Olympic horse cruelty probe to be dropped

Saint Boy was hit by rider Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner after a bad round at Tokyo 2020.

Saint Boy was hit by rider Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner after a bad round at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Getty

German prosecutors will drop an animal cruelty investigation into an athlete and a coach who were shown striking a horse during the Olympic modern pentathlon last year.

The investigation will be dropped once athlete Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner have paid an agreed sum to an unnamed charitable organisation, prosecutors in the eastern city of Potsdam said on Tuesday (local time).

Schleu lost her chance of a gold medal when the horse Saint Boy, which was assigned to her at random, refused to cooperate during the showjumping round of the modern pentathlon in Tokyo.

TV footage showed Schleu repeatedly used the whip and being urged to strike the horse by Raisner. The coach was also shown leaning over a fence to strike Saint Boy.

Prosecutors said they decided to drop the investigation because the horse was not injured, the conduct in question happened only “briefly,” and because the Olympics constituted an “exceptional physical and psychological situation”.

The prosecutors added that, since modern pentathlon’s governing body planned to remove riding from the sport, a repeat of the incident was unlikely.

Raisner was suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after the incident and later ordered to undergo animal welfare training before attending any International Modern Pentathlon Union competitions.

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