A new, modified Yellow Warning Card has been released by the FEI, with the main changes allowing elements “unique” to eventing.
As well as updating rule numbers and titles, the new Yellow Card adds a distinction between “Dangerous Riding” and “Abuse of Horse” in the list of offences. Officials are urged to be clear about identifying the offence most closely associated with an issue, as a second offence in the same category within one year will trigger a suspension for the rider.
In number, eventing infringments outweighed the other disciplines, and it appeared that even Olympic and World Games riders sometimes got it wrong, as shown by the warnings and yellow cards dished out to riders at 1* to 4* level in the year to the end of June 2013, and earlier.
While the list of offences run the gamut of infractions, most are for “dangerous riding”, which included riding fences too fast, continuing after three refusals or elimination, jumping from a standstill, riding “out of control”, and “severe lack of responsiveness of the horse”.
“Abuse of horse” infractions included:
- causing unnecessary discomfort to the horse
- riding an exhausted horse
- excessive use of the whip
- inadequate preparation of horse
- encouraging the horse to jump from a standstill
- spur marks
- excessive use of bit
- use of whip after fence
- use of whip after elimination
- riding a lame horse after elimination
- hit the horse after XC finish
A rider’s mother was even yellow-carded for horse abuse for “public assault of a riders’ horse”, and another rider was given a verbal warning for a dispute with a spectator. Both offences occurred at New Zealand’s Kihikihi Horse trials in April 2013, along with two other yellow cards at the same event.
As for penalties, Article 169 of the FEI’s General Regulations state that:
6.2. Abuse of Horses in any form (rapping, abnormal sensitisation or desensitisation of limbs, banned schooling methods etc.) shall entail a fine of up to CHF15,000 [Swiss francs].- and/or a Suspension of a minimum of three months up to life;
6.3. Incorrect behaviour towards Event Officials or any other party connected with the Event (other Athlete, journalist, public etc.) shall entail a fine of CHF200 to 10,000, and/or a Suspension of a minimum of three months up to 12 months.