McLain Ward’s mount in the Rolex/FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final, Sapphire, was eliminated from the Round 2 of the Final in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, April 16, and has been disqualified from the rest of the event following a positive hypersensitivity test.
The horse was selected for thermography testing on her legs yesterday and U.S. Team Veterinarian Tim Ober, DVM, was notified in the late afternoon that the horse would be tested shortly before Round 2 of the Final.
The test involved the use of a thermography camera and a clinical examination of the legs, which was carried out by Fédértion Equestre Internationale-appointed veterinarian Paul Farrington, DVM, and Foreign Veterinary Delegate Emile Welling, DVM.
Following the examination, Farrington informed Ober and the two grooms that were present at the test that the horse was showing sensitivity in her left foreleg but that it was fit to compete at that time.
McLain Ward and Sapphire went on to finish second in the class to take over the lead in the overall standings, but the FEI made a decision to re-examine the horse post-competition, using both thermography and clinical examination. The second test was carried out at 12:30am this morning, April 17, in the presence of the President of the Ground Jury Rene Billardon, Ober, the two grooms and Lizzy Chesson, the United States Equestrian Federation Director of High Performance Show Jumping.
Farrington, Welling and Markus Mueller, DVM, each re-examined the horse and declared that, due to the level of hypersensitivity, she was unfit to take any further part in the competition.
Welling immediately informed the President of the Ground Jury, who notified Ward that the horse was eliminated from the competition and disqualified from the rest of the event. Farrington stressed that there was no indication or evidence of any malpractice by McLain Ward or any member of the team.
Under the FEI General Regulations (Art. 159.6.2, 159.6.4), there is no appeal against the decision of the Ground Jury to eliminate or disqualify a horse from an event for abnormal sensitivity.
Want to learn more about hypersensitivity testing? Download the one-page FEI Steward's Manual entry on the subject below.