Dutch showjumper-dealer Peter Bulthuis has been fined 2,000 Swiss francs for alleged horse abuse following a rare protest to the FEI Tribunal by members of the public.
Italian owners Maria Saracino and her daughter Giorgia Ladisa argued that their stallion VF Corrado was subjected to “violent and brutal measures” while at Bulthuis’s yard from around January 24-26 this year.
The owners also tried to join former Olympian Piet Raijmakers Snr in the protest, but the tribunal ruled that inadmissible because Raijmakers is retired from competing and thus not subject to FEI jurisdiction.
The owners sent Corrado to Raijmakers for training late in 2015 but as he made little progress it was decided to sell.
They claimed Raijmakers moved him to Bulthuis’s yard without prior notice – though Raijamkers argued the transfer was the owners’ idea.
When it was then decided to take Corrado home to Italy, he arrived with transporters Gelissen showing a 30cm belly wound.
The owners alleged Corrado had been repeatedly struck by a dressage whip with a worn end.
Bulthuis argued Corrado was dangerous and his injuries resulted from an “unfortunate accident inflicted by the horse’s own behaviour”.
While being lunged, allegedly Corrado leapt upon a pony being ridden by Bulthuis’s son. It took five minutes to beat him off the pony, then half an hour to catch.
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The FEI referred the case to tribunal after the FEI veterinary department queried why no evidence of injury to the pony had been offered, and why there were no other marks on Corrado if Bulthuis’s account were accurate.
They found a case of abuse had occurred.
This is only the second time a protest over abuse from the public has reached tribunal.
The first was achieved in 2014 by H&H contributor Pippa Cuckson and former H&H editor Lucy Higginson, over a horse-beating incident during an endurance ride in Bahrain.