Kuerten returns horses to owner
Lady Forbes gets her show-jumpers back after German court order
Published 22/04/2011 | 05:00
A LEADING horse owner yesterday confirmed that her star show-jumpers have been handed back to her, almost five months after she demanded their return from Irish rider Jessica Kuerten.
Lady Georgina Forbes and the top Irish lady rider have been in dispute since the horse owner called a halt to their eight-year business partnership at the end of last December.
Lady Forbes demanded to have her horses back, but Jessica Kuerten refused, citing unsettled financial matters and other concerns.
Last week, Lady Forbes revealed that Mrs Kuerten, her husband Eckhart and a company called Sporthorses Ltd had demanded payment of €1.5m in return for the five show jumpers -- Castle Forbes Libertina, Myrtille Paulois, Vivaldo, Cosma and Paddington -- stabled at the Irish rider's Chesney Farm in Huenxe, Germany.
However on April 6 last, the high court in Dusseldorf instructed that she should give them back, while Lady Forbes was required to provide a surety of €300,000 pending the finalisation of any possible claims.
In a statement yesterday, Lady Forbes said that "Mr and Ms Kuerten and Sporthorses International Ltd at first refused to fulfil the obligations established in the Dusseldorf Regional Court, and only agreed to return the horses on April 20, 2011, after being threatened with compulsory enforcement measures".
Jessica Kuerten issued a statement yesterday in which she said she had agreed to return the horses because the €300,000 had been deposited by her former patron, Lady Forbes, last Monday.
Mrs Kuerten said that the horses were examined before travelling, blood samples were taken "in the interest of Sporthorses Ltd, Jessica Kuerten's company" and that the return of the horses was "fully documented on video tape".
She said the horses' passports were also handed over and that Lady Forbes's legal representatives "received a complete report on the horses' training in recent months and weeks".
She said the horses travelled "a short distance" to the clinic of Dr Marc Cronau at Bochum, Germany, and concluded that she wished "the next rider" all the best and "every success with these horses".
Lady Forbes yesterday said that "the rightful state of affairs has finally been re-established", but that the affair is not quite concluded yet because "the court will now decide on the claims put forward by Mr and Mrs Kuerten and Sporthorses International Ltd".