READ YESTERDAY’S BLOG POST: Embarrasing for the equestrian world, extremely painful for the horse
The FEI is finally speaking out about the incident in Gothenburg, where a horse was punished after he fell. The FEI wrote this on their Facebook page last evening:
«Thank you for your message. The FEI is looking into the full circumstances of the incident in which the French horse Vagabond de la Pomme stumbled very badly prior to the first round of Monday’s competition and the rider, Penelope Leprevost, reacted very roughly. The FEI Steward on duty in the warm-up reported the incident to the FEI and also to the FEI Chief Steward.
The French team vet also saw the horse stumbling, but felt that the horse was fine to go into the arena. Vagabond de la Pomme was clear in the first round, and was given a thorough check over in the stables afterwards by the French Team vet, who reported that the horse was perfectly fine.
Horse welfare is central to everything the FEI does, and is also a priority for both the Swedish National Federation and the organising committee of the Gothenburg Horse Show. The FEI’s Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse is in place to ensure that horse welfare is protected at all FEI events.»
First of all – it is good that they are looking into the case. But even if the horse was fine from the veterinary’s perspective, the rider should not been allowed to compete, at all! The horse was definitely not “perfectly fine” treated, and riders using violence and punishment during the warmup, should in my opinion be banned from the competition. The horse experienced a large amount of pain when it was being kicked and pulled in the mouth multiple times, and even though she did not manage to do any visible damage, that kind of behavior towards animals is not acceptable in our sport. Both the Swedish Law on animal welfare forbids it, FEI’s own rules forbids it, and in a moral perspective, it is certainly not okay.
I hope the FEI, The Swedish International Federation and the organizers behind GHS will agree that this kind of behavior towards an innocent animal, is not, and will never be tolerated in our sport. The “Code of Conduct” is not worth anything if it can’t prevent a rider who abuses her horse on live TV to get away with it without any consequences.