After years of legal proceedings, Pan American Games team gold medalist Cesar Parra has been acquitted by a Hunterdon County Superior Court jury of charges of cruelty to a horse. The New Jersey court voted unanimously (8-0) to drop the charges brought by Trudy Miranda claiming negligence by the trainer led to injuries sustained by her stallion William PFF in June 2009.
“I am very relieved,” Parra said. “I’m sad—I wish I could have done something for this woman in a different way because it’s sad, but I think what she tried to do was wrong. Now we are on the go and ready to keep on working, and I’m excited about the future. We have a new clients, new horses; we’ve just got to move on.”
The lawsuit alleged that Parra, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Jupiter, Fla., was longeing the now 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Wonderful—Dara) at his Piaffe Performance training facility when the horse fell and struck his head. The suit claimed improper use of side reins led to the stallion’s injuries. Miranda, of Passing Fancy Farm in Johnsonville, N.Y., said the horse was no longer usable for riding or breeding because of resulting unsteadiness and head tilt. The incident resulted in a series of lawsuits and countersuits.
Miranda said she believes there are grounds for an appeal and gave the following statement: “I think that my lawyers and the jury did the absolute best they could considering the evidence that was allowed in the court. I don’t agree with the portrayal of my stallion’s behavior [on that day.]”
Parra said though he didn’t believe it would take so long for the ordeal to be over, he always believed there would be a positive resolution for him.
“One of the things that I believe about this country is that the system works, maybe not as fast as we want, but it works,” he said. “I believe in the justice.
“The thing that was a little bit uncomfortable for me was that I was never able to say anything because the attorneys advised me not to say anything,” he continued. “The only thing out there was one side. So it’s difficult, and it’s very sad that even nowadays that people take sides without hearing the other side of the story—especially colleagues or even horse people.”