SRS rider suspected of animal abuse

An experienced equestrian of the world-famous Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule, SRS) has been accused of cruelty to animals.Viennese newspaper Heute reports today (Tues) that Ernst Bachinger rode a Lipizzaner at a performance show in Piber, Styria, despite concerns that the horse was sick. The daily claims a journalist enforced the SRS to admit that the animal was subsequently attested with colic after members of the audience were startled by its erratic movements.The newspaper quotes vet Iris Fröhlich as saying: “What happened is cruelty to animals, there’s no doubt about that.”Heute criticised that Bachinger will not be charged with animal torture charges but called into the witness stand in an upcoming trial against the German reporter who uncovered what the paper brands a “scandal”. The SRS – one of the strongest assets of the Austrian tourism industry – sued the journalist for libel.The SRS said earlier this year it was confident about making a profit in 2011 after it was criticised over 35 separate issues in a devastating report by the Federal Audit Office (RH) in 2007.Reports have it that the tradition-rich tourist attraction’s annual deficit was 950,000 Euros last year. The SRS – which is funded by the Republic of Austria – argued it had to call off a tour to the United States in 2010 because of the recession, adding that fewer people visited its museum in Vienna.