The Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) is suing the former owner of Eremo Del Castegno for selling the horse to Brazil before the upcoming Olympics.
FISE has started legal action against Dr Enzo Truppa’s Monferrato equestrian centre, claiming the sale was in breach of contract.
H&H reported in 2012 that FISE had renewed a 2010 agreement with Enzo that Italy’s top Grand Prix horse would be retained for the country until the Rio Games.
The federation gave Enzo 70,000 euros per year for securing the horse, which Enzo’s daughter Valentina competed for Italy in two European championships and the London Olympics.
But in January 2016, the 15-year-old gelding was sold to millionaire Jorge Ferreira Da Rocha, a 70-year-old rider, sponsor and long-term investor in dressage in Brazil, who aims to qualify for his home Games.
The news of FISE’s decision to sue came on Valentina’s 30th birthday on 18 March, hours before she competed in Valencia with Fixdesign Chablis.
Enzo reportedly said he was surprised by the legal action.
He told Italian media: “This [decision to sue] follows a large email exchange which took place with FISE the past two months, in which we tried in vain to explain our reasons for sale and to demonstrate our good faith.
“We regret to see that the federation feels more inclined to drag us to court than to rejoice in the Olympic qualification which Valentina achieved for Italy.”
- Grand prix dressage horse sold to Brazil
- BD gives ‘bling’riding boots the thumbs-up
- Beginners’ guide to Olympic dressage at Rio 2016
Valentina qualified for Rio with Eremo Del Castegno, but as the slot is assigned to Italy, FISE can decide who to send, based on riders’ performance.
When contacted by H&H, Enzo declined to comment further.
He added: “I can only state that my lawyers are highly confident on a positive result of the eventual legal case.”