Jazz Johnson-Merton Under USEF Investigation After Kicking Horse at Hampton Classic
Amateur rider Jazz Johnson-Merton has been placed under investigation by US Equestrian (USEF) following an incident that took place 1st September at Hampton Classic, in which the Johnson & Johnson heiress was caught on camera kicking her horse following a fall.
Johnson-Merton was competing on her horse Joe Cool when she attempted to clear a fence before being dismounted from her saddle as the pair connected with the ground before she was caught on camera kicking her horse in frustration before leading the horse out of the ring in a trot.
The evidence of the rider kicking the horse was provided to USEF and following their review of the footage, they announced that they would be investigating Johnson-Merton’s actions on 21st September.
Following news that US Equestrian were looking to investigate the situation, Johnson-Merton issued an apology for her actions, having a letter that she wrote published in US equestrian magazine Chronicle of the Horse.
The letter recalled the incident as the amateur rider issued her regret for what happened, stating
In the recent incident at the Hampton Classic, I had a very inappropriate emotional response to my horse’s behaviour, one that I have never had before. I was scared and angry, and reacted very badly. For that I am deeply sorry. My reaction was short lived, and immediately after I realised my mistake, I got back on to jump a schooling fence in order to finish the day on a trusting note with this horse.
I can assure you that the apology that I gave to the stewards at the time and this plea to you now is genuine. I will never again exhibit this unprofessional display of aggression and poor sportsmanship.
It pains me to see that I have brought negative attention to our sport, the sport that is most dear to me.
Please accept my apology.
A statement from USEF revealed that they had received both written statements and video evidence supporting the claims that have been made and that they intend to conduct an investigation as they look to ensure that horse welfare and safety are upheld.
The video footage that seems to capture Johnson-Merton’s actions can be seen below.