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Top rider under investigation over electric spur allegations

A showjumper under investigation by the FEI over allegations of electric spur use said he is “devastated” by the accusation.

The FEI has confirmed to H&H that its legal department told US rider Andy Kocher an investigation had been opened, in response to public allegations of his using electric spurs, reported to the equestrian community integrity unit.

“The athlete has been offered the opportunity to respond to the allegations,” an FEI spokesman said.

Andy confirmed he had been contacted by the FEI over the horse abuse allegations.

“I was devastated to receive this letter,” he said.

“I know who has brought these allegations against me, and sadly that person is improperly using these important horse welfare protections to gain an advantage over me in a private dispute.

“I love my horses and would never do anything to sacrifice their welfare. However, I will participate in the FEI process and defend against these allegations, so that the real story behind them ultimately emerges.”

The FEI said it “absolutely condemns any form of horse abuse, and specifically legislates against the use of any electrical device with a live electric current on a horse”.

FEI rules state that subjecting a horse to any kind of electric shock device is considered abuse.

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“The FEI has the right to open a disciplinary case against a person or persons for any alleged breach of the FEI rules and regulations and/or any of the offences listed in Article 164.12, including horse abuse,” the spokesman said.

“We understand that in some quarters there may be a perception that things are going too slowly, but the judicial process is something that cannot be hurried, as due process – including the right to be heard – has to be upheld. The FEI is thoroughly investigating these allegations and will always prosecute a case to the fullest extent possible provided sufficient irrefutable evidence is forthcoming.”

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