Horse riding removed from modern pentathlon following abuse allegations at 2020 Olympics

After it was heavily criticized during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, horse riding will be removed from the modern pentathlon.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) said in a statement that the changes will be implemented for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

It’s being called a “historic move,” as the discipline was first introduced in 1912 in Stockholm.

Getty Images / Stanislav Krasilnikov / Contributor

Despite its long history in the Olympics, the horse riding portion of the modern pentathlon received a lot of attention during the 2020 games when Germany’s modern pentathlon coach Kim Raisner was caught on camera repeatedly punching a horse.

Raisner also encouraged Annika Schleu to “really hit” Saint Boy, the horse she had been assigned to ride, when it refused to jump.

Raisner was disqualified from the remainder of the Olympics.

Following the controversy, UIPM said it would review the event as well as discipline Raisner.

“We also consider that an urgent review of the incident is necessary, especially in terms of animal protection, and that the national and international federations draw their conclusions,” Germany’s Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann said, according to Reuters.

On Friday, the modern pentathlon’s governing body announced that horse riding would no longer be included in the five-event sport. While The Guardian has reported cycling will be its replacement, it has not been confirmed.

Mixed reactions

PETA welcomed the change to the sport.

“The world’s attitude toward the exploitation of horses has evolved, and there’s no room for punishing terrified animals in the show ring. PETA looks forward to the new cruelty-free pentathlon,” the organization said in a statement.

“I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing,” British Olympian Greg Whyte said. “Back in the day, the fencing part alone used to take 14 hours, while in Paris the whole event will last just 90 minutes. All sports evolve, and no sport is immune from change in the modern TV era.”

However, former British modern pentathlete Kate Allenby who won a bronze medal in 2000 called it a “disaster.”

Joe Choong, who competes for Team Great Britain, expressed his displeasure for the change on Twitter.

What are your thoughts on the change? Are you glad to see horse riding removed from the event?

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