Canadian showjumper, Tiffany Foster, has had to withdraw from the Olympics following the disqualification of her horse.
Victor failed a hypersensitivity test yesterday morning (5 August) and the FEI’s decision to disqualify him was announced just 15 minutes before the pair was due to jump in the first round of the team competition. A devasted Tiffany, who was making her first Olympic appearance, left the Greenwich Park stadium in tears.
The 10-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding has a small nick on the coronet band of his near fore. After inspection, the federation stated that while there was "no accusation of malpractice, the horse has been deemed unfit to compete by the ground jury."
The Canadians offered to bring Victor out of his stable and trot him up to prove that he was sound, but the decision had already been made.
Chef d’equipe Torchy Millar has since appealed, but it was rejected by the FEI on the grounds that "there is no appeal against the decision of the ground jury to disqualify a horse for abnormal sensitivity from an event".
In a press conference last night attended by FEI officials, including its president Princess Haya, a sobbing Tiffany said: "I would never do anything to jeopardise the welfare of my horse, and what happened today was obviously very disappointing and devastating to me.”
Canadian team mate and defending Olympic champion, Eric Lamaze, also attended the conference, where he spoke out against the decision saying it has “destroyed Tiffany's Olympic dream."
"This is wrong, wrong, wrong,” he told the attending press. “How can a horse be eliminated from the Olympic games when it is not taken out of its stable or trotted up? The inspection took just six minutes. All horses are different but most horses, if poked 50 times by five different people, would be sensitive about that area.”
The team went on to compete with just three riders, and goes into today’s final in a very credible sixth place, with a total of five faults. However, without a fourth rider they cannot drop a score so the pressure is really on.
"I sure hope Canada can win a medal for Tiffany," said Eric. "I am very much ashamed for our sport today.”