Thousands back Olympic rider after ‘complaint’ about him jumping wearing a mankini

  • Equestrian Australia (EA) has concluded its review of Olympic eventer Shane Rose’s wearing of a mankini in a fancy dress showjumping class – after thousands of riders came out in Shane’s support, and more mankinis may be seen next year.

    Yesterday (18 February) EA announced that it was reviewing Shane’s dress at the Wallaby Hill Equestrian Extravaganza on 11 February. Shane, who was on the Australian team that won silver at the 2021 Olympics, came into the ring in the eventers v showjumpers class three times, firstly dressed as himself, then as the Aussie team vet, then in the mankini.

    EA said yesterday “concerns had been raised” about the costume, adding: “As with any high performance athlete, Shane is bound by the high performance and Equestrian Australia codes of conduct and athlete agreement. Equestrian Australia has an obligation to address these concerns and is currently reviewing the matter.

    “To be clear, Shane has not been suspended or sanctioned. As is usual in these circumstances for all high performance athletes, he has been stood down from competition for several days while the review is carried out.”

    Over the weekend more than 15,700 people signed a petition in support of Shane; the petition stated that mankinis can be seen on “many an Aussie beach”, and the Sydney Mardi Gras celebrations.

    “He brought entertainment and interest to the class and he made people smile. This was the purpose of the event,” the petition states. “Sadly someone complained, and now Equestrian Australia has suspended Shane, impacting his preparations for the Paris Olympics.”

    Shane had posted on social media to say EA had told him “a complaint” had been made, and that the aim had been “light-hearted entertainment” for spectators. He apologised to anyone who was offended and said he would no longer take part in any such competitions to avoid any similar situations.

    EA said its review should take “no more than a matter of days”, and today’s statement said the review had concluded, having found that Shane had not breached the code of conduct.

    EA CEO Darren Gocher said: “Equestrian Australia has an obligation to look into any concerns of this nature that comes from the community.

    “Having now thoroughly reviewed the incident and spoken to relevant parties, Equestrian Australia has confirmed that there was no breach of the code of conduct by Shane Rose.

    “We take the recommendations on board and will move quickly to ensure the relevant actions are taken. Our sport is made up of wonderful individuals and we have plenty to look forward to in the year ahead.

    “Shane has reflected on the incident, has apologised and understands the high standards expected of everyone involved in our high performance program. With the matter now resolved, Shane and his teammates are now looking forward to continuing to focus their attention on qualifying for Paris.”

    The recommendations had included that EA should work with clubs and stakeholders to “assess minimum dress standards”.

    Shane said today: “Big thank you to everyone for your support. I’m pleased that the Equestrian Australian review has been completed and I have been reinstated and allowed to continue my campaign towards the Paris Olympic Games. The support and interest in this story has been like nothing I have experienced before.

    “Now it is time to focus on the job ahead and try to get Australian Equestrian in the media for a more positive reason, an Olympic gold medal. Thanks again the support has been huge and much appreciated.”

    Yesterday, Wallaby Hill shared a letter from its major sponsor Bowral Kubota, which wanted to show its support for the “amazing event”, and Shane Rose’s commitment to it.

    “Next year at the Wallaby Hill extravaganza, to embrace Shane’s sense of humour, we will be donating a mankini to all spectators,” director Chris Pennells wrote. “And to support men’s health, we will be donating $100 for each spectator who has a sense of humour and tries to outdo Shane.

    “I hope all spectators get behind this amazing event and represents the #RosePoseMankini at next year’s extravaganza.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...