A man was documented driving on a Texas highway with a horse in the open bed of a pickup truck, and the footage was widely circulated throughout social media.
It is only the latest of similar instances in the midwest, which some are calling animal abuse. Others are unphased by the practice.
Commenting on the incident, a Texas horsewoman said “The horse did not look spooked, he looked healthy, actually he looked like he was enjoying the wind blowing in his mane. The only thing I wish he’d done differently is put the eye covers on,” reports WWLP.
The Driver will Likely not Face Charges
Kerry Costello filmed the horse riding in the back of the truck near Corrigan, Texas. She is the daughter of ranchers and familiar with horseman practices, which she alleges does not include transporting them in this manner.
“This is considered redneck country,” Costello told KPRC Monday. “Even the simple horseman would have never done that. That’s money. That’s value to them.”
The horse was reportedly riding in the open bed of the pickup truck, where he was secured by a rope, because the truck normally used to pull the horse in an enclosed horse trailer had broken down. When horses are transported in enclosed trailers designed for the purpose, drivers are encouraged to use rope that will break under pressure in the event an accident.
The driver was pulled over and the horse into animal control custody.
“He was pulled over and cited for a defective tail lamp and let go once a local livestock barn sent help to safely transport the horse,” reports ABC15.
“According to Texas legislation, the driver would have been breaking the law if he ‘transported or confined the animal in a cruel manner,’ which authorities determined was not the case,” reports Metro.
The driver was released because he wasn’t breaking any laws. Officers still must present a full case report of cruelty to animals to the Polk County District Attorney’s Office for review and possible charges.
In 2017, a similar video of a horse riding in the back of a truck circulated the Internet, but was captioned “hilarious” by Daily Mail. The 2017 video, whose maker was unclear, was captioned “Only in Oklahoma” while the 2019 video as captioned “Only in Texas.”
A bizarre case of someone dragging a horse five miles to its death was investigated in Oklahoma in 2018.
Also in 2018, a social media post sent the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office on a search for the party seen dragging a horse with a truck in the video.
The same year, a Missouri man was arrested on similar charges, although in his case and others similar it appears he was motivated to train the horse. “He explained that he had tied the horse to his truck with a rope and was leading her up and down the road to try to ‘train’ her,” reports KFVS12.
Equine Wellness magazine recommends these tips for safely transporting a horse.