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Showjumper suspended amid welfare concerns

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Showjumper suspended amid welfare concerns

A WORLD class showjumper from the region has been suspended due to horse welfare concerns.

The British Equestrian Federation and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) have announced the immediate suspension of James Smith from Kirkcudbright, while they investigate photos allegedly showing outlawed training methods being used on a horse.

It’s alleged that as Smith, 31, was jumping a horse, a cane was being used to make the horse lift its legs higher over a practice fence in Spain last week.

A block has also been put in place to prevent his groom, Nicola Park, from renewing her membership with British Showjumping while the inquiry is taking place.

In a statement, British Showjumping said: “British Showjumping is liaising closely with the British Equestrian Federation and the FEI regarding the athlete James Smith who has been immediately suspended as of 16 March 2024, following equine welfare concerns relating to photos that appear to have been taken at a recent FEI event.

“Further to the suspension imposed by British Showjumping, which was confirmed to the FEI on 16 March 2024, the FEI have also provisionally suspended the athlete. This suspension prohibits him from entering and/or competing or training athletes/horses at any FEI events, or any national events until further notice while the images and circumstances of the incident are being investigated.”

Discussing the photographs, which have caused outrage nationally, the organisation said: “The training methods depicted in the images have no place in our sport, are against our regulations and will not be tolerated.

“Horse welfare is the highest priority for British Showjumping, the BEF and the FEI, and we will continue to work closely together to ensure our rules and regulations concerning equine welfare and wellbeing are both respected and enforced.”

Mr Smith was contacted for comment.

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