As expected, the FEI released a statement yesterday voicing their full support for the actions of the FEI officials at London Olympia.
"I have absolutely no doubt that the protocols regarding blood on the horse were followed correctly at London Olympia on Monday night," FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez unsurprisingly said after the disqualification of Bertram Allen.
In an attempt to meet the criticism against the officials, the Secretary General continued: "Of course this incident has created a considerable amount of discussion on social media because Bertram Allen would otherwise have won the Grand Prix, so there is a high level of sympathy for him, but the FEI Officials were in Olympia - as they are at every event run under FEI Rules - to ensure a fair and level playing field and that the welfare of the horse is protected.”
In the FEI statement Sabrina Ibáñez also comments on the interpretation of the rules: "Blood was found on the flank of Bertram Allen's horse and, under FEI Jumping Rules, that results in mandatory disqualification. The situation was reported to the Ground Jury by the FEI Steward who had conducted the normal post-competition check on the horse and Bertram Allen was then informed of his disqualification in person by the President of the Ground Jury and the Foreign Judge.”
"Let me be clear, disqualification under this rule does not imply that there was any intent to injure the horse, but it is crucial that the rules are enforced in order to ensure that horse welfare is protected."
"It is very easy for any sports official to be criticised when they are simply doing their job. Everything at Olympia was handled correctly and in accordance with the rules, but there is no doubt that it was an unfortunate end to a wonderful event."
Note from World of Showjumping.com
The FEI rule in question reads:
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 (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)”
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