Victor, ridden by Canadian rider Tiffany Foster, will take no further part in the equestrian events at London 2012. The horse has according to FEI been disqualified under the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol due to an area of clear and obvious hypersensitivity on the front of the left forelimb. A protest was lodged by the Canadian chef d’equipe and was heard by the FEI Appeal Committee before the end of the competition, however the protest was denied. A press conference with Princess Haya, president of the FEI, Tiffany Foster, Eric Lamaze and FEI Foreign Veterinary Delegate Kent Allen has just been held at Greenwich Park.
“I do want to be very clear with you, it is absolutely no accusation what so ever of malpractice. We have this rule for the welfare of the horse. I totally sympathize with what Tiffany is going through,” Princess Haya said at the press conference. “We are here to stand beside Tiffany and we are very grateful for her to be here,” Princess Haya added later as Foster was clearly very upset and cried through the entire press conference.
Tiffany Foster – who was not present when the horse was examined – said through her tears; “I just want to say that I would never do anything to jeopardize the welfare of my horse. What happened today is very disappointing. I feel really bad for my team and this is my first Olympics.”
Kent Allen told the press that 86 horses where monitored the first day and 70 horses today. “Victor was the only horse that showed any signs of hypersensitivity. He was too sensitive on this spot [on the front of the left forelimb] to compete. He could have gotten this wound in the stable or by hitting a pole so it is really no signs of malpractice,” Allen said. “We did a clinical exam and a dermalogical exam and Victor was the only horse that reacted,” he added.
Eric Lamaze also commented on the disqualification; “This is a complete miscarriage of justice. The horse exercised this morning and was fit to jump. It was a simple injury that would not have put the horse in danger. He is in the stable and in perfect shape. I am ashamed of my sport today and to put someone like Tiffany through this. Tiffany can hold her head up high, she did absolutely nothing wrong. The only sensible part of that horse is that spot that six persons have been poking on!”
Kent Allen went on to say that there is no evidence of wrong doing. “The hypersensitivity control exists because the people in the sport wanted it to protect the horses. The horse was too sensitive in this spot and in that point the horse is unfit to compete. It [the decision] is for the welfare of the horse.”
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