“Blood” Proposal Withdrawn, Appointment of Rider Rep to FEI Dressage Committee Postponed

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Blood showing on the mouth of Jerich Parzival at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 11–A proposal to allow dressage horses showing blood at major championships to be given a second chance to compete was formally withdrawn Friday by the International Equestrian Federation Bureau which also postponed a decision on appointing a new member to the powerful Dressage Committee.

The bureau decisions at the opening of the four-day General Assembly which includes all 133 member nations of the FEI that oversees international horse sports removed the heat for the moment from the two controversial issues dividing the global dressage committee.

The FEI said in a statement, “the Bureau unanimously agreed to a proposal from the Dressage Committee to withdraw the proposed addition to Article 430.7.6: evidence of blood in the arena, in order to allow the Veterinary Committee to study the issue from a horse welfare perspective.

“The Veterinary Committee has been asked to propose a general rule, in consultation with the various disciplines, that is valid and applicable for all FEI disciplines. This will be discussed at the FEI Sports Forum in April 2012 as part of the Veterinary Regulations revision, for adoption by the General Assembly in 2012 and implementation on 1 January 2013.

“Consequently, a proposed change to Article 8430 of the Rules for Para-Equestrian Dressage regarding evidence of blood on the horse has also been withdrawn. This will allow Para-Equestrian Dressage to be covered by the new rule that will be applied across the disciplines in 2013.

“In the interim, Article 430.7.6 of the Dressage Rules and the FEI Code of Conduct Article in the Para-Equestrian Dressage Rules, which both cover horse welfare, will continue to allow for the elimination of horses that show evidence of blood anywhere on their body.”

The Dressage Committee took on the “blood” issue after the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky where the horse Jerich Parzival ridden by Adekinde Cornelissen of The Netherlands was eliminated because of appearance of blood on the mouth. A veterinary examination later found a nick on the horse’s tongue, apparently caused by Parzival biting it.

The current rules dealing with welfare of the horse are not specific about the appearance of blood and some groups proposed adopting language similar to that applied to the other Olympic disciplines of eventing and jumping that allows a horse to resume competition after a veterinary examination determines there would be no harm to the horse’s welfare.

The Dressage Committee of six members representing show organizers, trainers, riders, judges and chefs d’equipe proposed introducing the new rule at major championships, the most prominent being the Olympic Games in London beginning in July.

Opposition was widespread around the world with the U.S. threatening to lead a drive against the proposal at the current General Assembly by having implementation deferred so it would not come into effect for 2012.

The Bureau also agreed unanimously to postpone a decision on the appointment of the athlete representative to the Dressage Committee.

The International Dressage Riders Club that is an associate member of the FEI had proposed its secretary general Wayne M. Channon as a replacement for the retiring Margit Otto-Crepin.

Margit Otto-Crepin. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

However, the Spanish national federation nominated Luis Lucio, a two-time Olympian, and Colombia proposed Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar, a member of the Pan American Games team that won bronze last month.

The IDRC expelled the two national federation nominees on the grounds that, it said, only the IDRC had the right to nominate athlete representatives.

“There are a number of legal issues that require clarification, including the validity of the expulsion of two members of the International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC)—Luis Lucio (ESP) and Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar (COL)–at its General Assembly in Hooge Mierde (NED) on 30 October,” the FEI said.

“We we are keen to maintain a healthy working relationship with the IDRC as both the FEI and the Club have a mutual goal, which is to have democratic athlete representation on the Dressage Committee,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos.

“The term of the outgoing athlete representative on the Dressage Committee has come to an end, so we need to move forward on this rapidly. We would like to thank Margit Otto-Crepin for all her dedication and hard work in the past.”

The Bureau also re-appointed Thomas Baur of Germany as the Organizer representive on the Dressage Committee for another four-year term.