“Malicious, unfounded gossip” is how the mother at the centre of a pony identity investigation has described the situation.

British Showjumping (BS) is investigating whether Cisco Bay II, ridden by Faye Adams from the West Midlands, is in fact Graham Gillespie’s former ride Smirnoff Des Bruyeres.

It follows an official complaint by an unnamed rider.

Cisco Bay, owned by Sarah Billings, qualified for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) newcomers and Foxhunter at Field House EC, Staffs (19-20 May).

Faye’s mother Julie feels this was the spur for the complaint.

“There is a lot of nastiness in showjumping and as soon as you start to do any good, people want to knock you down,” said Mrs Adams.

“They wanted to get Faye disqualified from HOYS – it’s been a blooming nuisance.”

Cisco Bay was DNA tested by BS at the end of June and Mrs Adams said the test proved the gelding is not Smirnoff Des Bruyeres.

“They are both bay geldings with four legs – that’s the only similarity,” she said.

BS said its investigation is ongoing and will be resolved before HOYS.

Cisco Bay is registered with BS as an eight-year-old bay gelding. He started affiliated showjumping in October 2011, at newcomers with Faye.

Smirnoff Des Bruyeres is a 10-year-old bay gelding who finished second in the JC final at the Royal International (RIHS) and qualified for the HOYS Foxhunter final in 2009 with Graham Gillespie.

He was sold in 2010 to Gary Frew, whose daughter Katrina Frew took over the ride and qualified for the JC final at the RIHS that year.

Smirnoff Des Bruyeres was called for remeasurement in October 2010, but was not presented and his height certificate was removed by the Joint Measurement Board.

The pony does not appear to have competed in affiliated showjumping since.

If Cisco Bay and Smirnoff Des Bruyeres had been one and the same pony, Faye would not have been eligible to ride him in newcomers or Foxhunter qualifiers.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (16 August 2012)