A German modern pentathlon coach has been thrown out of this year’s Olympics for punching a horse during competition.
Kim Raisner was attempting to help rider Annika Schleu, who was visibly struggling to control horse Saint Boy ahead of the showjumping round of the women’s event on Friday.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union reviewed the footage which showed Raisner “appearing to strike the horse… with her fist” and these actions were unsurprisingly deemed to be against the rules.
The world governing body for modern pentathlon then issued a statement, detailing the extent of Raisner’s punishment.
“The UIPM Executive Board (EB) has given a black card to the Germany team coach Kim Raisner, disqualifying her from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The EB reviewed video footage that showed Ms Raisner appearing to strike the horse Saint Boy, ridden by Annika Schleu, with her fist during the riding discipline of the women’s modern pentathlon competition.
“Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM competition rules, which are applied to all recognised modern pentathlon competitions including the Olympic Games. The EB decision was made today at the Tokyo Stadium before the resumption of the men’s modern pentathlon competition.”
Raisner was also heard urging Schleu to whip Saint Boy harder, despite the horse clearly being in an unfit state to compete.
The horse had already refused to jump for the Russian Olympic Committee’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina earlier in the competition and the Pentathlon Union said Saint Boy had been “traumatised by the previous rider” even before Schleu competed.
Many on social media were quick to speak out on the incident. Athlete campaign group Athleten Deutschland urged the modern pentathlon to consider altering its rules in order “to ensure animal protection and appropriate competition conditions for the athletes in future.”
Meanwhile, others suggested that Schleu’s inability to control the horse was ultimately down to rider error. Britain’s Samantha Murray, a former Olympic silver medallist in modern pentathlon at London 2012, stressed: “You just wish she [Schleu] would’ve let her reins loose and rode more with her leg.”
The UIPM are yet to say whether Raisner will face any further punishment.