Two riders were disqualified in the first round of showjumping at the Rio Olympics today. One was for overuse of the whip and the other for using his spurs excessively.

Belgian individual competitor Nicola Philippaerts was riding Zilverstar T — a 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Berlin. The horse refused twice at 11b, the second part of the difficult double on the final line of fences. Nicola, 23, was then disqualified by the ground jury for the rider’s excessive use of the spurs.

The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling was riding Zirocco Blue and had two refusals, one at 4b — the second part of the treble — and one at 11a.

He and the 12-year-old stallion by Mr Blue were disqualified after the ground jury deemed the rider to have used his whip excessively.

Rio showjumping disqualifications: Jur Vrieling (NED) on Zirocco Blue at the Rio Olympics

Jur Vrieling (NED) on Zirocco Blue at the Rio Olympics. Picture by Peter Nixon

Both disqualifications came under the FEI jumping rules article 242.3.1, which states:

3. Mandatory Disqualification
3.1 Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)

The disqualification marks the end of Nicola’s campaign, as riders competing as individuals only qualify through to the next round on Tuesday (16 August) if they are placed in the top 60 (out of 75 starters today).

The FEI has confirmed to H&H that the Dutch rider Jur Vrieling is permitted to ride as part of his team in the next round despite today’s disqualification.

Continued below…


Related articles:


Full 20-page report from the Olympic showjumping in Rio in the issue of H&H published Thursday, 25 August, including full analysis of every round of the competition and expert comment from Geoff Billington.