Gloucestershire police were called after the advanced event horse Master Monarch was removed from the yard of Australia’s dual Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy.
Olympic team silver medallist Jeanette Brakewell and Brook Staples, who competed for Australia in Sydney as an individual, wereseen on CCTV cameras taking the 12-year-old bay gelding from the yard at Gatcombe, Gloucestershire.
Staples began competing the horse, a son of Just A Monarch, in affiliated events in 1998, and in 2000 the combination was fourth at Badminton before competing in Sydney, where they finished 16th.
However, at the end of last year, owner Tom Attwood moved the horse from Staples’s yard to that of Hoy, but Master Monarch’s former rider feels that he is entitled to payment for a share of the value.
Tom Attwood commented: “I offered Mr and Mrs Staples a profit share in Ben at the time I purchased him and this contract refers to my ‘full and unencumbered ownership’. Under this contract I am not obliged to make Brook an offer of any sort.
“However I am and have always been prepared to honour my profit share obligation. Unfortunately, Brook seems unable to grasp the difference between a profit share and an equity share.”
Staples says: “Tom had five months to sort [ownership of] the horse out. It is unfortunate that Andrew [Hoy] was caught up in it. I don’t intend to compete the horse, but I am going to keep him until a solution is worked out.”
Andrew Hoy comments: “My understanding isthat Tom Attwood is the sole owner of Master Monarch. If Brook believes he has part-ownership of the horse, he needs to speak to Tom and sort that out. However, none of this justifies entering my premises and removing a horse from my care.”
Tom Attwood continued: “This is simply not the way to go about settling any dispute. Sadly, it is now with my lawyers and we are confident that we will be able to resolve this matter quickly and that Jeanette and Brook will be required to return the horse to Gatcombe.”
A spokesman from Gloucestershire police said: “An allegation was made that a horse had been stolen from Mr Hoy’s yard, but we now understand that its ownership is being disputed.
“As this is regarded as a civil dispute between the two parties, no further police action will be taken.”
British Eventing released the following statement: “British Eventing has read with concern the report in the press about the action of two of its members in the removal of Master Monarch from Andrew Hoy’s stables.
British Eventing is advised that it would be inappropriate to comment further until all the facts are known but will be reviewing the matter thoroughly in order to establish whether further action on the part of British Eventing is required.”
Brook Staples also released a statement absolving Jeanette Brakewell from any responsibility for the incident and stating that the horse was not being kept at her yard but at a yard next door to her premises as a separate business entity.
He said: “I am aware that various claims have been made of late in the press regarding myself. I do however wish to point out that the decision to take possession of Master Monarch was myown and I take full personal responsibility for the action.
“Recent press vilification of Miss Brakewell is not justified. She is not involved in the private dispute and no responsibility for my actions should or can be attributed to her.”
Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (17 April), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.