A series of disturbing training videos posted last week on Colombian Olympian Cesar Parra’s Instagram account has resulted in a provisional suspension by the FEI.

The at-home videos, filmed at Parra’s private training facility in Jupiter, Florida, showed the rider aggressively disciplining horses with a whip from the ground and in the saddle. 

Parra, who rode for his native Colombia in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, has competed at two FEI World Equestrian Games and, after switching to U.S. citizenship, helped to win a Team gold medal for America at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Parra, who trained as a dentist according to his website biography, bases in both Frenchtown, New Jersey and Jupiter, where he operates a full-service training and sales program. 

“On Thursday, USEF received video clips documenting abhorrent abusive training techniques by FEI dressage athlete and trainer Cesar Parra (USA) at his private training facility in FL,” a USEF representative said via email, adding that the organization immediately began coordinating efforts with the FEI. USEF added that they will uphold Parra’s provisional FEI suspension, prohibiting him or his horses from competing at national competitions. 

Dressage rider Jessica Hogan, a former student of Parra’s, publicly shared a series of videos of the trainer on February 2 on her own account, allegedly showing—among other disturbing images—Parra whipping a horse he is riding in the head. In her post, Hogan alleges that Parra physically abused horses and was verbally abusive toward riders in his training program. 

“It has been traumatizing, terrifying, and disgusting ‘training’ under Cesar for both the rider and horse’s sake- He only cares about himself and his blue ribbons for a post on social media. I am so proud to have come forward and [exposed] who he really is,” said Hogan in a follow-up post yesterday, going on to thank those that supported her through the process. 

In 2015, Cesar Parra was cleared of previous cruelty charges against Trudy Miranda’s stallion, William PFF, by New Jersey’s Hunterdon County Superior Court. The suit alleged that Parra’s improper use of side reins caused the horse to fall and hit his head while lunging, resulting in permanent injuries.

In accordance with their protocols, the FEI will not comment further on an open investigation. But USEF said they are currently cooperating and supporting the FEI’s investigation, adding, “The training practices documented in the videos cannot be tolerated in our sport. USEF is steadfast in its commitment to horse wellbeing and has committed its resources to supporting the FEI in bringing this matter to resolution as expediently as possible.”