Irish Show Jumping has been rocked by the news that a major dispute has arisen between the Antrim-born rider and Lady Georgina Forbes, five of whose German based horses Jessica Kürten has been riding, for Ireland, with much success over the past eight years.
Lady Forbes, an Irish citizen herself based in Switzerland, frequently visits her ancestral home in County Longford – the 17th century Castle Forbes in Newtownforbes. It appears that the existing contract between Mrs Kürten and Lady Forbes expired on 31 December 2010.
The former Jessica Chesney, Mrs Kürten was born in Culleybackey, Co Antrim (some three miles from Ballymena) in Nov 1969 and following her marriage to Eckard Kürten moved to Hünxe in the German Rhineland in 1994. She represented Ireland at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 on
Diamond’s Exchange finishing 26th in the individual event and 8th in the team competition and again in 2004 Athens on Castle Forbes Maike, finishing 18th in the individual competition. 2010 proved a very successful year for Jessica – winner of the Rolex FEI World Cup Qualifier at the 5* Mechelen, in
Belgium I and despite an early season injury, finished the year at no.11 in the F.E.I world rankings.
Jessica has spoken to a German website and reportedly said :
“I have been very fortunate to have celebrated many great victories with the horses from Lady Forbes and I am very grateful for this time.
“Both parties have profited from this relationship.”
A spokesman for Jessica later said: “There are financial commitments which need to be cleared up between the owner and the Kürtens, as well as third parties.
“There are diverse details also for the German tax authorities who need to be sorted out due to the fact that Lady Georgina Forbes is Irish and lives in Switzerland.
“It goes without saying that the horses from Lady Georgina Forbes will continue to be provided for and cared for while they are at Jessica Kürten’s facility in Germany”
According to the official spokesperson for Lady Forbes, German solicitor, Eva Jacobs, the dispute is, however, likely to end up in the courts.
The official statement from Eva Jacobs says:
“As an official spokesperson and at the same time legal representative of Lady Georgina Forbes I would like to correct the public statements of Ms Jessica Kürten as follows:
1. It is not correct that Lady Forbes decided not to use her horses in sports events at the moment. The truth is that the contract with Ms Kürten was terminated by Lady Forbes as of December 31, 2010. After Ms Kürten refused – in violation of contractual obligations – to hand over the horses to the owner Lady Forbes after the contract had come to an end, Lady Forbes explicitly forbade her to take part in tournaments with the horses.
2. Since Ms Jessica Kürten refused to surrender Lady Forbes’ horses, Lady Forbes was forced to seek legal support in Germany. A temporary injunction is pending, further legal actions will follow.
3. Ms Jessica Kürten doesn’t have any claims concerning Lady Forbes. Claims raised by Ms Jessica Kürten after the end of the contract don’t have any basis. In case Ms Kürten does not revoke these allegations, Lady Forbes will seek clarification in court concerning this case as well.
4. Ms Kürten refuses to allow a complete examination of the horses by a veterinarian selected by Lady Forbes. Furthermore, Ms Jessica Kürten explicitly refuses to allow this veterinarian to take a blood sample or respectively to hand over a blood sample taken in his presence.
Attorney at law
Roth, Klein, Gilcher & Partner
Following the recent comments from another German based Irish rider, Dennis Lynch that he was withdrawing from the Irish team, following Robert Splaine’s re-confirmation as Team Manager up to the 2012 Olympics, this latest development will come as another unwelcome distraction at a time when
Ireland needs its best riders – and horses – if qualification is to be obtained for the 2012 Games, with only one further opportunity to qualify, in 2011.