Three horses were disqualified from competing in the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 4 for hypersensitivity. Romanov, ridden by Billy Twomey of Ireland, All Inclusive NRW ridden by Denis Lynch of Ireland, and Vancouver DML, ridden by Simon Delestre of France, were declared unfit to compete by the Fédération Equestre Internationale with the unanimous agreement of the thermography team and all veterinary and FEI officials.
"There was no indication of malpractice," according to a statement released by the FEI. "The [thermography] team’s findings were reported to the Ground Jury who requested a re-inspection, which confirmed the positive results for all three horses. The FEI has very clear policies and rules, and where there are welfare concerns the FEI will always act to ensure the protection of our horses and to provide a level playing field for our athletes."
Horse Sport Ireland did not return phone calls by press time, but Twomey was quoted in the Irish Examiner on Sept. 6.
"The horse did not have a great journey going over and got a few scrapes and cuts," Twomey told the Irish Examiner. "One in particular became a little infected and angry. I was managing it throughout the show, but, come Sunday, in this one area, he was sore on palpation.
"I felt he was fine to jump, but I have to respect [the officials’] decision. It was a long way to travel, and not to be able to jump was frustrating. I really felt I would have had a decent chance of doing well," he continued.
Lynch had also been disqualified after Lord Luis underwent a positive hypersensitivity test at the July CHIO in Aachen, Germany. The horse was allowed to compete after he passed upon re-examination the next day.
The FEI revised their testing protocols for hypersensitivity after the high-profile elimination of McLain Ward’s Sapphire at the 2010 FEI World Cup Finals. More information can be found at http://www.fei.org/veterinary/hypersensitivity-in-equestrian-competition
The GCT class in Rio awarded more than $1.4 million dollars in prize money.