Olympic show jumper Rich Fellers and his wife, Shelley, have been placed on a U.S. Center for SafeSport interim suspension list for “allegations of misconduct,” pending a formal investigation and final decision. As a result, Shelley and Rich, who in 2012 became the first American rider to win the FEI World Cup final in 25 years, are prohibited from participating in U.S. Equestrian Federation-licensed shows or being on the showgrounds.
As usual in these cases, there are no specifics revealed about the allegations at this stage, but Rich’s former student, 18-year-old Maggie Kehring, posted an explanation on her Facebook page of why she went to SafeSport about the couple.
“I know it is hard for my peers, friends, coaches, and strangers to understand the suspension of my former trainer and his wife,” she stated.
“It is important to know this investigation and process has been underway for many, many months. I initially didn’t want to participate in the SafeSport process out of confusion and fear. I struggled with the thought the world would know that what occurred to me for many years would lead to someone America came to love to possibly be banned from the sport,” continued Maggie, who now trains at Oakland Stable with Hardin Towell and Darragh Kenny.
“Reading what people have posted on social media is cruel and heartless. I can only hope what happened to me never happens to them or someone they love. No one needs to take sides. What happened to me is something I can never get back and I am working every day on coping with that realization. Things were taken from me that people will simply not understand. I don’t understand why me, either,” added Maggie, who rode in her first 1.50-meter grand prix in 2019.
“But I can assure you of this, what happened, happened! There is no revenge, there are no lies. Just the pure and simple truth. I know my future holds people who will look at me with anger and those that will support me. Just know, I was a junior.”
Rich did not respond to a request for comment.
The national federation issued a statement saying, “USEF takes allegations of misconduct very seriously, and will enforce the temporary suspensions put in place by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, but, most importantly, respect the privacy and confidentiality of the process for all parties involved.”