Vice President Mike Pence says he got more than he bargained for when he attended an event in Kentucky featuring Triple Crown-winning horse American Pharoah.
According to USA Today, Pence says American Pharoah took liberties with him when he visited the horse at his permanent home in retirement, Coolmore’s Ashford Stud Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. The horse, apparently, bit the Veep so hard that Pence collapsed on the spot.
Pence visted Coolmore’s Ashford Stud Farm while stumping for now-Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr (R-KY) back in 2018, just ahead of the mid-term elections. The event reportedly featured several of the farm’s prominent residents, including American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades. Pence says he was invited to hold Pharoah’s reins for a photo opportunity when, he says, the horse decided to attack.
At a GOP retreat Friday, Pence used the visit as an example of how Republicans are handling adversity on the campaign trail. During a policy panel, “Pence claimed he was bitten so hard on the arm by American Pharoah that he nearly collapsed. The point of the story was to offer a metaphor for Republicans’ hopes of retaking the House next year.”
“In our line of work, you’re going to get bit sometimes, but you keep fighting forward,” Pence reportedly told the crowd.
Lest American Pharoah be subject to bad public relations, a farm manager quickly disputed the tale to McClatchy DC, telling the news organization that if the horse had bitten someone that badly, it would have been immediately reported to farm management, and there have been no behavioral complaints about American Pharoah during his time at the stud farm.
“If he gave someone a nasty bite, I’d know it,” Dermot Ryan told McClatchy, adding that American Pharoah isn’t known for aggressive behavior, so he’d be surprised if the horse lashed out at the Vice President. Ryan did, however, remember the Vice President’s visit, telling reporters that he found Pence “very pleasant,” and that the farm was “honored” by the official visit.
A spokesperson for Rep. Barr confirmed the bite to Huffington Post, however.
“I can confirm for you that the bite occurred while VP Pence was in Kentucky campaigning for Rep. Barr,” he told HuffPo. “The Vice President did show the bruise to Rep. Barr on Air Force 2 on their way back to DC.”
This isn’t the first time a famous animal, trotted out for an official photo opportunity, has taken out their aggression on an esteemed federal legislator. Before he resigned from Congress in disgrace — and well before he was known as “Carlos Danger” — then-Rep. Anthony Weiner was sent to a hospital after being stabbed in the hand by a mohair goat.