FEI Strongly Defends Procedures Taken in Eliminating Calecto from World Dressage Masters Palm Beach

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Calecto V ridden by Tina Konyot in the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The International Equestrian Federation on Monday strongly defended the way the so-called “blood” rule was applied in the elimination of  Calecto V ridden by Tina Konyot from the World Dressage Masters in Palm Beach but said that because of discussions created by the issue the FEI will issue a “clarification” about the process.

The FEI, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, said in response to questions from dressage-news.com that a protest filed by the International Dressage Riders Club was “based on the incorrect interpretation” of the new rule that came into effect on Jan. 1 this year aimed at clarifying what had been common practise but not spelled out in the rules.

Kyra Kyrklund, the riders’ club president, had written to Wellington Classic Dressage, organizers of the event that had the highest international competition rating of a CDI5*, asking for a veterinary examination of Calecto to determine whether the horse that Tina rode on the United States team at the 2012 Olympics and the 2010 World Equestrian Games should be allowed to continue in the event.

Tina of Palm City, Florida and the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) competed in the Grand Prix Friday and the score of 68.681 per cent was announced to spectators at the event at the Jim Brandon Center in West Palm Beach. After the horse left the competition arena but still within the covered facility, the horse underwent an equipment inspecttion that occurs at all FEI-sanctioned evnts.

It was during this inspection that the CDI Steward detected blood on the side of Calecto and reported this to the Judge at C, Gary Rockwell of the United States, who eliminated the combination.

The FEI cited only the new “blood” rule for its support of the procedures that were followed and not a combination of two rules–one dealing with the equipment inspection and the other the new bleeding rule that were relied upon by the organizers in an official statement defending the handling of the issue. That statement was issued by the World Dressage Masters organization and the panel of five judges, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, Isabelle Judet of France, Gary Rockwell and Lois Yukins of the United States and Hans Christian Mattheissen of Denmark

The “blood” rule, Article 430.7.6 of the FEI Rules for Dressage Events, states:

“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.”

Calecto was not inspected by the judge or a veterinarian.

Trond Asmyr, the FEI Dressage Director, said the International Dressage Riders’ Club “understanding was that an FEI Veterinarian had to be consulted if blood was discovered at the bit check after the test.

“This is not correct.

“According to the rule, an FEI Veterinarian would only be involved if the horse was to continue competing at further Competitions at the Event to ensure that it was fit to continue. Further competition was not possible in this case as the horse would have needed the result from the Grand Prix, from which it was eliminated, in order to continue in the next Competition.

“The FEI rules were correctly applied by the FEI Officials at work in Florida last weekend.

“Since this rule caused many discussions over the weekend, we are planning to issue a clarification on this matter.

“Any changes to FEI Rules always follow a strict formal process, where, after discussions, a suggested wording is sent to the National Federations and the Clubs for their input. Based on the input, a final proposal is submitted to the FEI General Assembly for approval.”

The new rule was approved last November by the General Assembly, the annual meeting of the 130 national federations that make up the governing body of international horse sports, including dressage.