Sunday, May. 19, 2024

Sapphire Disqualification



In light of the recent controversy over Sapphire’s disqualification at the Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final due to hypersensitivity, the Fédération Equestre Internationale has undertaken a review of the protocol for thermography and clinical examination (hypersensitivity of the legs). In an effort to further strengthen the protocol, the FEI issued the following mandatory guidelines to be applied by the veterinary commissions appointed for FEI events.

“Certainly I feel a little bittersweet,” said McLain Ward after the Fédération Equestre Internationale ruled that Sapphire should not have been disqualified from Round 2 at the World Cup Final (Switzerland) in April.

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.

Our columnist reflects on the World Cup controversy and what teamwork means to our sport.

This spring we witnessed one of the most controversial FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals in the history of the sport. The U.S. riders had picked up where they left off at the 2008 Olympic Games and started out strongly, with Rich Fellers and Flexible winning the first leg of the World Cup. McLain Ward and Sapphire earned second-placed ribbons in the first two legs for the overall lead.


Results from leg swab samples taken from McLain Ward’s Sapphire during the Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final have come back, and they contained no prohibited substances.

Last week, blood and urine samples from Sapphire, also taken during April’s World Cup, were found to be negative. This concludes the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s Medication Program Control testing.

Analysis of all urine and blood samples taken during Medication Control Program Testing at the FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Geneva, Switzerland, April 13-19, has proved negative, but analysis on leg swab samples is still being carried out.

The FEI Ground Jury disqualified Sapphire when she was in the leading position with McLain Ward at the Final because of hypersensitivity of her left foreleg. No lameness was detected.

On Sunday, April 18, the U. S. Equestrian Federation lodged a formal protest against the disqualification of McLain Ward’s horse, Sapphire at the 2010 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final.

In an effort to explain the controversial decision to eliminate Sapphire from the Rolex/FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final, the Fédération Equestre Internationale held a press conference this afternoon, April 17, at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva, Switzerland.

A huge crowd that included journalists, riders, trainers and other curious equestrians packed in to hear why late last night the FEI decided to disqualify McLain Ward’s mount from Round 2 following a hypersensitivity test. 

On April 17, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the president of the Federation Equestre Internationale, released a statement concerning the disqualification of McLain Ward's Sapphire from the Rolex FEI World Cup Final.



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