British show jumper David McPherson has hit back against the South African National Equestrian Federation’s decision to name him in association with allegations of horse abuse at the South African Derby meeting last month.
“As I understand it people are innocent of a crime until they are proven guilty, but in this situation it doesn’t seem to be the case,” he told HHO.
The news that he was no longer welcome to compete at competitions in South Africa came totally out of the blue for the South African-born rider, as according to David, no-one from the country’s federation has been in contact with him.
“When the circular which named me and announced the ban was issued, the allegations had not been investigated by the federation’s judicial committee, so how can they ban me when they haven’t even tried to find out if the allegations are true? They have not followed any recognised disciplinary procedures what so ever,” he says.
David believes the owner of the horse he was riding at the meeting is responsible for the allegations.
“The owner called me the day after the event to let me know that the horse had filled legs. I asked for my vet to attend the horse but the owner refused. Three stewards were in the warm-up area throughout the show and nobody spoke to me about the horse’s way of going at the time.”
David intends to wait for the BSJA to complete its own investigation into the allegations, which he believes will exonerate him from any wrong doing, before issuing a libel action against the South Africa federation.
“The harm these allegations could do to my good name as a rider and dealer is immense,” he says. “I intend to prove that these libellous claims are completely untrue and will pursue the South African Federation for damages.”