On Monday, Nov. 28, the Ministry of the Solicitor General in Ontario announced that police had charged a 23-year-old Solstice Pecile. “The ministry can confirm that Solstice Pecile, 23, of the Township of Cavan Monaghan, has been charged with Causing Distress to an Animal under Sec. 15 (1) of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act,” said ministry spokesperson Brent Ross. “It is expected that the accused will appear in court on Jan. 11, 2023 at the Cobourg Provincial Offences Court. Given this matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to provide further detail.”
If Pecile is convicted of this charge, she faces a sentence ranging from a fine up to $130,000, imprisonment for a term up to two years, or both.
Also, according to a Facebook post by Jamie Magdalene, the mare in the videos, Quinn (aka Ezra), has been located and returned home “safe and sound in the hands of her previous owner.”
(original story below)
Solstice Pecile of her family’s Wishing Stone Farm in Bailieboro, Ontario shared disturbing videos of her “training” a client’s horse recently by dragging it behind a moving vehicle. The videos ‒ one depicting a horse skidding on the pavement and another showing her laughing at the horse, bleeding from its hooves, calling it a “retard” ‒ have caused justified outrage on social media and have led to Northumberland OPP investigating a “possible cruelty to animal incident”. No other details were released by police at this time.
The videos can be viewed here but please be warned that they depict very disturbing scenes.
According to the Wishing Stone website, Pecile, 23, competed in endurance from a young age and FEI CEIY events from 2013-2019. She has not registered for 2022. The FEI told Horse Sport, “The images you shared with us are shocking and unbearable. They depict the utmost cruelty, which has no place in equestrian sport at any level and in any country, be it in or out of competition. The FEI condemns such barbaric practices and those who inflict them in the strongest possible terms.
“Solstice Pecile (FEI ID 10097395), who you allege is the perpetrator of these heinous acts, last competed in an FEI event in March 2019 and has not renewed her FEI registration since then. The record of her participation in FEI events is available here. Given that this person does not hold a valid registration, the FEI has no jurisdiction over her.
“We have alerted Equestrian Canada and are looking forward to finding out from them what disciplinary action they may be able to undertake in this case. The FEI would take note of any sanction imposed and reflect this at FEI level if and when this should be relevant.”
Horse Sport contacted Equestrian Canada, which first clarified that Pecile is not an ‘EC Ambassador’ as had been inferred on social media, and provided this statement:
“As an organization mandated to promote and advance the health and welfare of horses in Canada, we are saddened and disturbed by any account of a horse in distress or a situation of abuse or neglect.
“Equestrian Canada (EC) takes the issue of animal maltreatment extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for the abuse of a horse. Our jurisdiction is limited to horses and individuals that have a relationship with EC, but any report received that does not fall within our jurisdiction will be forwarded on to the appropriate authorities including law enforcement and/or the SPCA.
“All reports of abuse fall within our Horse Welfare Code of Conduct. EC follows a third party complaints process to deal with any violations of the code of conduct including physical abuse of a horse which is governed by our Discipline, Complaints and Appeals policy. Within our process, we are unable discuss details of a specific situation, but we can confirm that Ms. Pecile holds an EC sport licence, and therefore would fall within the jurisdiction of being held to our Horse Welfare Code of Conduct. With the exception of her sport licence, we do not have any other relationship with Ms. Pecile.
“Although we cannot, due to privacy, provide any information or feedback outside of an active investigation of an individual, anyone that has been suspended or received immediate sanctions due to the severity of reported concerns will be publicly cited on our Disciplinary Sanctions page. Any further action that has been taken against an individual or organization that can be publicized will appear there. Any sanctions of an athlete are shared through our reciprocal agreements with other governing bodies and partner associations.
“As part of the code of conduct, all individuals and members of the public are required to report instances of horse abuse to EC which shall immediately address such reports as needed under the terms of the applicable policies. Anyone that witnesses or has reasonable grounds to believe that a horse is suffering or has suffered abuse, is obligated to report it and we encourage anyone that has information or further details are encouraged to report their concerns themselves as their duty to report.
“If anyone has further information on any instance of horse abuse, we encourage them to report their concerns here.”
Sanctions for horse cruelty, abuse or neglect of this type, in accordance with EC’s Horse Welfare Code of Conduct, involve a fine up to $12,000 and a suspension period up to 12 months for a first offense. Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, a Hearing Committee Panel may determine that certain egregious misconduct calls for the imposition of penalties above and beyond the stated range.
Other organizations and companies associated with Pecile have also been quick to respond. The Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association (OCTRA), of which she was a member, posted the following statement on their Facebook page, but chose not to share the horrifying videos: “The OCTRA Board of Directors are aware of an abusive video potentially involving one of our members. All of the proper authorities are investigating. The Board has suspended the member. We believe all appropriate action has been taken at this time.
“The Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association holds animal welfare in highest regard and does not condone any abuse or sharing images of abuse. We will not allow any of the videos to be shared on our sites to prevent any further trauma to others.”
Apparel company Wild Rose EQ, of which Pecile was an ambassador, also posted on Facebook, stating, “We want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out in regards to the behaviour of one of our Brand Ambassadors. We have been made aware of this and have removed this person from our ambassador program. We have this program as a way to showcase our equestrian community and with that have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to negligent behaviour.”
Horse Sport also reached out to the Peciles for a comment, but no reply has yet been received.
More updates will be provided as they become available.