Bad news in Olympic Show Jumping-land yesterday: One of the Canadians, Tiffany Foster, was disqualified when her horse was deemed “hypersensitive” just above his left front hoof. According to this press release from the FEI, “There was no accusation of malpractice, but the horse was deemed unfit to compete by the Ground Jury”.
From this article on ProEquest, “The observation was made that Victor was hypersensitive in the area around a small cut near his coronary band. FEI vets used a combination of clinical exam and thermography to find enough sensitivity near the area to deem Victor unfit to compete.”
And yet, from the same article, teammate Eric Lamaze stated, “This horse was exercised in the morning, jumped in the morning, was fit to compete“.
Let me try and wrap my head around this: A horse that shows sensitivity at being poked in the coronet band, but who was sound during warm up (flat and jumping), was not permitted to compete. However, a dressage rider who warms up in what is clearly rollkur (and is known to abuse the banned practice, as seen here during warmup prior to a competition in 2009) is good to go? What the fuck FEI?
Again from ProEquest, “FEI Foreign Veterinary Delegate Kent Allen was on hand to defend the FEI’s decision. He confirmed that 86 Olympic horses were monitored on the first day of the competition, and 70 were monitored the second day, and Victor was the only horse found to have abnormally excessive evidence of hypersensitivity.”
“The equine Olympic athlete is the most closely monitored athlete at the Olympic Games, and the FEI’s mandate is for the welfare of the horse and the well being of the horse,” Allen stated.”
Oh, really? Where were these “monitors” during Patrik Kittel’s warmup?
What bureaucratic, political bullshit is going on here? A dressage competitor is allowed to use rollkur and a show jumper is disqualified for a small cut? Where were these vets during Kittel’s, now infamous, warmup ride?
Photos seem to be by Julia Rau of St. Georg (Dressage magazine)
Yup, that’s how ol’ Pat rolls and the Olympic stewards and FEI are a-ok with it! Kittel, by the way, maintains his innocence – check out this article from Epona.
I CANNOT believe they dashed someone’s Olympic dreams over a minor cut. Show me an open gash and it’s a different story. Of course a horse is going to be sensitive when you poke a small cut – but that doesn’t mean the horse isn’t competition sound (and, to my way of thinking, competition sound should be held to higher standards than everyday riding). If the horse trots out fine, why disqualify it? I realize this disqualification took place in the stall but if something is found to be amiss in the stall, wouldn’t you take the horse out for further investigation? Or is there no place for logic here? You know, this isn’t the freakin TWH Celebration. You’re not looking for soring agents that are going to make the horse perform Big Lick-type movement!
On a completely separate note, I have a hard time believing that “the FEI’s mandate is for the welfare of the horse and the well being of the horse” as Allen said, after watching this video from EponaTV that clearly shows a steward harassing a journalist videotaping a dressage warmup. All at the request of some riders because it’s “making them uncomfortable”. I’m sure most criminals are uncomfortable with their actions being videotaped as well. No, that video isn’t from the Olympics, but from all that has gone on at the Olympics so far I sincerely doubt their attitudes have changed much.
If you would care to join many, many others attempting to communicate to the FEI the fact that they’re not living up to their mission statement, please check out their Facebook page.