‘The blood rule has to change’: top British rider disqualified

  • British showjumper Scott Brash and his team were disqualified from this weekend’s Global Champions League (GCL) as a result of an “almost invisible” spur mark.

    Scott and Hello Forever had jumped a “spectacular” winning round for team Miami Glory in Cascais yesterday (9 July), but were disqualified by the ground jury after a trace of blood was seen on the glove of the FEI steward who examined the horse.

    Miami Glory co-owner and rider Georgina Bloomberg described herself in an online statement as “the ultimate animal-lover and advocate”.

    “Every rider, steward and groom who saw Hello Forever’s side agreed that the mark was not an issue except the foreign judge who deferred to the president of the ground jury, Joao Bourbon,” she wrote. “Bourbon did not come to examine the mark up close, but observed it from afar.

    “He chose to make the call based on an almost invisible amount of blood on a glove after the steward, who originally examined the mark, rubbed it hard enough to make it bleed.

    “I am the first to stand up for an animal who is being mistreated. In this situation I can find absolutely no wrongdoing or abuse at all.

    “I am proud of my riders and their horses for the efforts they put in to win this competition, and look forward to others seeing this photo to clear Scott’s name from any idea of mistreatment to his horse.”

    It has been emphasised that Hello Forever is unharmed, and GCL co-founder Jan Tops was “reflecting the opinion of other riders” by saying it is well known “how much Scott cares for his horses”.

    “It was a shame what happened with Scott,” he added. “It’s a rule, but it’s a rule the FEI have to change. I know how much Scott looks after his horses, how great he is with his team of horses, and he didn’t deserve that at all. It’s a rule, but I think these things have to change.”

    An FEI spokesman said: “Disqualification under this rule does not imply that there was any intent to injure the horse, but the rule exists to protect horses competing in FEI events.

    “FEI officials work on-site at all FEI events and one of their roles is to ensure the FEI protocol regarding blood on the horse is respected. There is no doubt the FEI officials at Cascais handled the situation correctly and acted in full accordance with FEI jumping rules.”

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