In a dramatic conclusion to the class last night (Monday, 21 December) Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy, owned by Quainton Stud, were disqualified after blood was found on the horse’s offside flank.
The chestnut sped round in 30.45sec for the 20-year-old Irish rider.
Under FEI rules elimination is mandatory for blood on the flank.
The combination was disqualified by the ground jury under article 242.3.1 of the FEI jumping rules.
The blood was found by the FEI steward tasked with the mandatory post-competition boot and bandage control
Mhairi Alexander, who had been appointed by Bertram and Emma Phillips of Quainton Stud to speak on their behalf, lodged an appeal.
However, after hearing from the ground jury, the FEI steward and the appointed representative of the rider, the appeal committee upheld the decision of the ground jury that Bertram was correctly disqualified.
Michael and Viking were left to collect the spoils, finishing on 32.05s.
Bertram said he was “utterly devastated” to have been disqualified.
“I’m just speechless,” he said. “I have a fantastic relationship with all of my horses and their welfare is paramount. My foot must have slipped against Quiet Easy’s side as I was riding against the clock. He’s a sensitive horse and it was just a tiny nick.”
Michael added that it was a “bittersweet victory”.
“This class belonged to Bertram — I was second. I saw his horse when he came out of the arena and could barely see a mark on him.”
A further controversy
It was the second controversy of the day at the London International Horse Show, after Norwegian rider Victoria Gulliksen was denied the number one spot and disqualified from the international six-bar competition.
She had entered the class when the rules had specifically stated that she could not do so and was only invited to take part in the puissance.
“Sadly there was a mistake, on my part, as I genuinely thought my national federation had received permission for me to enter the six-bar,” she said.
The ground jury of the show spotted the error but too late to take action.
For a full report on Olympia, don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H, out Thursday 24 December.