The Tokyo Olympics sure has brought equestrian sports to center stage, especially due to the Annika Schleu debacle (in which the German rider whipped the horse endlessly, in order to get him to move, and her coach even punched the horse).
After a huge outcry, The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne has decided to replace equestrianism with obstacle racing. Athletes have opposed this decision, and a poll shows that 95% of the participant athletes are unhappy about this change.
Obstacle racing had been chosen from dozens of other options because it was “dynamic and attractive to global audiences”, and had “a simple and safe infrastructure for training”. The new discipline will be added to the sport after the Paris 2024 Olympics – which means Paris will still have horseback riding as part of Modern Pentathlon.
According to a report in the Guardian, several leading stars of the sport had written to the International Olympic Committee, asking them to intervene. The IOC president, Thomas Bach, seems to support the change, so he’s not likely to change this decision.
The Annika Schleu debacle
Here’s a video reminder of the Annika Shcleu horror show: