The Fédération Equestre Internationale is speaking about the disqualification of Victor, one of Canada’s show jumpers. It comes after a flood of opposing statements regarding the incident.
FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos spoke publicly for the first time about the disqualified under the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol shortly before the Olympic team competition in London. “Disqualification of an athlete will always spark speculation, but in the case of Tiffany Foster’s horse Victor the protocol established very clearly that this was an obvious case of hypersensitivity”, Ingmar De Vos said today. “This was a unanimous decision, supported by four highly qualified veterinarians who specialize in testing for hypersensitivity using a system that has been monitoring FEI competitions since 2005.”
Akaash Maharaj, Equine Canada’s former CEO said yesterday, “The regulations are absolutely legitimate. The FEI’s attempt to apply them to Foster’s situation was absurd.” He continued by saying, “The FEI Veterinary Commission did not even bother to take the horse out of its stall to examine it further or to test its movement for any signs of discomfort. There is no evidence that the horse itself was even aware of the scratch, other than when it was poked repeatedly.”
According to the FEI, Victor was disqualified under the FEI hypersensitivity protocol due to an area of clear and obvious hypersensitivity on the front of the coronary band on the left forelimb. The FEI Veterinary Commission stated that the horse had an area of inflammation and excessive sensitivity on the left forelimb and was deemed unfit to compete by the Ground Jury.
A protest lodged by the Canadian chef d’equipe was heard by the FEI Appeal Committee and was denied based on Annex XI of the FEI Veterinary Regulations, which state “there is no appeal against the decision of the Ground Jury to disqualify a horse for abnormal sensitivity from an Event.” The FEI General Regulations also clearly state that there is no appeal against an elimination of a horse for veterinary reasons.
Maharaj says, “This is more than a struggle for the future of equestrian sport. This is a battle for the values, the honor, and the very soul of our country’s national sporting system.”
Top show jumper and Foster’s coach, Eric Lamaze, was critical of a statement originally released by Equine Canada president Michael Gallagher. The statement was re-released with a clarification yesterday.