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Scott Brash has stressed that the welfare of his horses remains absolutely paramount after being disqualified for an infringement of FEI "blood rules" while competing in Portugal on Saturday (8 July).
He has also voiced his support for the need to change the current rules regarding misuse of the spurs.
The British showjumper was riding Hello Forever as part of the Miami Glory squad at the CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour in Cascais. Scott had produced a beautiful and apparently uneventful clear round on Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s 11-year-old to help his team win the Global Champions League competition, but he was disqualified after an FEI official found a trace of blood on the chestnut’s side.
“Obviously I’m disappointed this has happened, but the health and happiness of my horses always comes first for both me and my grooms,” Scott told H&H.
“The rules are there for the welfare of the horses and the good of the sport, and I’m all for that, but I do feel this was the wrong decision.”
Under FEI rules, disqualification is mandatory for “marks indicating excessive use of spurs or the whip anywhere on the horse”. However Scott says he is at a loss to know how or where the “almost invisible” mark occurred.
“I’ve watched the video back and I still can’t see where or how it happened in my round,” said Scott. “It was such a small mark and higher up than it would usually be from a spur. Some horses are sensitive and do mark easily, but not this one [Hello Forever], and I was using the same spurs I’ve always used with him.
“So I do think the rules need to be looked at and improved because there’s a massive difference between someone really spurring the horse and what was a very small mark.”
An FEI spokesman said: “Disqualification under this rule does not imply that there was any intent to injure the horse, but the rule exists to protect horses competing in FEI events. FEI officials work on-site at all FEI events and one of their roles is to ensure the FEI protocol regarding blood on the horse is respected.”