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FEI opens investigation into Andrew Kocher’s alleged use of electric spurs

Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Sport

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Andrew Kocher. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

The FEI Legal Department has notified Andrew Kocher that an investigation has been opened following allegations that the US rider has been using electric spurs on his horses. It was the French equestrian media outlet GRANDPRIX that broke the story last week, after they were contacted by an anonymous informant. GRANDPRIX received information that Kocher has been using a device that transfers electricity to the spurs, alongside a video which detailed the device’s functions. In a number of in-competition photos published on GRANDPRIX – as well as on other equestrian websites – Kocher is pictured with what could appear to be different elements of a device as described by the informant.

A statement from the FEI, reads as follows:

“The FEI Legal Department formally notified the US athlete Andy Kocher on 29 June 2020 that an investigation has been opened following allegations of him using electric spurs reported to the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU). The athlete has been offered the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

The FEI absolutely condemns any form of horse abuse, and specifically legislates against the use of any electrical device with a live electric current on a horse. The FEI General Regulations (GRs) state that subjecting a horse to any kind of electric shock device is considered as horse abuse. Article 142 of the GRs state: No person may abuse a Horse during an Event or at any other time. “Abuse” means an action or omission which causes or is likely to cause pain or unnecessary discomfort to a Horse, including, but not limited to: 

(ii) To subject a Horse to any kind of electric shock device;

The FEI has the right to open a disciplinary case against a person or persons for any alleged breach of the FEI Rules and Regulations and/or any of the offences listed in Article 164.12, including horse abuse. Sanctions for horse abuse range from a three-month suspension and a CHF 1,000 fine to suspension for life and a CHF 15,000 fine.

We understand that in some quarters there may be a perception that things are going too slowly, but the judicial process is something that cannot be hurried, as due process – including the right to be heard – has to be upheld. The FEI is thoroughly investigating these allegations and will always prosecute a case to the fullest extent possible provided sufficient irrefutable evidence is forthcoming.”

 

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