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The equestrian competition in modern pentathlon at the Tokyo Olympics was struck by a scandal when German coach Kim Raisner was thrown home after beating a horse.
The animal welfare organisation Peta, which fights for the Ethical Treatment of animals, has written an open letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In it, IOC President Thomas Bach is called upon to remove equestrian competitions from the Olympic program. From Peta President Ingrid Newkirk, the letter reads:
“The Olympic Games should showcase athletes-not the ability to intimidate and injure horses that do not choose to compete themselves, but still do all the work. Sometimes at the cost of their lives,” she said.
“Just as the Olympics have evolved to include modern sports such as skateboarding, Peta calls on the IOC to refer violent riding disciplines to the history books.«
The letter has not yet given rise to a comment from Thomas Bach.
In modern pentathlon, riders are given an arbitrary horse, so the conditions are equal for all participants. However, this also means that the cooperation between horse and rider is not built up.
For leading Annika Schleu it became crucial, as she could not get her horse to mate right at all. She ended up smoking way out of the medal fight.
But before it got there, Schleu, together with his trainer Kim Raisner, tried to get the horse under control. In the process, Raisner beat the horse, among other things.
This prompted the International Federation of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) to throw Raisner out of the competition, but the Federation reportedly has no plans to change the form of the competition.
However, it is reported that UIPM will initiate measures to ensure better welfare for the horses in the sport – but not remove riding from the sport.
So far, the IOC has not responded.