Monday, May. 27, 2024

FEI Reprimands Ground Jury For Morrissey Incident

The Fédération Equestre Internationale announced today, July 9, that formal warnings have been issued to the ground jury members officiating during U.S. rider Michael Morrissey’s whipping incident at the $75,000 CSI** Grand Prix in Wellington, Fla., on Feb. 27.

The members of the ground jury included: President Thomas Thomson (USA), Jose Gamarra (BOL), Ralph Alfano (USA) and Neil O'Connor (USA).

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The Fédération Equestre Internationale announced today, July 9, that formal warnings have been issued to the ground jury members officiating during U.S. rider Michael Morrissey’s whipping incident at the $75,000 CSI** Grand Prix in Wellington, Fla., on Feb. 27.

The members of the ground jury included: President Thomas Thomson (USA), Jose Gamarra (BOL), Ralph Alfano (USA) and Neil O’Connor (USA).

Morrissey struck his mount, Crelido, 13 times in a row at the competition, which was also part of the U.S. selection trials for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, after the horse refused an open water jump. On June 28, the USEF announced their three-month suspension for Morrissey, and the FEI has now added their own three-month suspension. The two will be served simultaneously, both ending on Aug. 4.

In addition, the FEI issued Morrissey a yellow card and retroactive disqualification from the competition and fined him 2,000 Swiss Francs—about $1,890.

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The FEI’s investigation into the role of the ground jury showed that although Morrissey was allowed to continue in the competition, he should have been disqualified immediately. Letters of reprimand were sent to all members of the ground jury.

The full text of the FEI’s decision notes that David Distler, the manager of the selection trials and FEI honorary steward, told Morrissey afterward that “his behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated,” and that Morrissey had apologized to Distler, but that the ground jury did not take action based on Morrissey’s conduct.

“I apologize unreservedly for this incident,” said Morrissey in the FEI press release. “I overreacted when the horse stopped, and that is unforgivable. Horse welfare has to take precedence over competitive interests, and I know that I was in breach of that basic principle.”

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