The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has concluded that the FEI Tribunal’s 10-year suspension of U.S. show jumper Andy Kocher is warranted.
Kocher was suspended in June of 2021 when evidence supported that he had used electric spurs on several horses for an extended period of time. This week’s confirmation comes in the wake of lengthy appeal proceedings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and more than three years of investigation by the FEI after it was alleged that the American rider used the spurs on a number of FEI-registered horses at international events, in national-level competition, and while training.
“We are extremely satisfied with this outcome and that the sanctions the FEI Tribunal imposed, to reflect the severity of the offenses committed by Mr. Kocher, have been upheld by CAS,” said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch.
“It may have taken two years to complete this process, but it confirms that we had the right decision to start with, and that there is no room for leniency when it comes to cases of horse abuse.”
Other disciplinary measures imposed on Kocher include a CHF 10,000 ($11,071) fine as well as CHF 7,500 in legal fees ($8,303), and his disqualification from eight FEI events between June 2018 and November 2019 where evidence supports the fact that electric spurs were used. Investigation prior to the FEI Tribunal proceedings found that Kocher instructed his employees to use several electric spur devices that he had manufactured himself on specific horses.
In July of 2021, Kocher appealed the FEI’s decision through the CAS, hoping to eliminate or reduce his sanctions. As of this month, the CAS panel concluded that they had reached the same decision as the FEI, upholding Kocher’s suspension through October 27, 2030, and ordering him to pay the fines imposed.
“We have rules and regulations in place to protect the integrity of our competitions and the wellbeing of our horses,” Rentsch said. “When these rules are breached and their welfare is jeopardized, we will continue to seek to impose maximum sentences.”