Riders, Trainers Clubs Protest Tina Konyot/Calecto V “Blood” Rule Elimination

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Tina Konyot and Calecto V performing at recent chairty event at the fabled Mar-A-Lago estate on Palm Beach.. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 26–International riders and trainers clubs on Saturday protested the elimination of Tina Konyot from the €100,000 ((US$133,000) World Dressage Masters CDI5* in Florida after a drop of blood was detected on the side of Calecto V during the Grand Prix, arguing that the rules were not properly followed.

The letters of protest by the two separate clubs to the organizers, Wellington Classic Dressage, requested an official International Equestrian Federation veterinary examination of Calecto and, if the horse was found fit to show, be allowed to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night. The CDI5* is the highest level of international competition aside from championships and Nations Cups.

This was the first case under the new “blood” rule, and occurring at CDI5* brought it to the attention of riders, organizers and officials around the world.

Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, told dressage-news.com she would not seek to compete under protest.

Tina and the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) ceompeted for the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

The partnership, according to those who have seen them compete throughout the Unted States and Europe, has been marked by deep affection and an abiding concern for the welfare of the horse.

The horse rode in the Grand Prix Friday and left the arena without any of the five judges stopping the ride to inspect the horse for blood.

However, during the equipment check at the edge of the covered arena the CDI Steward noted a drop of blood on Calecto’s side. No blood was found on the spur and no cut or open wound was detected.

The show announcer gave Tina’s score of 68.681 per cent to the spectators. The elimination did not become public for two hours after the event when the official results were distributed.

The steward reported the blood to Gary Rockwell of the United States, the judge at C, who eliminated Calecto.

The World Dressage Masters and Ground Jury issued an official statement. The ground jury comprised Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, Isabelle Judet of France, Gary Rockwell and Lois Yukins of the United States and Hans Christian Mattheissen of Denmark.

It said:

“Upon review of the process and after consultation with the FEI, it has been confirmed that the current rules regarding the elimination process were followed to the letter.

“Before she left the official equipment check area ringside, the rider was informed by the FEI Chief Steward that the Judge at C had made the decision based on Article 428.8 and Article 430.7.6 that the horse must be eliminated due to the evidence of fresh blood.”

Article 428.8  deals with “Checking of Saddlery” states: “A Steward must be appointed to check the saddlery of each Horse immediately after it leaves the arena. Any discrepancy will be reported to the Judge at C and result in immediate Elimination if confirmed.” There is no reference to blood or other veterinary issue.

However, the long standing practice of judges disqualifying a horse that displays blood in the competition arena was replaced by a written rule on Jan. 1 which states:

Article 430.7.6 is for “Bleeding” and states: Bleeding: “If the Judge at C suspects fresh blood anywhere on the horse during the test, he
will stop the horse to check for blood. If the horse shows fresh blood, it will be eliminated. The elimination is final. If the Judge through examination clarifies that the horse has no fresh blood, the horse may resume and finish its test. If the horse is eliminated pursuant to the above, or if the horse is injured during the test and starts bleeding after finishing the test, it should be examined by an FEI Veterinarian prior to the next Competition to determine if it is fit to continue in the Event the following day(s). The decision of the FEI Veterinarian is not subject to appeal.”

It is this rule that the IDRC and the IDTC cite in their objections to the handlng of the case, arguing that as the horse had finished the test an FEI veterinarian should have examined the horse to determine if it was fit to continue in the event in the following days.

That examination did not occur.

The rule was written to clarify handling of cases such as occurred at the 2010 WEG when Jerich Parzival ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands bit his tongue causing blood in the mouth. The horse was disqualified.

Kyra Kyrklund, president of the IDRC, sent a letter to Wellington Classic Dressage citing the new “blood” rule and requesting a veterinary examination.

The trainers club sent a separate request for a veterinary examination.

The steward, Kyra said, does not have the right to eliminate the horse, but only to recommend a veterinary examination.