The FEI has released a full statement regarding the death of Flogas Sunset Cruise, a gray 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion co-owned by Vinnie Duffy and the horse’s rider Kevin Thornton who collapsed and died at the GPA Jumping Festival in France earlier this week.

The FEI has launched a full investigation into the death of the horse Flogas Sunset Cruise (FEI ID 103KQ92), ridden by Kevin Thornton (IRL), which occurred at the Cagnes-sur-Mer racetrack in France on Monday 10 October.

We are in direct contact with the Cagnes-sur-Mer Organising Committee, which has filed a report on the incident with the police. A post mortem is scheduled to be carried out on the horse today.

The welfare of our equine athletes is our number one priority and, although this incident took place on a rest day between two international events, the FEI has rules in place that mean any horse welfare issues can be addressed, even if they happen outside the duration of an FEI event.

In order to protect the integrity of the investigation we will not give any further comment at this point in time.

Kevin Thornton has vehemently denied the claims that he caused the horse to collapse. Witnesses say he was riding the horse for several hours while a groom got after the horse from the ground using a dressage whip. He insisted that witnesses were confused by his several gray mounts and he had only been riding 20 minutes when Flogas collapsed.

We will provide additional details as we receive them.