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An equestrian banned by horse competition’s national governing body for conspiring to kill a horse in an insurance scam has been permanently enjoined from attending any competitions as a spectator. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard F. Braun has ruled that Barney Ward, an accomplished rider and show jumper, had violated a 1999 court order granted to American Horse Shows Association Inc. (AHSA) by watching his son, McLain Ward, a champion rider, compete at events in the United States. The judge on Tuesday granted the Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction in American Horse Shows Association Inc. v. Barney Ward, 107408/99. The decision is due to be published today. The Association had previously expelled Barney Ward until 2009, when he will be eligible to apply for reinstatement, and barred him from competing and attending events as a participant, exhibitor or spectator. In 1994, Barney Ward was indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He pleaded guilty two years later, admitting that he had conspired to kill a horse so that one of its owners could collect on an insurance policy. Ward, who also admitted to threatening to kill the drifter he hired to slaughter the horse and offering him hush money, was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Justice Leland G. DeGrasse had held Barney Ward in contempt in March for appearing at a competition, and the judge later denied Ward’s motion to modify the order to allow him to attend horse show events in which his son was participating. The Association’s punishment of Barney Ward was not disproportionate to that given to others who violated the group’s rules, Braun wrote. “Plaintiff has the right to keep unsavory people away from the horse shows that it oversees, even if only to prevent the appearance of impropriety,” the judge said. “Defendant pled guilty to most reprehensible actions.” Although the elder Ward would like to see his son at equestrian competitions, Braun noted, “[d]efendant should have considered the consequences of his actions before he put himself in the position which he is in now.” Even though Barney Ward had resigned from the AHSA before it disciplined him, he had agreed to be bound by its rules, including those relating to violations and penalties, Braun wrote. The judge, however, declined to grant damages and attorneys’ fees to the Association. Barney Ward was a former member of the U.S. equestrian team and a World Cup finalist several times. McLain Ward, his 25-year-old son, was named Rider of the Year for 1998 by the American Grand Prix Association. McLain Ward was suspended and fined by the AHSA in 1999 for two incidents, according to the Association. One involved a competition in Germany in which small plastic pieces fell from his horse during a bandage and boot inspection, an infraction that disqualified both horse and rider. Another incident involved a horse that was trained by Ward and that had tested positive for cocaine. McLain Ward denied involvement or knowledge of the violations, but accepted a suspension and fine as the “person responsible” for the horses under international equestrian rules and as the animals’ trainer. Paul T. Williams Jr., and Robin Kitzes Silk of Bryan Cave represented Barney Ward. Ira A. Finkelstein of Blank Rome Tenzer Greenblatt represented the AHSA.

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