Showjumper banned for five years after ‘damaging sport’s reputation’

  • The Austrian showjumper whose riding caused a “black day for horse sport” last summer has been banned from “all equestrian events” for five years.

    Bernhard Maier, whose round on Paddys Darco at a one-star show in June 2017 was filmed and widely shared online, is forbidden to enter any events until December 2022, whether as a rider, spectator or coach. He was also fined €5,000 (£4,400).

    The matter was investigated by the criminal division of the federation, which came to its verdict on 18 January.

    In a statement, the federation said Bernhard had shown “unsportsmanlike behaviour”, threats to third parties and “overburdening” his horse, as well as “damaging the reputation of equestrian sports”.

    The punishment was not only for the show in June, the federation clarified, as there had been a negative response to his riding last March, as well as arguments at shows.

    A report to which the federation’s statement directs online readers states that his “list of offences was long” and that “accordingly, there was a lot to consider for the criminal division of the Austrian equestrian federation, before it came to the verdict”.

    The original clip of Bernhard’s round on the then 10-year-old gelding was viewed more than a million times online and widely condemned on social media.

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    In it, the 56-year-old rider can be seen appearing to try to check his horse, who has a number of fences down and is eventually eliminated.

    At the time, the Austrian federation released a statement entitled “A black day for horse sport!” which added that the footage of the “pitiable” horse shared on social media was a “shame for the sport”.

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