Gold Digging Ashley animal abuse case Robert Dimitt mutilated Gold Digging Ashley's feet by cutting the frog out. Photos provided exclusively to Horse Authority.

Robert Dimitt’s Animal Cruelty Sentence Revisited

120-day Judicial Review

An Oklahoma judge has approved a 120-day judicial review for hoof carving horse trainer Robert Dimitt.

Robert Dimitt guilty of animal cruelty in horse mutilations.
Robert Dimitt

Sequoyah County District Judge Jeff Payton sentenced Dimitt in March to serve five-years in prison for the mutilation deaths of multiple horses. Dimitt still hasn’t seen the inside of a prison after four months. He remains in the Sequoyah County Jail.

Oklahoma law allows some offenders a sentencing review by the judge that laid the sentence in the first two years. The defense can file a motion for an earlier review. This allows the judge the opportunity to impose a lesser sentence for defendants that do not pose a risk to the public.

Judge Payton granted Dimitt’s request for a 120-day judicial review.

Dimitt pleaded guilty to five counts of animal cruelty in March. Judge Payton sentenced him to 25-years in prison with 20-years suspended. Upon Dimitt’s release, he is to serve 10-years probation and have no contact with horses. If he violates the stipulation he is ordered to serve the remainder of his prison term. Dimitt must also pay $5,000 in restitution.

New horse abuse details

The key eyewitness in the Dimitt case, who we’ll call “Sam,” says she feared for her life until Dimitt was locked up. “The day he was sentenced to prison a thousand pounds was lifted from my shoulders.” 

Sam shares new details leading to Dimitt’s downfall you’ll only see here.

Gold Digging Ashley was now the top three-year-old in the country with over $300,000 in winnings and her little sister that I had broke and started Ashley’s Freight Train had just won her first trial in the Remington Park Futurity. We made it through a tough meet but was hoping to get everything straight at home as the meet ended before Tulsa started.

When we got home things were bad and I mean real bad. Robert was not the Robert I knew. He had turned into a cruel lifeless man beating horses because they would not stand still for him to carve their feet out for days at a time. Horses shaking out of pain everywhere – every horse in the barn limped. He had become violent and abusive to the horses, his son, Ty, and me. I had told Ty if he didn’t get a grip on this I was gone. He [Ty] told me to take some time off and go mess with my barrel horses until he fixed it.

I knew it was time to start prepping my golden child Gold Digging Ashley for Ruidoso NM for the All American, Rainbow, and Ruidoso Derby. I knew her owners paid a $70,000 late fee alone for the Rainbow and she was picked as the favorite. I knew it was important she got her special treatments. I noticed the first day I was prepping her she was ill, sore and not her usual self. She would kick and bite which was not like her. She was a very loving and kind animal.

The next day I came back and Robert was beating her to stand still as he carved her feet to a bloody mess. He kept saying the foot was changing and that he’s fixing it. And that she has poison coming out of it that would glow in the dark and burn your hand. I immediately cussed him out told him he was an idiot that was crippling the best three year old in the country. He cussed me back and told me I didn’t know what it took to make those mother f-er’s run and that he’d been doing it for twenty years.

I was in disbelief as to what was happening.

Gold Digger looked at me and screamed for help.

I knew I had to do something to stop this. I walked to the other end of the shedrow shaking and crying – thinking if I call the cops we’re going to lose the whole business but if I can physically stop him I can get him into a rehab or mental facility.

 So I walked up as if I was going to hold her to help her stand still for him. His toolbox was at his side and he was bent down under her, carving her feet. I slowly slid the wrap from the box and held it over my shoulder and struck him in the head as hard as I could praying it would knock him out ….but it didn’t, he turned around looked me in the eye …I melted in my shoes I just knew I was dead.

He grabbed me by my throat and pushed me out of the wash bay. He ended up on top of me with the bloody hoof knife pressed to my throat and was saying he ought to kill me for what I had done.

I fought and got away. I called Ty and told him I was done –I was never coming to the barn again and I was calling the cops on Robert.

He begged and pleaded to give him time to fix this. Ty said he was going to call the owners and tell them what was going on.

Ty calls me the next day and tells me to bring the truck and trailer to Robert’s house to pick up horses going to races in Tulsa. I drove there but didn’t get out. I stayed with the doors locked for a good hour waiting. I could see he was showing horses and Ty was holding them. After waiting so long I got out to see what the hold up was. I walked in the barn and there was blood all over the place.

Ashley’s Freight Train was shaking and pouring blood and Clouds A Flying was loose limping down the shed row. Her hoof capsule was lying in the shed row, she was limping on a bloody nub. Her leg the size of a tree trunk and she was screaming for any help to get her out of there.
 I immediately lost it I don’t even remember what all happened because I was screaming to the point I lost my voice and blacked out. I called Ty’s mom hoping someone could do something. She showed up and was trying to talk to Robert and me through getting Ashley’s Freight Train on the trailer and told Ty to get in.

I knew the mare was not going to survive much less run that night but it was away from Robert. On the way to Tulsa, I told Ty I couldn’t do this anymore and I can’t watch this. That he was going to have to fix this on his own because I was going home, I was done. He was in tears begging me to help him get Robert in a rehab. I told him I would think about it but this has got to stop, that he had to call the owners and tell them what was going on or I was and that we would take Gold Digger to Ruidoso but have Tana watch after her while Robert was in rehab.

We got to Tulsa and the trailer was dripping blood. Ashley’s Freight Train could barely walk. I told Ty to go scratch her. He wouldn’t, he said he was scared his dad would get mad and hurt him if he didn’t take her to the paddock. I once again lost my cool as I sat in the fetal position screaming and crying beside her stall as he led her with bloody footprints following behind her. He wanted me to lead her up there but I refused.

G.R. Carter was her jockey that night. I filled G.R. in on what was going on at the barn earlier that week because he had horses with us. Thankfully, he scratched the mare. We loaded her back up and got back to the barn at Roberts.

I noticed Vodkaknockers was dead outside the barn as well as Clouds A Flying. My heart poured in pure pain cussing God for letting anything like this happen.
 We unloaded Ashley’s Freight Train and loaded up Gold Digging Ashley to take to Tana in Ruidoso. I cried the whole way there. At that point, I no longer believed in God because I didn’t believe God would let something like this happen. I was only trying to do the right thing. I should have called the cops and the owners and there might have been a chance at saving them even if Robert come after me. At that point, I really didn’t care to be alive anyways…

Sam’s cooperation was crucial to the prosecution’s case against Dimitt.

Judge Payton is scheduled to hear Dimitt’s judicial review Thursday, July 27, at 11 a.m. at the Sallisaw Courthouse.

If you’re unable to attend, you can send emails to the prosecutor’s office at The statements will be made available to Judge Payton, so please be concise with your thoughts about Dimitt and his opportunity for a lesser sentence.

For more information regarding this case click here.