As one of McLain's sponsors, we are quite upset with his disqualification from the World Cup so we've started an on-line petition to the FEI. Please go sign it. Click here for petition!

Statement from McLain: "Thank you to all who are supporting us in this situation. On a personal level this is devastating, but in the bigger picture we need to use this to right the ship of our sport. The FEI has gone too far in this instance and has clearly shown impropriety. I hope we can all stand as a community and create change for the the best interest of the horse, the sport and the riders. Thank you all."

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The vets (several, of them) agreed that the horse feels pain in its leg and is not fit for competing.
So what can the ground jury decide?
Ride anyway? Come on, that's imposible with an animal rights reported behind every second camera.
Sapphire passed the jog, competed, was in the lead and then five hours later, was poked 57 times in the leg and was disqualified. McLain and the USET vet requested a further medical examination which was denied. The USEF requested an appeal - it was denied. If the mare was unsound, she shouldn't have been allowed to compete, period. As this was not the case, the FEI decision was questionable. The fact that he wasn't allowed to jog on Sunday or have a further examination, even more questionable.

This is a link to a video of the press conference with George Morris, Dr Ober and McLain on Saturday evening, after Sapphire was disqualified. The facts are discussed in detail: Click here for Video

Also, here is the USEF Statement:

On Sunday April 18, 2010 the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) lodged a formal protest against the disqualification of McLain Ward’s horse, Sapphire at the 2010 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final.

Sapphire and Ward were in the lead after the second leg of the Final when Sapphire was disqualified five hours after the second class on the recommendation of the Veterinary Committee that she was unfit to compete, despite being examined before her round by FEI veterinarians and deemed fit to compete.

The protest was heard 1 PM Central European Time on Sunday by the FEI Tribunal in Geneva. The protest was not allowed as FEI Tribunal Chair Ken Lalo (ISR) denied the request for emergency relief on the grounds that the FEI Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to overturn the Ground Jury’s decision and Sapphire was not reinstated to compete.

This was a hearing only for emergency provisional relief relating to Sapphire's participation in the final round, and the USEF's full claim regarding the retroactive disqualification of Sapphire from the second round will be considered by the FEI Tribunal shortly.

McLain Ward:

“I think that there is a serious concern with the direction the FEI has been going for a long time and this time they have gone over the line. It was an unjust ruling and I feel liked they acknowledged that in the hearing this morning because they didn’t finish ruling on it. They did not end the ruling. There are flaws in the process and in the overall ruling. We have huge support, we have the support of world press, they can see obviously that this is incorrect.

I think that with the great support of my National Federation, who has come through 150 percent for me, we will come through this particular incident and consequence and make the sport better in the future.

But I will never get this back, what was lost here today personally, I will never get it back and that must be considered. But on a much larger scale what is going on with the vague rules that are left up to the very subjective interpretation of people who are volunteers or part-time employees of the FEI and bear little responsibility for the decisions that they make. We must change these procedures; we must have a governing body that is democratic. This wouldn’t be tolerated in the United States and I am not sure how much more the sport can tolerate.”

USEF President David O’Connor:

“The United States Equestrian Federation will await the FEI Tribunal’s decision, then after continued consultation with McLain Ward, decide the next course of action to move forward.”
"The Fédération Equestre Internationale, the sport’s governing body, said that Sapphire was tested “on the basis of confidential information received” and that testing could be used as a way of “stopping incorrect information.”

The USEF is in complete disagreement with the FEI decision and the fact that further medical testing was denied when the rider and US Team vet Dr Ober requested it, puts some question marks in my head.

This is not a case of any impropriety from the rider's part. The FEI has officially recognized and stated that there was no malpractice from the either the rider or the people working with him.

So why wouldn't they allow the horse to be #1. further tested and #2. presented at the jog 2 days later for the final?

Also the fact that this was done to the horse that was leading & would potentially have won, raises even more questions.


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