A South Australian jockey has been suspended for two weeks after he was seen punching his horse ahead of a race at Port Lincoln on Wednesday.
Dylan Caboche, 22, was captured on video dismounting and striking She's Reneldasgirl as other horses were being loaded into the starting gates.
WARNING: The following footage might be distressing to some.
In a statement, Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA) said that an immediate inquiry had been conducted following the incident.
"TRSA Does not condone and will not tolerate such behaviour and it is hoped this penalty -- which will remain on the rider's record and will impact his earning ability -- will send a strong signal to others," a spokesperson said.
A spokesman for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, an animal welfare group formed in 2008, told Fairfax that Caboche's punishment was "grossly inadequate".
"You don't get to punch a horse and get away with it," Ward Young said.
You are deadset the weakest human going around punching an animal that cannot fight back. Should be banned for life you grub @DylanCaboche— Jordan Mead (@jordanmead7) November 8, 2017
This vile human being thought it would be OK to punch a horse. I say the horse should be allowed to kick him in return.— Thomas Bristow (@ThomasBristow) November 8, 2017
"If jockeys can't control their tempers, they don't deserve to be on the racetrack. If this is what we see on race day, we can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes."
RSPCA South Australia's CEO Paul Stevenson told the ABC that he was "appalled" at the jockey's actions and that the suspension was a "token" punishment.
"Obviously the jockey just lost his temper, but that's just not acceptable from a professional sportsman."
TRSA said that Caboche will be able to appeal his penalty, which is expected to commence at midnight on Friday 17 November.