What’s more, the entry fee for the Bissell Wood ride also covered a veterinary check-up for the animals participating. So, before the event got underway, an experienced vet went around the horses involved to assess their health and readiness for the course. When he got to McPherson and Thor, though, it was hard for the animal expert to make any detailed evaluation.
That was because McPherson had covered her steed’s hindquarters with an exercise sheet. Horse riders usually use this blanket-like piece of material to help keep their animals warm. In this case, however, the sheet had also served another purpose: to make it difficult for anyone to see the full extent of Thor’s pitiful physical condition.
And, indeed, the offending cover raised the suspicions of the event’s organizer, 74-year-old Neville Cope. “She hid the rib cage of the horse by putting a blanket over it,” he said in a statement obtained by The Daily Telegraph. “We have a vet who goes around especially to make sure they’re all okay. But the rug on [Thor] meant [that] they couldn’t see [his condition].”