Dutch international dressage rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees has received a yellow card from the FEI for “incorrect behaviour” at last month’s CHIO Aachen.
Madeleine, who was selected for the Dutch World Equestrian Games (WEG) team last week with Cennin, was riding the 11-year-old KWPN stallion Charmeur, by Florencio, in the public training arenas at Aachen when a dispute broke out between two stewards and Madeleine’s husband
Nico Witte and trainer Anky van Grunsven. It resulted in FEI steward Jacques van Daele givingMadeleine a yellow card for misconduct as, being the rider, she is deemed the person responsible.
Nico, who owns Witte stud in the Netherlands, told H&H he had been walking Charmeur earlier that day with a small whip in hand, when he was told by a steward that it was not allowed, which he argued.
“I explained that it’s a stallion and if I had to put the whip down she can try to walk him, which was stupid of me, but I have been handling stallions for over 35 years,” Nico told H&H.
“She wrote down Charmeur’s number, then when Madeleine started riding him in the afternoon there was a prize giving [in the main arena] and Charmeur was upset and scared, with a lot of tension. Madeleine was scared as well. Because of that he started sweating within 15 minutes — it was also 32 degrees. The steward started saying the sweat was not normal.
“Myself and Anky van Grunsven tried to explain and told the steward she didn’t know a lot about horses. That’s why Madeleine got a yellow card — not for her riding.
“Madeleine is super sweet with her horses, putting in a lot of effort for their welfare.”
Madeleine told horses.nl: “This will never happen again. Charmeur was very excited from the applause in the stadium. He terribly went about, but of course that is not being shown on the video. I was really scared. Next time I will get off straight away and lunge him.”
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Madeleine, 45, competed on the Dutch team at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, finishing eighth individually with the Vivaldi stallion Cennin. The pair were sixth at the World Cup final in Paris earlier this year, and also competed at the London Olympia leg of the World Cup season, where they were third in the grand prix and fourth in the freestyle.
Charmeur is in his first season of big tour, having made his grand prix debut at Rotterdam in June. He and Madeleine finished 21st in the CDI4*grand prix at Aachen, with 67.2%, the day before the yellow card was awarded.
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