What happened at Olympia last night can be described as nothing but close to a scandal. Following the CSI5* Olympia Grand Prix, that took place during the evening session at the London event, Ireland’s Bertram Allen was disqualified by the Ground Jury after winning the class on Quiet Easy. The Irish rider produced a jump-off that was nearly two seconds faster than that of Michael Whitaker, that went on to be announced as the new number one instead.
The Ground Jury justified its disqualification under Article 242.3.1 of the FEI Jumping Rules. During the mandatory post-competition boot and bandage control a FEI steward reported to the Ground Jury that Allen’s horse, Quiet Easy, had blood on the offside right flank.
The FEI Jumping Rules Article 242.3.1 state that mandatory disqualification should take place for: “Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse”.
A picture of the claimed cut that caused the disqualification was afterwards posted on Facebook by Bertram Allen’s groom (see photo below), writing “Good to see Quiet Easy is still alive after loosing 0,0000001ml of blood and 0,01mm of his skin tonight. If that is Fair Sport how will you be able to compete with a chestnut or thin skinned horse?”
Competitors such as Ludger Beerbaum and Michael Whitaker, both supported Bertram. According to the magazine Horse and Hound, Whitaker “could barely see a mark” on the horse. Beerbaum said to the British magazine; “I had to put my glasses on to see where the tiny mark was”. Whitaker even went to Allen to give the Irish rider the winner's ribbon afterwards. Allen himself was of course devastated.
According to a statement from the organizers of the show, an appeal was lodged by Ms Mhairi Alexander who had been appointed by the rider and Mrs. E. Phillips, the horse owner, to speak on their behalf. The Appeal Committee heard from the Ground Jury, the FEI Steward and the appointed representative of the rider.
The Appeal Committee upheld the decision of the Ground Jury that Bertram Allen was correctly disqualified from the competition.
It is not the first time a controversial disqualification such as this takes place at a British event; the same happened to Hansi Dreher during the Longines Global Champions Tour in London in 2014.
Text © World of Showjumping // Sources: Statement from The London International Horse Show Olympia and Horse & Hound.co.uk
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