Mike Pence claims he was bitten by a prize-winning race horse

US Vice President Mike Pence has claimed he was bitten by a horse. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US vice president Mike Pence, who once said “there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse”, has said a prize-winning race horse bit him during a 2018 visit to Kentucky, US.

At a policy retreat for House Republicans in Baltimore last Friday, Pence offered the anecdote about Triple Crown winner American Pharoah nipping his arm hard enough to nearly collapse.

“I just gritted my teeth and smiled,” Pence said to a cheering crowd. “Because you know what, in our line of work, you’re gonna get bit sometimes but you keep fighting forward.”

But farm manager Dermot Ryan, who was present in the meeting billed ‘VP meets AP’, then told the McClatchy news group such an act would be out of character for a horse he described as “sweet”.

“If he gave someone a nasty bite, I’d know it,” said Ryan, manager for racehorse-breeding company Coolmore.

What allegedly happened with Mike Pence and the horse?

The horse became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years in 2015. Pence met the prize-winner three years later in March 2018.

Pence travelled to Kentucky on behalf of representative Andy Barr ahead of the 2016 congressional elections. Barr was facing a heated race against former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

While Barr was with Pence, he did not see the bite occur but did see a bruise on the VP’s arm. Pence “showed it off on Air Force Two”, spokesperson Jodi Whitaker said.

However, the alleged bite happened before Pence went to an event sponsored by a pro-Trump group to dial up the White House’s tax-cut bill. He mentioned American Pharoah in a speech, yet did not reference the bite, according to a speech transcript.

Mike Pence once described himself as a “horse guy” and tweeted: “I’ve often said there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”

“American Pharoah is the best LGBT ally you can’t change my mind.”

Nevertheless, the dispute about whether the bite occurred has not stopped some Twitter users seeing the more humorous side of things.

One user tweeted: “American Pharoah is the best LGBT ally you can’t change my mind.”

While another wrote: “In my experience, horses are excellent judges of character.”

“This is the feel good story I’ve been waiting for today,” a user said.

The bizarre allegations come after a whirlwind international tour for Pence, where he was either greeted by Pride flags or an empty street.

Moreover, the VP then eclipsed by being the headline speaker at a black tie gala for evangelical group Concerned Women of America, which lobbies against LGBT+ inclusion.

This was just a week after the White House denied Pence’s homophobic track record, one defined by cavils with LGBT+ rights and criticism over his closeness to anti-LGBT hate groups.