Top rider’s frustration as border paperwork error means horses turned back at Calais

  • Top British dressage rider Emile Faurie was frustrated when his intended ride for last month’s Opglabbeek CDI3* in Belgium (22-25 April) was denied entry to the EU.

    The double Olympian was entered for the event – one of Europe’s first major dressage shows this year – on his World Equestrian Games team bronze medallist Dono Di Maggio, but was forced to turn for home on reaching Calais owing to a paperwork mistake that had been made by the border control team in Dover.

    “The horses are in Swiss ownership and were travelling on Swiss carnets [an international customs document required since the UK left the EU]. All the paperwork was correct but the people in Dover had pulled out the wrong piece of paper in the carnet, and then once we got to Calais the French wouldn’t accept it,” Emile told H&H. “Even when we got the right paper scanned and sent over to them they wouldn’t accept it.”

    Travelling with Emile was his student, Greek grand prix rider and owner of Dono Di Maggio Theodora Livanos, who was due to compete in Belgium on her other horse, Robinvale. Both horses were travelling on the same lorry as Laura Tomlinson’s ride Fallatijn, whose paperwork did not incur issues and who was allowed to continue on to Belgium, while Emile had to arrange transport to get 14-year-old geldings Dono Di Maggio and Robinvale back home to Oxfordshire from Calais.

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    “This trip was more important for Theo than for me as she is trying to get her Olympic qualification to be able to ride in Tokyo as an individual,” Emile explained. “Luckily we still have Wellington CDI as an Olympic qualifier.

    “The situation was especially bad for the horses though – they were standing for ages on the lorry, and the people in Calais seemed totally inflexible and uncaring.

    “It’s madness that Brexit has caused things to change to such a dramatic extent. I don’t see the reasoning behind it; it’s politics playing games with people’s lives and not caring about the welfare of horses.”

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