A second British rider is at the centre of a social media storm over whip abuse.
Netherlands-based show jumper Ben Talbot, 32, was barred from a four-star show in Germany the weekend after striking his horse Everglade six times when the grey refused.
Talbot also jabbed the nine-year-old in the mouth as he rode away from the fence, after the commentator asked him to stop and visit the judges’ box immediately. Social media was quick to compliment the ground jury for its decisive action.
The incident occurred at the Gros Viegeln show, organized by leading rider Holger Wulschner, who also issued a video statement about this “disturbing scene.”
Talbot was originally from the south west of England. He now rides out of Hazleton Farm at Zenderen, and is ranked 565 in the world.
He issued an apology on Tuesday through the Dutch online magazine Equenews: “It was a reaction from anger, it should never have happened. I care a lot about my horses and they always come first to me. I understand very well that I was wrong. For now, we are waiting for the consequences.”
He also posted a brief comment on the Facebook of Hazleton Farm, which stated: “Very sad and sorry for what happened this weekend. My reaction was wrong and there are no words to speak this right [sic], as most of my friends know I love my horses.”
Talbot gained the ride on Everglade a year ago from Marriett Smit-Hoekstra. The new partnership has not enjoyed consistent success, and has either retired or been eliminated from five of its previous seven FEI starts.
Talbot also received a yellow warning card for “incorrect behaviour” at Arezzo in Italy in April.
The FEI is reviewing eventing whip rules following the furore over Oliver Townend at Badminton. He received a recorded verbal warning for incidents involving both his cross-country rides. While this provoked public outrage sufficiently to trigger the FEI review, Townend did not break the eventing rules as they are written: these specify three strokes of the whip “per incident.”
FEI jumping rules are worded differently. They allow a maximum three strokes “in a row.” Both disciplines state the whip may not be used to “vent an athlete’s temper.”
An FEI spokesperson said:
The FEI has today notified British Jumping athlete Ben Talbot of a two-month suspension following receipt of a yellow warning card for abuse of horse and incorrect behaviour at last weekend’s CSI4* Groß Viegeln (GER).
The athlete struck the horse Everglade with his whip a number of times and spurred him repeatedly after a refusal on course and the onsite Ground Jury reacted immediately, ringing the bell and calling the athlete up to the jury box on the public address system. The athlete was disqualified from the entire event with all his horses and asked to leave the showgrounds.
The athlete was given a yellow warning card by the Groß Viegeln Ground Jury. As he had received a yellow warning card for incorrect behaviour at the CSI4* Arezzo (ITA) in April of this year, and in line with Article 169.7.2 of the FEI General Regulations, the athlete has now been suspended for two months from the date of notification (20 June 2018).
Article 169.7.2 of the FEI General Regulations states: Should the same Person Responsible receive one (1) more Yellow Warning Card at the same or any other International Event within one year of the delivery of the first Yellow Warning Card, the Person Responsible shall be automatically suspended for a period of two (2) months after official notification from the FEI Secretary General.
The FEI General Regulations and Statutes state that any suspension must also be enforced by the relevant National Federation, so in addition to the FEI suspension, Mr Talbot will be suspended by the British Equestrian Federation as well.
FEI General Regulations, Article 169.5.1 During the period of a Provisional or Final Suspension the person, Horse or body suspended may take no part in Competitions or Events as an Athlete, Horse or Official or in the organisation of, any Event under the jurisdiction of the FEI or any Event under the jurisdiction of an NF in accordance with Statutes Article 41, or be present at an Event (other than as a spectator) that is under the jurisdiction of the FEI or any National Federation.
FEI Statutes, Article 41.2 All penalties imposed by a competent body of the FEI or the CAS shall be accepted by all National Federations and enforced by the FEI and all National Federations concerned.