7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Animal abuse rider stripped of medals

A TOP Bahraini rider has been stripped of his medals by the international governing body for horse-riding sports due to animal abuse.

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) said on Monday that the winner of His Majesty The King's Cup 120km endurance race in February will have to relinquish his awards.

Two British journalists filed a complaint against the winner, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and his groom over an alleged horse-beating incident.

It related to online video footage showing the horse, Tarabic Carl, beginning to slow before being beaten by two men who appeared from a nearby pickup truck.

The journalists, Pippa Cuckson and Lucy Higginson - both formerly of Horse and Hound magazine, also cited a second video that appeared to show the rider hitting the horse with a lash.

According to the FEI's tribunal report the decision to disqualify the rider, who went on to win the race, was made because the rider is responsible for his animal and the staff that take care of it, which means the blame falls on the jockey's head.

The Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) disciplined the rider during the event, giving him a yellow card for animal abuse, fining him 500 Swiss francs (BD202) and banning him from competing until the end of the season in April.

However, the FEI found that the ground jury, which handed out the original punishment, had been too lenient.

"The tribunal holds that the ground jury acted arbitrarily in not imposing any disqualification," said the FEI's report.

"The rider shall be disqualified from the event. All medals, points and prize money won shall be forfeited."

A Breef spokesman said that they agree with the FEI decision, noting that they were the first people to respond to the incident.

"The incident was reported in Bahrain on the day and immediately following the race the rider was dealt with by being fined and not being allowed to participate in any competitions, both national and international, until the end of the season," said Breef public relations and marketing head Tawfiq Salah. "We took the complaint very seriously because Breef does not accept abuse or any kind and we will treat any rider the same in accordance to our guidelines. "We agree with the FEI decision, as we are a regulated body under the umbrella of the FEI and we follow the same principles and guidelines." [email protected]

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