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What Happened to the Horse Punched at the Olympics?

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was a major event for equestrian sports, and it was a time of celebration for many athletes and their horses. However, during a dressage event, one particular horse made headlines for the wrong reasons. On the first day of competition, the horse, named Vitorio, was punched in the face by its rider, Dutch Olympic team member, Edward Gal. While the incident was quickly denounced by Gal and his team, the debate over what happened to Vitorio afterwards has become a major topic of discussion.

Background on the Incident

The incident took place during the team dressage competition on August 8th, 2016. Gal was riding Vitorio, a 12-year-old KWPN stallion, and the pair was performing the Grand Prix Freestyle test. Near the end of their test, Gal was seen punching the horse in the face twice and pulling on the reins. The incident was captured on video and quickly spread across the internet.
Gal and the Dutch Olympic team quickly released a statement apologizing for the incident and claiming that the horse had not been mistreated. They stated that Gal had simply been trying to “encourage” the horse, and that the punches were intended to be “light taps.”

The Aftermath

The incident sparked an immediate outcry from the public, with many calling for Gal to be banned from the Olympics and for Vitorio to be removed from the competition. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) quickly investigated the incident and determined that no further action should be taken against Gal or Vitorio. The pair was allowed to continue competing, and Gal finished the competition in sixth place.

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The Debate Over Vitorio’s Wellbeing

Despite the FEI’s decision, many people were still concerned about Vitorio’s wellbeing. Animal rights activists argued that the incident was a clear case of animal abuse and demanded that the horse be removed from Gal’s care. Others argued that the incident was an isolated one and that there was no evidence that Vitorio had been abused or mistreated.
The Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) stepped in to address these concerns and launched an investigation into Vitorio’s welfare. They conducted a thorough examination of the horse and concluded that Vitorio had not been mistreated or abused in any way. This conclusion was supported by veterinarians and experts in the field.

Where Is Vitorio Now?

Although the incident took place in 2016, the debate over Vitorio’s wellbeing is still ongoing. Many people are still concerned about the horse’s welfare and want to make sure that he is receiving proper care. Fortunately, there is some good news on this front.
Vitorio is currently living with Gal in Holland, where he is being cared for by the best equestrian professionals in the world. The horse is in good health and is active in the dressage circuit. He has participated in several competitions since the incident, and his performances have been praised by judges.


The incident involving Vitorio and Edward Gal at the 2016 Olympics was a major controversy that sparked a heated debate over animal welfare. Fortunately, after a thorough investigation, it was determined that Vitorio had not been mistreated or abused and that he was in good health. The horse is now living with Gal in Holland, where he is participating in dressage competitions and receiving the best care possible.