The International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) has admitted that US showjumper McLain Ward’s horse was “incorrectly eliminated” from the FEI World Cup final.
Mr Ward has said he is satisified with the decision and welcomed news that the protocol used to disqualify his mount, Sapphire, had been revised (see below).
The prize-money and points Mr Ward won in the event’s second round will be restored to him.
The ground jury eliminated Sapphire, who was leading after the second round of the 2010 final in Geneva, Switzerland, after vets claimed the horse showed signs of hypersensitivity.
Drug tests and swabs were later found to be negative and Mr Ward filed an appeal/protest with the FEI.
New guidelines issued
Following this case, the FEI has provided further clarification of the rules surrounding the examination of horses’ legs for potential hypersensitivity and the disqualification process that would follow a positive result.
The new guidelines state that all horses tested for hypersensitivity will continue to undergo a thermographic examination as part of the evaluation process.
It also states that no horse can be eliminated from a competition for hypersensitivity after the competition has taken place.
It clarifies that the rider (person responsible) for a horse that is disqualified for hypersensitivity will receive a written description of the examination process and the rights of the person responsible under the circumstances.
If a horse is disqualified more than 12hrs before a competition, the rider may submit a written request to the ground jury for the horse to be re-examined. The horse will then be re-examined on the day of the competition.
If the horse is not showing signs of hypersensitivity, then it will be allowed to compete, but remains eligible for examination for signs of hypersensitivity throughout the entire competition.
The new guidelines are effective immediately.