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Controversial derby round at Spruce Meadows subject of FEI attention

Monday, 15 July 2019

Illustration photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Illustration photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

American rider Andrew Kocher’s derby round with the 10-year-old gelding Carollo at Spruce Meadows on Sunday 7th of July, has been brought to the FEI's attention. On Saturday 6th of July, Kocher and Carollo won the 1.60m ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup – besting a field of 39 other horse-and-rider combinations after three tough rounds of competition. The following day, Carollo went on to jump the 1.45m derby where he finished on a score of 28 faults. 

Roy Wilten – a FEI-registered former owner of Carollo – reacted on Kocher’s derby round. On the 12th of July, Wilten posted the following statement to his Facebook page, alongside a video of Kocher’s derby round and additional social media posts from Kocher’s team: 

Wilten’s post quickly spread and has by now reached 2.4k shares as well as receiving 1.5k comments – most of which are not in Kocher’s favour. 

Kocher himself, has posted the following to his Facebook page

“Some great horse and rider combinations won both the QE II and the Spruce Meadows Derby in the same weekend, and Carrollo and I gave it a try, but it was not to be. Carollo had never jumped those kind of fences before, and in hindsight I should have pulled him up when I felt some anxiousness from him, but I always try to complete the course both to give a horse experience and as a sportsman. Carollo jumped on as the fighter he is. There’s no doubting that after his big win on Saturday! I apologize to the owners and previous owners of Carollo for making an entry mistake. 

As a precaution, I had Carollo fully examined by a vet, and all is well. He’ll get a well deserved rest now until his next competition, and I’m looking forward to what he can accomplish next! Thank you to my owners and team for making all of this possible.”

When contacted by World of Showjumping about the incident, the FEI gave the following statement: 

“We are looking into this matter and, while we are waiting to receive the official reports from the Foreign Judge and the Foreign Veterinary Delegate, we have proactively contacted the Officials from the event. We are also in touch with the athlete’s National Federation.”



* According to the FEI Jumping Rules on the Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse article 2, that regulates ‘Fitness to compete’, “Participation in Competition must be restricted to fit Horses and Athletes of proven competence.” Furthermore, “No Horse deemed unfit to compete may compete or continue to compete, veterinary advice must be sought whenever there is any doubt.” 

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