Saturday, May. 25, 2024

FEI Finds Sapphire Incorrectly Disqualified From World Cup Final Class

After a full investigation into the facts surrounding the disqualification of McLain Ward’s Sapphire at the FEI World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland, the Fédération Equestre Internationale has determined that the horse was incorrectly eliminated from the second round on April 16.

However, Sapphire’s disqualification from the final round of the World Cup remains in place.

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After a full investigation into the facts surrounding the disqualification of McLain Ward’s Sapphire at the FEI World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland, the Fédération Equestre Internationale has determined that the horse was incorrectly eliminated from the second round on April 16.

However, Sapphire’s disqualification from the final round of the World Cup remains in place.

Ward will immediately be awarded all ranking points and prize money related to his second-placed finish in the second round of the FEI World Cup Final. This will not affect ranking points and prize money awarded to other riders in the competition. 

“We’ve had full faith in the outcome of this unfortunate situation since the beginning,” said David O’Connor, President of the U.S. Equestrian Federation. “There could not have been a different result. The McLain/Sapphire combination has had and will continue to have the full support of the USEF. McLain has been the consummate gentleman, and our hats are off to him for the way he has handled this regrettable situation.” 

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As a result of this investigation, the FEI has also decided to issue mandatory guidelines to be applied by the Veterinary Commissions appointed for FEI Events in order to strengthen the hypersensitivity protocol that was applied in Geneva. These guidelines will be communicated to all national federations prior to the CHIO in Aachen, Germany.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation, Ward and U.S. Team Veterinarian Tim Ober have stated that they do not agree with the FEI on the question of whether Sapphire displayed a level of sensitivity that justified her disqualification from the third round of the World Cup and also disagree with the process followed.

“In that McLain and Sapphire did not participate in the final round, it is impossible to know the outcome,” said the USEF press release. “In the spirit of competition everywhere and our sport specifically, Sapphire’s disqualification from the Final will not be challenged even though the USEF does not agree with the FEI that the mare displayed a level of sensitivity, nor do they agree with the process that resulted in her disqualification.”

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