‘A moment of frustration’: man banned for rapping says it was ‘one-off’ mistake

  • A man who was banned for rapping a horse in the warm-up of a British Showjumping (BS) show said it was a “moment of frustration”.

    The BS disciplinary panel ruled that Ivan Kendle, of Foulsham, Norfolk, had breached three BS rules when he attended an event at Keysoe International with a horse and rider last August.

    “Mr Kendle was in the collecting ring and positioned beside an upright warm-up fence, when he lifted the top pole of the fence and threw it upwards, shouting ‘get up’, and hit or rapped the horse’s front legs as it jumped the fence,” a BS spokesman said.

    “The disciplinary panel decided that Mr Kendle should be severely reprimanded and warned as to his future conduct, fined a sum of £1,000, and suspended for a period of six months (until 27 February 2022) from all rights and privileges of membership of British Showjumping, with a suspension for a further period of 18 months (until 27 August 2023) suspended on condition that he is not found in breach of British Showjumping rules during the next 18 months (namely until 13 July 2023).

    “The panel also directed Mr Kendle to attend an education day, at his own cost, in respect of appropriate training methods for horses and horse welfare before 27 August 2023.”

    He also has to pay BS’s legal costs of £2,500 plus VAT.

    Ivan told H&H he accepts he made a mistake.

    “The warm-up was absolute chaos, and I just said ‘What’s the point?’,” he said. “We’d spent months getting that horse calm in the warm-up, then there were [more horses in there than there should have been] and a top rider nearly crashed into my daughter.

    “I know that’s no excuse and I shouldn’t have done what I did but it was a sheer moment of frustration. I went and apologised and we went straight home.”

    Ivan added: “I didn’t intentionally do it to rap the horse. I did offer to show BS the CCTV on our arena at home, which is on it all the time because [rapping] isn’t something I do or agree with.”

    Ivan said he agrees the incident had to be dealt with, and with how BS dealt with it.

    “This isn’t something the rider has ever seen anything like before because it’s not something we do, just a sheer moment of frustration, in what was a disorganised warm-up,” he said.

    “I admit it was a mistake. My horses are treated like gold, I treat them very, very well, and everyone who knows us, knows that.”

    BS chief executive Iain Graham said: “As a national governing body for the sport we have a strict code of conduct that we expect our members to adhere to, particularly in relation to the welfare of the horse which is paramount. Behaviour such as this will not be tolerated in any form and it would be totally unacceptable for any member to think otherwise.”

    Keysoe International owner Sarah Stoute told H&H the centre has a strict policy of no more than eight horses in the warm-up, and that the incident was caught on CCTV.

    She added that the rider was “distraught”, and that she, Sarah, summoned the man to the office.

    “When he arrived I said ‘what on earth were you thinking?’” Sarah said.

    “He said it was a moment of madness and he wasn’t thinking. We asked them to leave immediately and they were eliminated by the judge as we had hard evidence.

    “Keysoe International does not condone any breach of horse or rider welfare. We promote kindness and equity to both horse and rider and expect all those on site to adhere to our code of conduct. We do hope this ban from BS is sufficient time for the gentleman to reflect on his actions and move forward in a positive way, as this poor behaviour has a wider impact on the equestrian community.

    “He needs to take full responsibility for his actions, which are clearly visible on our CCTV footage.”

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