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Dressage champion urges equestrian chiefs not to ban her rescue mule from competition

Wallace the rescue mule who beat his purebred rivals to become a dressage champion faces being BANNED from competition because his father is a donkey

  • Wallace the Great won his right to compete after a social media campaign 
  • International Federation for Equestrian Sports now threatening to change rules 
  • Rider Christie Mclean said: ‘Wallace is a unique animal and it would be a real shame if this rule goes through’ 

A rescue mule who has triumphed against adversity to win dressage competitions against purebred horses now faces being barred from the sport. 

Wallace the Great won over the nation’s hearts on social media when an online campaign allowed him to enter British Dressage competitions. 

Christie Mclean, 32, rode Wallace to victory last year in his first official competition in the sport – which sees horses ‘dance’ in highly skilled routines. 

 

Wallace the Great won over the nation’s hearts on social media when an online campaign allowed him to enter British Dressage competitions

Wallace the Great

Christie Mclean, 32, rode Wallace to victory last year in his first official competition in the sport - which sees horses 'dance' in highly skilled routines

Christie Mclean, 32, rode Wallace to victory last year in his first official competition in the sport – which sees horses ‘dance’ in highly skilled routines

But Wallace’s talent appears to have upset senior equestrian enthusiasts and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) is now considering a change to its rule book which would stop him from entering.   

The determined 12-year-old was rescued by a donkey sanctuary seven years ago after he appeared in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and started eating residents’ flowers.

He is the hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse and was previously allowed to compete because the rule book stated that a horse is defined as being ‘born from a mare’. 

But an FEI spokesman told the Sunday Times that they are planning to change their rules. 

Wallace's talent appears to have upset senior equestrian enthusiasts and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) is now considering a change to its rule book which would stop him from entering

Wallace’s talent appears to have upset senior equestrian enthusiasts and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) is now considering a change to its rule book which would stop him from entering

They said: ‘The Italian national federation has put forward a proposal to amend the definition of horse to clarify that mules are not considered horses and therefore cannot compete in FEI competitions. The proposal is supported by the FEI board.’ 

Ms Mclean told the Sunday Times: ‘Wallace is a unique animal and it would be a real shame if this rule goes through. I think it would cause uproar.’ 

Wallace was rescued from County Antrim and transported to a Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon, where he was looked after by Lesley Radcliffe – a friend of Ms Mclean. 

After Wallace wowed judges in unofficial competitions, Mclean approached British Dressage in June last year to ask if he could compete. 

Ms Mclean told the Sunday Times: 'Wallace is a unique animal and it would be a real shame if this rule goes through. I think it would cause uproar'

Ms Mclean told the Sunday Times: ‘Wallace is a unique animal and it would be a real shame if this rule goes through. I think it would cause uproar’

He was rejected at first, but an online ‘Justice for Wallace’ campaign forced them to reconsider. 

His first official competition, which saw him win with a score of 67.6 per cent, was held at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre near Gloucester on July 22 last year. 

Wallace has become so adored that he was even a special guest at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park last August. 

While the FEI’s recommended change will be voted on in Moscow in November, British Dressage said that Wallace had been a pioneer of the sport and he may still be allowed to compete. 

Winnie Murphy, of British Dressage, said that while they usually follow FEI rules, they are not compulsory for its affiliated competitions so the matter would be considered by its sports operations technical committee.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk