Evi and Tanya Strasser Provisionally Suspended due to Allegations of Misconduct

Sun, 02/18/2024 - 09:50
Evi Strasser and Deja Vu Tyme at the 2022 CDI Wellington :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Equestrian Canada has provisionally suspended Canadian Grand Prix riders Evi and Tanya Strasser following allegations of misconduct. 

While no official press release has been posted on the Equestrian Canada (EC) website, on the "Safe Sport" part of their website, mother and daughter Stasser are both listed as persons "not in good standing".

Equestrian Canada Statement

Equestrian Canada provided the following statement to Eurodressage:

All allegations of misconduct are received through EC's third-party complaints process. If EC receives a report from our Independent Third Party (ITP) Complaints Manager regarding a complaint they have received that is serious in nature, the respondents are provisionally suspended.

To protect the integrity of the investigation, EC is not provided further details until the investigation is complete and a decision is rendered. We confirm that pursuant to section 17 of EC’s Discipline, Complaints & Appeals Policy, EC has provisionally suspended respondents Evi Strasser and Tanya Strasser-Shostak effective February 17, 2024 from all EC-related business, activities, and events pending the completion of an Investigation. According to section 19, the respondents have the right to request the provisional measures be modified or lifted.

Sanctions are provided on our public website. All EC sport license holders that are suspended for misconduct appear on the ‘other not in good standing’ list found here.

EC asks our community and the public to support the third-party investigative process and allow it to do its job in coming to a fair and expeditious resolution for all parties involved. Anyone that has witnessed or has reasonable grounds to believe that a human or horse is suffering or has suffered abuse in our sport, is obligated to report it and we encourage them to report their concerns here.

Allegations of Misconduct

The cause for the suspension are "allegations of misconduct".

While no photographic/video evidence has been shared through official channels, photos of an allegedly severely mistreated horse in Evi Strasser's barn, were posted on Facebook on 3 December 2023. A "cease and desist" letter from Strasser's lawyer was immediately sent the same day to the person who posted the pictures. 

Tanya Strasser at the 2023 World Young Horse Championships
The case apparently dates back to 2018 and according to sources was reported to Canada's SPCA as well as Equestrian Canada at the time. A second push was claimed to have been made in 2020 with Equestrian Canada as well as SafeSport. In the summer of 2021 SafeSport's Brian Ward got in touch with the person who took the photos, but the case fizzled out.

With the Cesar Parra abuse case making headlines in equestrian press and mainstream media world wide, this case of misconduct in Canada prompted the official bodies to seemingly give priority to the matter.  A provisional suspension became effective on 17 February 2024.

"EC has not been contacted by the FEI regarding misconduct allegations," EC communications manager Melanie McLearon told Eurodressage. "Any reporting, as mentioned, would be referred to our ITP which has had purview over horse welfare complaints since the adoption of our Horse Welfare Code of Conduct in May 2022."

The FEI has not suspended the Strassers, but the FEI legal team will issue a statement to Eurodressage on Monday 19 February. Eurodressage reached out to Evi Strasser, who declined to comment. 

Jahmiah Ferdinand Hodkin of Canada's "Sportdispute" explained that "this is a provisional suspension pending the final adjudication from the hearing panel, therefore no final determination has been made." The Strassers can "seek a review of this suspension."

Photos © Astrid Appels

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