Olympic rider and daughter ‘strongly deny’ allegations leading to provisional suspension

  • Canadian Olympic dressage rider Evi Strasser and her daughter Tanya Strasser-Shostak have been provisionally suspended by Equestrian Canada (EC) and the FEI.

    An EC spokesman confirmed to H&H that as of 17 February the pair have been provisionally suspended from all EC-related business, activities, and events pending the completion of an investigation.

    In a joint statement Evi and Tanya stated that an “unsupported allegation” was received by EC from a past employee of their business Good Tyme Stables who was “terminated several years ago for her unprofessional and improper conduct”.

    “Since 2018, that former employee, who claims to be a competitor of ours, has engaged in a campaign of libel and slander against us, requiring us to send two cease and desist letters to that person in 2020 and 2023,” read the statement.

    “Unfortunately, this person has now decided to escalate her attacks upon us, by making a complaint to EC for allegations arising in 2017. We strongly deny the allegations by this disgruntled ex-employee. We are defending this matter vigorously, through our legal counsel. As our friends and equestrian community members know, defending such allegations is a difficult and sometimes lengthy process. We appreciate the kind words of support we have received, and continue to receive, as we work through this difficult time.”

    Pictured Tanya Strasser-Shostak.

    The EC spokesman said that the governing body cannot comment specifically on cases currently open with the independent third party that handles EC complaints.

    “All allegations of misconduct are received through EC’s third-party complaints process. If EC receives a report from our independent third-party complaints manager regarding a complaint they have received that is serious in nature, the respondents are provisionally suspended,” said the spokesman.

    “To protect the integrity of the process, EC is not provided further details until it is complete and a decision is rendered.”

    The spokesman added that EC asks its community and the public to “support the complaints process and allow it to do its job in coming to a fair and expeditious resolution for all parties involved”.

    “Anyone that has witnessed or has reasonable grounds to believe that a human or horse is suffering or has suffered abuse in our sport, is obligated to report it and we encourage them to report their concerns,” said the spokesman.

    Evi represented Canada at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen. The 60-year-old continues to compete at top level, and on 9 February was ninth in the freestyle on her 16-year-old gelding Disney Tyme at a World Cup qualifier in Wellington, Florida. Tanya is also an international grand prix rider, and last year competed at the young horse World Championships in Ermelo, the Netherlands.

    An FEI spokesman told H&H that the FEI was informed of the provisional suspensions, and has implemented them at FEI level. H&H asked if the FEI is launching its own investigation and the spokesman said the FEI will “first liaise with EC”.

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