A coach has been kicked out of the Olympics for punching a horse during the modern pentathlon on Thursday.
Video footage appeared to show German mentor Kim Raisner striking the horse ridden by Annika Schleu, which became spooked and didn’t clear any jumps in the equestrian component of the five-part event.
Schleu, who finished fourth in Rio, was in tears as her horse Saint Boy went rogue, unable to convince him to get around the course and over any jumps.
The German star was in the lead with a gold medal in her sights heading into the equestrian section but it wasn’t long before her hopes of Olympic glory were ripped away. Schleu didn’t register any points and crashed to last place.
Germany’s Annika Schleu struggles with Saint Boy.Source:AFP
The governing body for world pentathlon, UIPM, released a statement saying it had expelled Raisner from the rest of the Games.
“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 statement read.
“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.”
Raiser competed in the modern pentathlon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Show jumping is arguably the most difficult component of modern pentathlon, which also features fencing, swimming, running and shooting. Competitors don’t ride their own horses but instead are assigned a horse they first meet about 20 minutes before the event, and need to try to cajole it into hopping over obstacles.
Saint Boy just didn’t want to jump.Source:Getty Images
The distressing scenes involving a tearful Schleu sparked furious debate online about the treatment of horses in the modern pentathlon. Many felt sorry for the German, lamenting how tough it is for riders to bond with a horse in such a short amount of time, and how cruel the results can be when it doesn’t go to plan.
However, others said it was disturbing to see how riders treated their horses when they didn’t respond to their commands, and found it uncomfortable when horse and rider clearly didn’t gel.
Some were upset at Schleu’s constant whipping of Saint Boy when he wouldn’t do as she liked, while others alleged she dug her spurs into the horse, which caused more outrage and claims of animal cruelty.