British show jumper David McPherson has been banned from taking part in any future jumping competitions in South Africa following allegations of equine abuse, which are currently being investigated by the BSJA.
In a circular sent to South African National Equestrian Federation members, the federation says it received “numerous complaints, video tapes and photographs” following the South African Derby in Johannesburg last month, relating to the abuse of horses and involving a number of its own riders as well as David.
The federation has said it “will leave no stone unturned in order to deal with the guilty parties in the strongest terms” and has passed the complaints and supporting evidence relating to David to the BEF, which in turn has passed it on to the BSJA.
The BSJA would not confirm the details of the allegations but said that it is undertaking its own investigating at present and will pass the matter on to the stewards if necessary.
BSJA spokeswoman Jackie Knightly says: “Incidents like this are damaging for all concerned — for the sport, the rider and ultimately and most importantly, the horse. The BSJA does not condone anything that has a negative impact on horses’ welfare and will do our upmost to prevent it from happening.”
The BSJA is aware that, historically, there have been horse welfare issues relating to performance enhancement and believes it is mainly a commercial problem.
“The more money that is available, the more competitive people become and, in some unacceptable cases, it is the horses that suffer. This is not just applicable to show jumping, it is relevant to every sport,” explains Jackie.
The association has been extremely active in promoting equine welfare within show jumping, with initiatives introduced to stamp out unsuitable behaviour including the stipendiary stewards scheme.
“The stipendiary stewards are in the collecting rings at shows to ensure every horse competing is comfortable and able to enjoy the sport. They can advise members on issues such as biting and ill-fitting tack, and also have the power to check the inside of boots and bandages, to ensure the horse is comfortable.
“If, for example, any foreign objects were found inside a boot or bandage it would be viewed extremely seriously by the stewards.”
David McPherson has strongly denied the allegations. Click here to read his throughts.