ONE of Britain’s leading show jumping trainers, who has been involved in the sport for over 70 years, William ‘Willie’ Sheret MBE, has spoken out in support of Bertram Allen following the Irish rider's disqualification after winning the Olympia Grand Prix last Monday.
Sheret, was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2005 for his services to Scottish show jumping, and is he also the honorary vice president of the British Showjumping Association in Scotland.
“What happened to him [Bertram Allen] the other night at Olympia was, in my opinion, wrong,” said Sheret.
“To smash a talent like that with such a strict adherence to the rules, is not consistent with the ethos of our sport, or indeed the views of the vast majority of his peers.
"For me the question is: was the horse abused in winning the class? In my opinion, it wasn't. Indeed, he rode the horse magnificently. I know people will say the rules are the rules and there's logic to this argument. But the rule is clearly flawed and unable to be prescriptively governed, an aspect that quite obviously has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.”
The Glasgow native and winner of the prestigious Foxhunter championship in 1975 continued, “I refuse to believe that Bertram would intentionally hurt his horse to win. That's just not the way the lad comes across. To take his and Quiet Easy's achievement and throw it aside in such a callus and condescending manner is pretty horrible and those of us that have competed know just how hard it is to win a class like that. It left a bitter taste in what was a great show."
Sheret concluded, "I hope this incident leads to a sensible, practical and knowledgeable review of a rule that was exposed as unfit for purpose. And I also hope that Bertram takes all the positives out of his performance and comes back even stronger."
Don’t miss our special Christmas Eve issue of The Irish Field, online from 9.30pm tonight and in shops tomorrow Thursday, where we have much more on the Bertram Allen Olympia fiasco and a full review of the 2015 show jumping season.