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Ukraine narrows Olympic alternatives following Schockemöhle-purchase

Monday, 11 July 2016

Ukraine has shortened their Olympic long-list considerably after Alexander Onischenko’s sale of over forty horses to Paul Schockemöhle.

Last week, Schockemöhle confirmed that he had bought no less than 44 horses from Alexander Onischenko – owner of a majority of the horses on the Ukrainian long list – which again brought speculation as to whether Ukraine would be able to send a team to Rio in August.

Onischenko himself, has as reported been accused of involvement in a large scale corruption case in Ukraine. With his immunity as MP in Ukraine lifted, Onischenko now risks to be arrested.

Ukraine originally listed thirteen horse-and-rider combinations on the long list for the Olympic Games. All horses were owned or co-owned by Onischenko.

Two of these thirteen horses were listed with Onischenko as their rider: Calcourt Falklund and Carlina. Calcourt Falklund was up until today owned by Onischenko himself, but the ownership in the FEI data base has been changed on this very date to Paul Schockemöhle Pferdehaltung GmbH. As per today, Onischenko’s second listing for the Games – Carlina – remains in his ownership however and hence under the Ukrainian flag.

Air Chin Z, Dinero de Laubry, Gabbiano 11, Quickdiamond and Forlap – all originally on the Ukrainian long list – have also changed ownership to Paul Schockemöhle Pferdehaltung GmbH, which rules them out of the Olympics.  

Although narrowing their choices considerably it seems like the Ukrainian team’s Olympic participation no longer is in danger. Even without Onischenko, his riders Cassio Rivetti, Rene Tebbel, Ulrich Kirchoff and Ferenc Szentirmai would still be able to make out a team of four. Their remaining Olympic prospects may not be in Onischenko’s ownership anymore, such as Fine Fleur du Marais, Zipper, Cooper 75, Prince de la Mare and Chaccland – but the horses stay registered under Ukrainian nationality with their respective riders now as new co-owners next to Paul Schockemöhle Pferdehaltung GmbH. Also Chadino remains an Olympic candidate for Ukraine, as Szentirmai is now listed as new co-owner of the horse instead of Onischenko.

Following the sale to Paul Schockemöhle, staying under Ukrainian ownership was vital for the horses’ participation at the Olympic Games under the FEI rules and although the long list is considerably shortened it looks like Ukraine will be able to field a team after all.

The so-called ‘Horse Nationality Rule’ – found in the FEI Regulations for Rio 2016 article 620.3 – reads as follows:

“Horses entered for the Olympic Games must be the property of Owners of the same nationality as the Athlete by 31st December of the year preceding the Games.

For the 2016 Olympic Games the relevant date is 15 January 2016.”

In an update send from the FEI to all National Federations on 13 January 2016, two days prior to the 15 January 2016-deadline, it is stated that:

“If the nationality of the Horse is changed between 15th January 2016 and Rio 2016 the Horse will not be eligible to compete at Rio 2016 (instead Owners can be changed but the nationality of the Horse must be maintained after 15th January 2016 in order to be eligible for participation at Rio 2016).”

and furthermore:

“The Horse may be owned by individual(s) and/or company(ies) and/or by a partnership of individual(s) and/or company(ies).”


Text © World of Showjumping // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson

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