Brazil’s Carlos Ribas won the Mechelen Six Bar yesterday at the famous year-end event. Jumping an impressive 2.05 m, with his new horse Pelvin Z, Carlos celebrated with an exciting display of charisma to a cheering Mechelen crowd. With a presentation that raised the crowd to its feet, Ribas threw his helmet into the air at the end.
However, much to the surprise of fellow Brazilian riders and the general public in Mechelen, FEI eliminated the rider for removing his helmet while mounted. A new rule from FEI, no longer allows rider’s helmets to be removed while the rider is still mounted. Consequently, Ribas was eliminated from his last jump-off and had to settle for finishing fourth.
The popular CSI-W Six Bar event started with fifteen horse-and-rider combinations. The event continued until only four riders remained, of which Carlos Ribas was one. Much to the surprise of both Carlos and his team, his new mount, at the tender age of 9 years old, was jumping his first Six Bar event flawlessly.
Ribas was the last to enter in the final phase and it was known, that since the first three riders committed faults, Carlos would win the event if he was able to jump the final phase clean.
Sure enough, Carlos and Pelvin Z, jumped the final phase beautifully, clearing the final fence at 2.05 meters tall. Encouraged by the public, the charismatic Brazilian made a great gesture to the applauding crowd and removed his helmet. It was the action of removing and throwing his helmet into the air that led the winning rider to be eliminated from the final round.
Excited, Carlos jumped two additional fences following his final Six Bar round. It was this action that led to the elimination according to sources in Mechelen. Jumping two additional fences without a helmet was the action that FEI determined was grounds for elimination.
“This new rule of the FEI will officially enter into force on January 1st, but I did not know it’d be enforced. I know the concern is with the safety and each year new rules are created. But it is something that 99 % of the riders do when the audience interacts and encourages, as a thank you. When I threw the helmet, the public became very euphoric. Despite the punishment, I do not regret having done it” said Carlos after the award presentation. “Surely, the public made a difference in the dispute and jumped with me and I wanted to share the victory with them.”
Carlos finished in fourth place overall, while the other three competitors, Alex Duffy of Ireland, Karline de Brabander of Belgium and Rob of Brujin of the Netherlands, divided the first place victory. “Pelvin Z has been with me only three weeks, but I feel that it is a horse that will still give many delights to Brazil,” added Ribas.