As H&H magazine went to press, the FEI announced that a protest brought by former H&H editor Lucy Higginson and H&H contributor Pippa Cuckson (pictured) against the FEI for a ground jury’s handling of a horse abuse case in endurance has been successful.
The pair protested that the yellow card awarded to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa was an insufficient penalty for the abuse of his winning horse in the King’s Cup 120km endurance race at Sakhir, Bahrain earlier this year (8 February). The FEI Tribunal upheld the protest and ruled he should be disqualified.
Videos from the race caused an outcry on social media. The clips showed a groom leaping out of a following vehicle and beating the horse several times (news, 13 February). A second clip showed the rider lashing the horse with exceptionally long reins, against FEI rules.
After the video went viral the FEI reported that the Sheikh had been handed a yellow card for “abuse of the horse”.
This ruling could have large ramifications for the FEI’s yellow card procedure as it has overruled the ground-jury with the benefit of “hindsight”.
In May, the same rider received a further yellow card for abuse and was automatically suspended for two months.