The Fédération Equestre Internationale Tribunal has announced its decision that event riders Andrew Hoy of Australia and his student Madeleine Brugman of the Netherlands are not guilty of abuse.
They were charged with using a pair of spiked overreach boots on Brugman’s horse, Sundancer 6, at the Barroca d’Alva CCI*** (Portugal) in March.
The Tribunal examined numerous briefs, witness statements and other documents and found the evidence circumstantial, with various unresolved contradictions and inconsistencies. “The Tribunal therefore concludes that the FEI did not meet its burden of proof and did not provide evidence of a nature sufficient to substantiate a case of abuse against either Madeleine Brugman or Andrew Hoy,” said the FEI press release.
“The Tribunal’s decision reflects the independence of the FEI’s judicial branch—we must respect it and heed its lessons,” said FEI Secretary General Alex McLin. “We will certainly pay close attention to what it means for our enforcement systems and make any necessary adjustments. Abuse of horses in any form is unacceptable, and we will continue to bring charges against those responsible for such conduct.”
The decision came more than a month after the trial, due to the large amount of evidence supplied.
“I have always maintained the fact that I had no involvement in this situation,” Hoy told Horse & Hound. “I welcome the findings which support this decision. Whilst I regret that I was called upon to participate in this investigation, I’m glad that I can put it behind me and that I can now concentrate on my horses and the sport I love. Apart from thanking my friends for their support, I have no further comment to make.”