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Canadians “unhappy” with Tiffany Foster disqualification

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The Canadian Equestrian Federation has expressed its disappointment at Tiffany Foster’s disqualification at the Olympics.

A strong stance on hypersensitivity was displayed by the FEI at the London Games when Canadian rider Tiffany Foster was disqualified from the team showjumping.

Canadian team manager Terrance Millar said: “We are very unhappy about this. It is a decision that lacks any common sense. It is just blind application of a rule. It lacks judgement.”

Tiffany’s horse Victor was found to have “clear and obvious hypersensitivity on the front of the coronary band on the left forelimb” by FEI vets on 5 August, just 15 minutes before the start of the team jumping.

Vets said there was “no accusation of malpractice”, but the horse was deemed unfit to compete.

But teammate and 2008 Olympic gold medallist Eric Lamaze was outraged and at the time said he would not compete for his country again until the Canadian Equestrian Federation stepped up its support for Tiffany.

A protest lodged by the Canadian chef d’equipe was denied by the FEI Appeal Committee, as there is no right of appeal to elimination for veterinary reasons.

Canadian Olympic team vet Dr Sylvie Surprenant added: “In our opinion, the horse was fit to compete. However, the FEI hypersensitivity protocol is such that if the horse is sensitive to the touch, regardless of the cause, the horse is disqualified. While the FEI rules were followed, we believe there should be a review of this protocol.”

But FEI secretary general Ingmar de Vos said it was “an obvious case of hypersensitivity”.

It is the second time the condition has been in the news in relation to the Olympics. Last month, Ireland’s Denis Lynch was dropped as an individual for his country at the Games after his horse Lantinus 3 tested positive for hypersensitivity (news, 12 July). Again, there was no suggestion of malpractice, but it was the third such incident for Denis in 12 months.