Dutch Grand Prix rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees has been temporarily suspended from the Dutch A-team for breaking the KNHS code of conduct agreement. The suspension will last until 1 January 2017.
After the disappointing team performance of the Dutch dressage team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Witte-Vrees publicly questioned the team selection of Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in an interview with a Dutch media publication.
Cornelissen and Parzival were the Dutch scratch score. The horse suffered from a jaw infection due to a bug bite the day before the Grand Prix and the next day Adelinde chose to retire her hrose at the beginning of her Grand Prix test when Parzival appeared unfit and stuck his tongue out in the first piaffe-passage movement. Selected team reserve rider Witte-Vrees had opted not travel to Rio as a stand-bye combination. After Parzival's retirement from the Grand Prix she openly questioned the federation's decision making to select 19-year old Parzival on the team in the Dutch equestrian press. During the debacle in Rio, Maarten van der Heijden (technical director of the Dutch NF) announced that he will propose a rule change for 2017 to make it mandatory for the reserve rider to travel with the team to the Championship.
The Dutch Equestrian Federation's code of conduct stipulates that squad riders have to be "ambassadors" of the KNHS. Breaking the code of conduct involves, "unacceptable behaviour, which includes every public action of the rider, either in word, written or in deed, which harms the interests of the KNHS, its sponors and colleague riders, as well as the sport in general."
In an interview with De Paardenkrant, Witte-Vrees reacted to her suspension: "At the time I was called by a journalists and I replied to his questions. I shouldn't have done that and I regret it."
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