The Fédération Equestre Internationale Tribunal has suspended U.S. show jumper Andrew Kocher for 10 years and disqualified him from eight events for using electric spurs on horses. He also has been fined $10,889 and ordered to pay costs of $8,166. Kocher was first investigated in June 2020.
In response to the FEI’s finding, Kocher released the following statement. In brief, his defense is that the electric device was never produced (it was reported as “lost”) and that the FEI’s witnesses testified the device did not belong to him. There was no mention of the photos taken on multiple occasions that show a device in Kocher’s hand.
“The FEI’s primary evidence was a video of a device purportedly owned by me. A video of this all-important piece of evidence was presented to the FEI. The FEI did not even take this evidence into their possession for safekeeping. They allowed the witness to keep possession of the device. When I asked to examine the device, they were unable to produce it for inspection. The FEI’s witnesses testified the device did not even belong to me. It belonged to an employee of the same company that I previously mentioned I had sued. FEI witnesses testified that they used the device when they were training their own horses. Those witnesses, by information and belief, were given immunity from their own admitted actions so long as they testified against me.
“The FEI was unable to produce even one steward or show official that ever saw or witnessed the use of the alleged device. Even more astronomical was the FEI Tribunal’s refusal to allow my legal team to review the evidence firsthand when requested a month before the final hearing. They later chose to allow me an opportunity to inspect the device, after two-thirds of the evidence had been heard, and they offered my counsel one hour to examine the device. This was an offer without any real substance because the FEI knew the device was missing. They learned one month earlier that it had mysteriously disappeared and could not be located.
“Even though the FEI knew the device could not be located, they did not alert the FEI Tribunal. Instead, they allowed the FEI Tribunal and my own legal counsel to waste time fighting over an inspection that they knew full well could not take place as the evidence was missing. Interesting to note however that the FEI witness who testified that she lost the device did swear under oath that ‘I can’t find it, not for this hearing … but it could show up later!’
So, what happened to the shocking device? In a court of law, it’s unlikely that Kocher would have been convicted. However, with so much photographic documentation, it appears that he did use it.
What do you think of the ruling? Fair or foul?
7 thoughts on “Andy Kocher Suspended for 10 Years For Electric Spurs”
If he was truly innocent, the narrative would be different and there would be no photographic evidence.
I hate people like this – if you’re an animal abuser, at least stand by your “values” and don’t pretend to be innocent. Cruel AND spineless.
Agreed. There are too many photos from too many different events. Unfortunately, you can learn a lot from a trainer’s methods by watching how their horse behaves. Even when they don’t have a device on them, the horse anticipates. Electronic devices are used in many equestrian disciplines :(.
Here is the patent application for electric spur- note that the purpose is to cause pain without leaving evidence. Since Kocher’s defense depends on the lack of evidence, I can why he choose electric spurs. The horse industry in general and the H/J show scene in particular need to look at why their sport demands that riders cause their horses distress, pain, fear and suffering- in order to win. If horsemen do not hold themselves to account then their social license is at risk. Look at ow hore racing has had to respond tp PETA and other animal activists.
“The invention herein disclosed relates to a horsemans spur construction of the kind especially adapted for use in the training or competitive riding of horses and more particularly to a spur construction having means by which mild electrical shocks can be transmitted to the horse when desired so as to enable the achievement of the desired performance of the horse without injuring or defacing the horse.
In the training of horses and in the competitive riding of horses, such as in rodeos, for example, it frequently is necessary to force a horse to react in a predetermined manner. To accomplish this objective, it is quite common for the rider to wear a spur on each foot and to apply the spurs to the flanks or shoulders of the horse. Many of the spurs currently in use have sharpened tips or rowels which, applied to the horse, produce the desired reaction, but frequently break or wound the horses skin. Such wounds not only can be painful to the horse but also risk infection. In addition, such wounds, when healed, frequently present an unsightly appearance.
An object of this invention is to provide a spur construction which is capable of producing a desired reaction of a horse, but which overcomes the disadvantages of conventional spurs.
Another object of the invention is to provide a spur construction including electrical means operable to transmit to a horse mild electrical shocks under the control of the rider.
A further object of the invention is to provide a spur construction of the character described which is self-contained and operable or inoperable at the will of the rider. “
Hard to imagine someone thinking that it was a good idea to take out a patent od a device meant to inflict pain.
I wish I’d been smart enough to have my husband…a patent attorney..do the research on the spur. But at the time I had no idea that scumbag Kocher would actually DEFEND his actions by saying, no spur, no conviction. ASSHOLE. Oh, worse than asshole but this isn’t my blog and I shan’t use the words I would love to…I’m sure those who read this as well as Liz know the depths of my rage.
People like this should be tied up, wet and naked, so that we can see just how good the spur works on a human. If nothing else, though, at least the FEI manned up and punished him. So often abusers like this get away with it for political reasons.
And finally…Kocher lawyered up for the FEI tribunal. What a farce!! The Tribunal is NOT a court of law, per se, merely a group of people serving as overseers who are empowered to levy fines and, in this case, suspend Kocher (ONLY ten years). being that the FEI Tribunal is not an official board, so to speak, they don’t have to play by typical, US justice or bar association rules. Eat that, Kocher! I do hope that any wins or points or however Jumpers compete were also withdrawn.
The whole idea that someone would even want to patent a torture device like this is pretty horrifying. But it’s quite interesting if you look at what weird things have been patented (my grandfather was a patent attorney and he loved telling us about what he found).
I know what you mean. My husband can do the same thing. Ask me about the ‘worm hole generator’ patent he found…