“He reached back with his right hand, and he whipped that horse in the face. I don’t know if he hit him in the eye, but he whipped him hard across the face.”

Friday, I wrote this: In West Virginia, the stewards at Mountaineer say jockey Jose Leon “was caught striking a horse across the face” during morning training Sep 10. What did they think was an appropriate penalty for, again, “striking a horse across the face”? $100 fine, no suspension.

Now, more details have emerged.

Facing criticism for the paltry penalty, Mountaineer’s chief steward, Jim O’Brien, told the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN): “He was wrong, but I guess he let his anger get the best of him, and he hit the horse in the face. The horse was acting up after he got off, which is no excuse, but that’s what happened.”

Leon, for his part, denies he hit the horse after dismounting, but, says the TDN, “did admit that he was ‘frustrated,’ and that he struck the horse ‘in the mouth’ earlier…while still on horseback in an effort to keep it from careening through the outside fence….” Leon: “The horse is the type of horse that is a crazy horse.”

One of the witnesses who reported the incident is owner/trainer/rider Justin Jensen. While Jensen agrees that Leon was within his rights to discipline a wayward horse – “You’re in a dangerous spot. He reached out and smacked the horse in the face. Not the end of the world, okay?” – it’s what happened after that he found problematic:

“They finish the workout, and I’m galloping right behind him. … All he had to do was turn that horse around and jog it home. And because he’s got a bad attitude, and he always has a temper, he jumped off that horse…grabbed the right rein with his left hand, and he reached back with his right hand, and he whipped that horse in the face. I don’t know if he hit him in the eye, but he whipped him hard across the face.”

Jensen says plenty of others witnessed the abuse but chose not to come forward, intimidated, he implied, by the Mountaineer ecosystem. Jensen, by the way, was partly motivated by indignation: Just last year he himself was fined $400 for using an expletive with a track superintendent. Priorities, right?

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  2. As I wrote the other day, the comment section on TDN was not in favor of this guy’s behavior. Do you notice that it is always the horses fault if a human errs? They never take into consideration the horse can’t tell you he doesn’t feel well or you’re hurting him.

    • Horses can tell you if you listen. But that creep, Jose Leon, is an abuser so he doesn’t care! He’s a punk! He doesn’t listen to the horse and he should not be paid to do anything with horses.
      This horse has had it with being whipped around a racetrack and forced to be confined 23-hours a day and then have a punkbitch whipping him.

  3. So frustrating that this little bitch gets away with a temper tantrum. He intended to hurt this horse! Why no assault/abuse charges?

    Image what happens behind the scenes, 24 hour webcams need to be installed to monitor these midget men with little man syndrome. Such mind f¥ck training abuses would be captured.

    • In the case of Amber Cobb, it was not a 24-hour video webcam that caught her heinous acts of cruelty to a horse inside the stall. An individual human being that was gathering video evidence of the abuse caught her on camera and spoke up on behalf of the horse with video evidence as well as verbal testimony as a first-hand witness.
      I agree with you, Lynn, that there should be 24-hour video surveillance, but then the obvious question is: “how would that make it look for the racing commissioners?”
      What would they do with the video evidence? Would they sweep it under the rug like they do and/or attempt to do with video evidence of horses being injured on the track during a race?

      Horseracing is inherently abusive and cruel even though a lot of people don’t know just how much the horses are forced to suffer. Of course, there are many people who don’t care and/or they get a vile, morally depraved pleasure out of seeing horses suffer.
      The racing commissioners coud crack down on the abuse, but at what point would they have to come to the conclusion to “enforce” themselves right out of their jobs as commissioners? I think it will be Business As Usual as long as they are able to lie their way out of a scrutinized situation and be allowed to withhold evidence of abuse and brutality against horses.

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