FEI May “Routinely” Review Rules Disqualifying Sapphire from World Cup

11 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on FEI May “Routinely” Review Rules Disqualifying Sapphire from World Cup
McLain Ward and Sapphire. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
McLain Ward and Sapphire. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com


The procedures that disqualified McLain Ward and Sapphire of the United States from the World Cup Final when they were in the lead but have been cleared of any wrongdoing may be “routinely” reviewed by the International Equestrian Federation to determine whether any changes should be made.

The FEI responded to questions from dressage-news.com after the last of the results of the official doping tests were released showing that leg swabs, blood and urine tests of the 15-year-old two-time Olympic gold medal mare found no prohibited substances.

McLain of Brewster, New York and Sapphire were in second place in the World Cup Final in Geneva last month. Fifteen minutes after the start of the second round, FEI veterinarians conducted an examination of the horse. The veterinarians reported hypersensitivity of one leg but not enough to prevent the pair from competing.

After McLain and Sapphire jumped clear in the second round and went to the top of the standings with one day and a double round to go to have the opportunity to become the first American combination to win the World Cup since 1987, the veterinarians conducted a second examination of Sapphire.

Although the vets reported they found no difference from the first test that allowed McLain and Sapphire to jump the second round, the ground jury determined the pair should be disqualified retroactively.

McLain, the U.S. Equestrian Federation and Dr. Timothy Ober, the U.S. team veterinarian, filed an appeal/protest with the FEI Tribunal against the disqualification. An appeal filed on the spot was dismissed on grounds that the “protocols” did not allow “provisional relief.”

The FEI said it will defend itself against the appeal.

Following the latest FEI report on the drug testing, dressage-news.com asked the FEI whether it will examine the disqualification procedures and make changes.

The FEI said, “the FEI technical committees will routinely review the application of a given rule or protocol and, as part of this process, can suggest improvements where they can be made based on practice.

“This case, as any other, would be the subject of such an evaluation, although naturally the outcome of any pending legal procedure would need to be considered prior to any changes being made.”