An early version of this story erroneously published an image of another Olympic showjumper, not Richard Fellers. That was in error. That showjumper has no connection to Mr. Fellers or the allegations made against him. Horse & Hound regrets the error.
US Olympic showjumper Rich Fellers and his wife Shelley have been named on the US Center for SafeSport suspension list.
The Oregon-based couple have both been temporarily suspended for “allegations of misconduct” pending the outcome of a formal investigation and final decision. It is understood the allegations relate to Rich’s former pupil 18-year-old Maggie Kehring.
Maggie, who is now based with Darragh Kenny and Hardin Towell at Oakland Stables, Wellington, Florida, issued a statement on 10 February stating that her new trainers have provided her with a “safe place to train and grow as a rider”.
“While I understand everyone wants to discuss and speculate about my previous trainer and the circumstances under which I departed, please don’t,” she said.
“I would appreciate everyone allowing me my privacy. At this point I have participated in the process that was available to me, answered the questions asked by the US Center for SafeSport, and I am moving forward and focusing on my riding and the wonderful opportunities in front of me.”
In an additional statement on the same day, Maggie claimed the investigation had been under way for many months, adding that she did not want to participate in the US Center for SafeSport process out of “confusion and fear”.
Maggie’s lawyer Russ Prince said: “This investigation started because of the legitimate concern shown by other members of US Equestrian (USEF) for Ms Kehring’s wellbeing. The investigation has been conducted over the last six or so months and Ms Kehring has only recently spoken with the US Center for SafeSport,” he said.
“Ironically Ms Kehring is now being criticised for stepping forward publicly, when the entirety of the equestrian community have been whispering about the underlying issues and allegations for months. Ms Kehring spoke up in an effort to end the constant rumour and innuendo mill she has been subjected to, and she was going to be criticised no matter the path she took.
“I assure you that while Ms Kehring may have been a victim, she is not going to allow herself to continue to be victimised by anyone. I applaud her for the strength, courage, and perseverance she has already shown. Hopefully, the public will allow her some peace and privacy to get through this difficult time.”
Rich and Shelley Fellers did not respond to H&H for comment.
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A USEF spokesman told H&H: “USEF takes allegations of misconduct very seriously, and will enforce the temporary suspensions put in place by the US Center for Safe Sport, but, most importantly, respect the privacy and confidentiality of the process for all parties involved.”
A spokesman for the US Center for SafeSport told H&H the organisation does not discuss matters, in order to protect the integrity of the process.
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