As one of McLain's sponsors, all of us at ECOGOLD couldn't just sit idle any more watching what has been happening to him. So on the this morning, we started a petition to protest against his disqualification, support McLain and also the USEF and U.S. Equestrian Federation show jumping team veterinarian Tim Ober, DVM, who disagreed completely with the FEI’s decision and assessment. PLEASE GO SIGN IT and share it with your friends!
Click here for the petition
McLain Ward issued this statement on April 17: "Thank you to all who are supporting us in this situation. On a personal level this is devastating, but in the bigger picture we need to use this to right the ship of our sport. The FEI has gone too far in this instance and has clearly shown impropriety. I hope we can all stand as a community and create change for the the best interest of the horse, the sport and the riders. Thank you all."
Later this afternoon, he sent this message: “New statement from McLain Ward - April 18: "Over the past few days I have experienced great emotions over two things. The first being that in modern sport such injustice can take place. The second being the overwhelming support that Sapphire and I have received. It is truly incredible and despite having one of the most difficult weeks of my life I am blown away by how you all have spoken up to support us. Truly incredible. Thank You, McLain"”
On our end, I’ve also have been receiving emails all day long since starting this petition. Some people with questions: does it cost anything? NO! It’s a FREE petition. We’re not asking for donations, we’re asking you to stand up and be counted. If you want the FEI to hear us in the equestrian community loud and clear, sign it. A Facebook group has also been created, which is great to show McLain your support, but a petition is an official form of protest to a governing body, the FEI in this case. It is the only recourse we (i.e. the regular folks) have and it helps the USEF in their appeal.
We’ve also received a lot of positive feedback, bravos and well done. Thank you. It is much appreciated. From riders, people who personally know McLain, people that don’t know him at all but admire him. A message that stands out is from a mother of a very promising young rider: “one incident like this might demolish her chances for sponsorship for an international career. So much money in lost time and prize money and crushed dreams.” Yep! This affects riders, sponsors, breeders, owners – pretty much anyone in the US equestrian community. Got a couple of negative ones too but we weren’t bothered by them. Can’t please everybody.
Some companies might be scared of controversy and prefer to not ruffle feathers, but we like to stand up for what’s right and for the people that support us: our sponsored riders, clients, employees and suppliers. I guess we have hypersensitivity of the heart.