Mum’s horse fight: ‘I’d be treated better if I hit someone’
A DISPUTE over her daughter's scorecard at a dressage competition has sparked a bitter stoush between a Brisbane single mother and the state's peak Equestrian body, which has banned the parent from attending competitions, claiming she called a judge a "cheat" and a "liar".
Olivia Scott-Young also has been slapped with a $2000 fine by the organisation after confronting a judge about allegedly changing her daughter Piper's scorecard at the Youth Dressage Championships held in Queensland in June last year.
She has been banned from watching Piper compete for 12 months from October after the peak body alleged she breached the sport's Code of Conduct for parents and guardians by making the comments and putting a judge under duress.
But Ms Scott-Young, who denies making the comments, says the incident is a case of mistaken identity and it was her twin sister Phillipa Bowden who said the words "cheat" and "liar".
She wants the ban removed and the fine lifted so she can watch her daughter compete.
"They have got our voices mixed up … If they've heard something it was probably out of my mouth, because I was the one that was upset. She was the calm one," Ms Bowden told a disciplinary tribunal held by Equestrian Queensland in September last year.
She later said: "I probably said, if the shoe fits, and you probably are a cheat and a liar. It was me. I do not, hand on my heart, hear my sister using those words".
Ms Bowden confirmed to The Sunday Mail she made this statement, despite Equestrian Queensland finding she had given conflicting evidence in the tribunal hearing.
Ms Scott-Young said years working for United Airlines taught her to "keep her emotions in check" and was further evidence she could not have engaged in uncontrolled behaviour on the day in question.
Following the tribunal hearing, Equestrian Queensland recommended the mother be fined for breaching the Equestrian Australia General Regulation that states "incorrect behaviour toward event officers or any other party connection with the event" would subject the person with a fine and/or suspension.
The letter also said several comments made on Facebook by Ms Scott-Young about the tribunal showed a lack of contrition and did not align with the code of conduct or "values of Equestrian Queensland."
They asked her to provide an apology to the body and the judges; agree in writing to remove all social media posts; and refrain from making similar posts in the future.
A later letter from Equestrian Queensland chief executive officer Briston Toft to Ms Scott-Young said licensed security or police would be called to remove her if she tried to attend an event where her daughter was riding to "to protect members, the integrity of the sport and the rules that govern the sport".
Ms Scott-Young is refusing to pay the penalty, saying she is not a member of the sport and it was her sister, who was not a parent or guardian, that made the comments.
The successful real estate agent and nurse has described tactics, including sending debt collectors to recover the $2000, as oppressive and bullying.
She has compared Equestrian Queensland's regulations to the oppressive laws in the fictional city of Gilead from Margaret Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
"They throw around words like natural justice and procedural fairness but I would have been treated better if I'd been a drink driver or hit someone in the street because the punishment I got didn't match the crime and at least in a criminal court I would have had a jury or a judge making a decision," she said.
"It's like Gilead. Everyone is so frightened to speak or you'll be put on the wall, they put me on the wall."
Ms Scott-Young says she has now spent $12,000 defending the penalty.
Documents sighted by The Sunday Mail show that the peak body this week offered to withdraw the fine and suspension on the condition Ms Scott-Young agree not to disclose information related to the incident.
The proposed nondisclosure and confidentiality undertaking also called on the woman to apologise for her actions.
Ms Scott-Young refused to agree to the terms, saying she wants other families who may be in the same situation to feel they can come forward.
"There is a culture of fear of speaking up," Ms Scott-Young said.
"They tried to gag me because I defended myself and I'm not going to let them abuse their power and privilege.
"I hope we can learn something from what has happened to my family because I now have a daughter who has lost all joy in riding."
Equestrian Queensland chief executive officer Briston Toft told The Sunday Mail "all members of Equestrian Queensland along with the parents and guardians of junior members are required to abide by the Equestrian Australia Code of Conduct".
He said Ms Scott-Young agreed to abide by the Parents Code of Conduct in January 2019.
"On 11 October 2019, Ms Scott-Young was advised of the penalty determined by the independent tribunal and advised of the procedure to appeal the decision," he said.
"Ms Scott-Young chose not to submit an appeal to have the matter reconsidered.
"Equestrian Queensland has been attempting to work with Ms Scott-Young to resolve the matter, which has included the suspension of debt recovery action on 27 February 2020."
Originally published as Mum's horse fight: 'I'd be treated better if I hit someone'