Dutch Carriage in WEG Competition Sabotaged

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Slashed leather on Ijsbrand Chardon carriage. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Slashed leather on Ijsbrand Chardon's carriage. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Oct. 9–The four-in-hand driving carriage of Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands was vandalized–the Dutch are calling it “sabotage”–during the night and he had to delay starting in the marathon on the cross country course of the World Equestrian Games Saturday. The incident did not appear to affect their performance as he finished first in the marathon to stand second overall and the Netherlands took the lead in the team competition.

Kentucky State Police confirmed they are investigating the incident in which the leather pillows on the back of the carriage were slashed and by oil spilled on the carriage an attempt apparently was made to damage the braking system. The carriage was parked inside the same compound as the horses which were 50 yards (meters) from where the incident occurred.

Ijsbrand’s wife “got very emptional, very upset” about the incident and feared for the safety of the horses, said Martin van der Heijden, the Dutch Federation secretary general.

Ijsbrand later told dressage-news.com that one of his grooms had stayed with the horses the first night as is common at horse shows throughout the world, but KHP security officials ordered him to leave and he had not been allowed to stay with the horses since.

Lt. David Jude of the state police said that a complete police department was on site implementing a security plan that was two years in the making and in his view was 100 per cent capable of of handling anything that might happen at the site.

Dutch driver Koos de Ronde said that Ijsbrand’s carriage was covered with a tarpaulin inside a supposedly secure area of the Kentucky Horse Park after the driving dressage Friday.

Earlier Friday, the WEG organizers escorted some media on a tour of the operations center that included the security detail which includes 100 cameras covering the 1,200-acre (485ha) facility.

Lt. Jude said they were reviewing video tapes from security cameras.

He said that security involved roving patrols under the plans that included local, state and federal law enforcement.

A statement from the WEG said: “Due to problems with his carriage, Ijsbrand Chardon (NED) has been permitted a delayed start time for his Driving Marathon today. Following agreement from national chefs d’equipe, the Ground Jury has allowed Chardon’s original start time of 1:20 pm to be changed to 2:10 pm to allow his team to effect repairs to the carriage.”

After the dressage competition Friday, the Dutch driving team went to watch the night jumping class.

The vandalism was not discovered until drivers began preparing their carriages about two hours before their start time.

American jumping team reserve Candice King of Wellington, Florida, was teamed with Ijsbrand at a “ride and drive” competition at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, this summer.

Checking the Ijsbrand Chardon's horses and carriage during the marathon. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Checking the Ijsbrand Chardon's horses and carriage during the marathon. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com