actions which were totally inappropriate and disrespectful to a pretty five year old mare, who unfortunately suffered sudden cardiac arrest while exercising earlier in the morning on April 30, 2016.
“I sincerely apologize to the owners of the mare, the staff who looked after her, the horse racing industry and all horse racing enthusiasts for my actions.
“Trying to defend my stupidity at the time would add an insult and further hurt the many loyal people who have supported me throughout my career.
“I embarrassed my employers, my family and especially the sport I love.
“My heart is broken by the damage I have caused and I will do my best to try to make amends for those who have been injured by my driving.”
It comes just two days after a photo emerged showing Elliott sitting astride a dead horse galloping through his stables.
An investigation by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) examines the social media image of Elliott sitting on a horse that had just died of an apparent heart attack after a training race.
Racing authorities in Britain and Ireland condemned the undated photograph, which confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening that it was genuine.
The 42-year-old County Meath coach apologized “deeply for any crime this photo has caused” while seeking to explain what he said was the background to the events leading up to the photo .
He said he was waiting for the animal’s body to be taken away when he received a phone call and sat on the horse without thinking.