WEG riders in the dock over deaths

  • Two endurance riders from Spain and Malaysia have been reported to the FEI’s judicial committee for abuse after the horses they were riding died while competing at the World Equestrian Games

    The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has put the two endurance riders whose horses died following the World Equestrian Games in the dock for their deaths.

    The riders, Anna Maxenchs Serra of Spain and Nik IsahakWan Abdullah of Malaysia, have both been reported to the judicial committee for abuse of the horse under article 143 of the federation’s regulations. Both riders were competing on borrowed horses Sir Fire and Floyd.

    Floyd was owned by the French rider Claude Derriaz. Floyd was taken off the course following the fourth loop, while Sir Fire died having completed the entire 100-mile ride.

    According to the FEI legal system, the “persons responsible” (the riders) will receive a copy of a report on the incident that has been compiled by the inquiry team and both have 10 days to send their written comments to the FEI.

    Both riders may request a hearing before the judicial committee once the judicial committee has reached a verdict, they have the option to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    The report for the judicial committee has just been finalised by the FEI enquiry team of Prof Leo Jeffcott, chairman of the veterinary committee, Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, chairman of the endurance committee and technical delegate at WEG, Frits Sluyter, head of the FEI veterinary department and Michael Stone, FEI sports director and head of the endurance discipline.

    The inquiry team’s report includes the vet cards which recorded the condition of each horse through the ride, reports by the treatment vets and the post-mortem. There are also observations by other officials including that of ground jury president at Jerez, Britain’s Carol Bunting.

    Following the deaths of the two horses, sweeping rule changes have been suggested by the inquiry team. These cover stewarding, the number of vet gates and distances between them, qualifications for horses and riders, monitoring during the course and the role and selection of officials. The proposals will be presented at the next FEI general assembly at the end of April 2003.

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