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August 13, 2013

Updated: Danish Horse Breeder John Byrialsen Accused Of Neglect

On Aug. 11, Polish newspaper Gazeta Poznan reported that John Byrialsen, part owner of Tina Konyot’s Calecto V, has been accused of gross neglect.

Byrialsen, who stands Come Back II, sire of Calecto V and Shawna Harding’s Come On III, is an established breeder of Danish horses at his Viegaard Stud in Skals, Denmark.

He leased or possibly owned an additional breeding farm in Posadowo, Poland. According to Gazeta Poznan, a worker at the stable secretly recorded video at the farm showing emaciated and abused horses.

Police and local animal rescue groups removed about 50 of the most neglected of the 300 horses there. Those horses are being cared for by local stable owners. This video depicts the rescue efforts.

Byrialsen reportedly arrived on Monday, Aug. 12, to address the situation.

Two years ago authorities were called to the Polish farm because of neglect, but the situation has grown dramatically worse.

Ridehesten reported that former employees in Denmark have contacted evening paper Ekstrabladet and Berlingske Tidende as well as Epona.tv with stories about neglect and abuse of the horses at Byrialsen's Danish stud. All wish to remain anonymous, but one has provided recent photos showing two emaciated youngsters, standing up but very much in the same condition as the Polish horses. The reports have been enough for the Danish police to act, and on Aug. 13, two police officers and three employees from the Food Administration Region North went to the farm in Skals to investigate. However, they did not find serious signs of neglect upon inspection.

Byrialsen spoke for the first time about the neglect on Aug. 16 in an interview with Danish TV station TVMidtVest. "It is reprehensible. It should not happen, and it happened. I have to take responsibility for it, because there is no other than the owner of the company to do so," he said.

In the last two years, Byrialsen has been close to bankruptcy three times according to Ridehesten. He hadn't visited his stud in Poland in three months.

"This should not be an excuse or a way to place blame of my employees. It is my responsibility when I have a company and I have some horses. If in Poland or Denmark, it is still my responsibility," he said.