The video of John Byrialsen’s horse breeding farm in Poland was called horrific, shocking, and appalling. Now, three dressage riders from the United States are trying to help the surviving horses.
Georgia rider Karen Lipp, Shawna Harding from South Carolina, and 2012 U.S. Dressage Olympian, Tina Konyot have secured funds from investors in an attempt to purchase horses from Byrialsen’s operation. The women say they intend to buy “as many of the horses as possible” and relocate them to rescues for rehabilitation.
Allegations of Byrialsen’s dirty secret were exposed earlier this month. A former employee at his Polish operation videoed horses in April and May of this year with untreated wounds and infections. Some of the warmbloods were starving, on the verge of death while living among carcasses littering the property.
The Viergaard Stud owner didn’t remain silent for long. He said his operation hit hard times. Although pictures and reports released to European media allege some of his horses have been in distress since 2011.
“They need to get proper attention now before it is too late for any more horses,” said Lipp.
Authorities in Poland and Denmark have reportedly removed about 75 horses. A criminal investigation continues in both countries.
It is estimated 500 horses remain in Byrialsen’s care.
Byrialsen co-owns the United States Olympic dressage stallion, Calecto V., with Konyot.
A formal offer is supposed to be delivered to Byrialsen later this week. “We hope John accepts this offer in the best interest of the suffering horses.”