The Fédération Equestre Internationale and the U.S. Equestrian Federation are initiating charges regarding Michael Morrissey’s use of the whip in the second leg of the U.S. Selection Trials for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Morrissey’s mount Crelido refused at the open water in the $75,000 CSI** Grand Prix in Wellington, Fla., on Feb. 27. Morrissey then hit Crelido 13 times with his crop on his way back to the water.
Morrissey competed in the third leg of the selection trials but didn’t ride in rounds 4 and 5. He most recently competed with Crelido at the $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational in Tampa, Fla., on April 10, placing 8th.
However, public outrage has grown over the incident, especially after a YouTube video of the incident was posted.
Karen Robinson led the charge on her Straight-Up blog on Horse-Canada.com, bringing attention to what she considered “a scene of highly public brutality.”
The following are the FEI standards on excessive use of the whip:
2.2.1 Excessive Use Of The Whip
- The whip cannot be used to vent a rider’s temper. Such use is always excessive;
- The whip is not to be used after elimination or after a horse has jumped the last fence on a course;
- The whip is never to be used overhand, (for example a whip in the right hand being used on the left flank). The use of a whip on a horse’s head is always excessive use;
- A horse should never be hit more than three times for any one incident. If a horse’s skin is broken, it is considered excessive use of the whip.
- An Athlete identified as misusing or excessively using the whip will be disqualified and may be fined at the discretion of the Ground Jury.