Friday, October 08, 2010


CAIRO: A man who bought a horse and immediately removed its brain defended his actions this week, saying, “the decision is in the best interests of the horse and will in no way affect its performance”.

Pharmacist and part-time amateur dramatics enthusiast Sayed El-Baddie purchased the well-known horse, Constitution (15.3. hands) in mid-August. Constitution’s failure to appear at an equestrian show last Saturday set tongues wagging and on Sunday El-Baddie, from Dokki, confirmed suspicions that the popular horse’s head had been axed.

The decision was met with a storm of protest from Constitution fans who seized upon the move as yet another example of interference in equestrian affairs ahead of the 2011 gymkhana when young fillies will compete with old nags for the crown.

Controversy surrounding the gymkhana intensified recently when it was decided that during future gymkhanas, horses will compete in closed halls admittance to which will be limited to gymkhana organizers, and that judging will be carried out in secret.

While Constitution did not compete in the gymkhana, he was a familiar and well-loved figure at events, who in 2007 found himself at the centre of controversy when gymkhana organizers overheard him telling other horses that incumbent gymkhana champion “Immortal Heart” (12.1 hands), who has dominated the gymkhana for 28 years, “is in ill health”.

Constitution made the comment during a dressage event when Immortal Heart’s left front leg appeared unnaturally stiff.

As he flogged an immobile Constitution yesterday, El-Baddie maintained that his decision to remove the horse’s brain was motivated solely by the desire to “make things even better than they already are”.

“Nothing has changed. Constitution will take the same salary, will continue to attend equestrian events and remains an important figure in the horse world. The only difference now is that he’s dead”.