Numerous riders struggled to control their horses during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics' pentathlon, and for good reason: they were strangers until being assigned to each other right before the event.
German Olympic Sports Federation president Alfons Hoermann slammed the rules barring rider-horse bonding in a press conference on Saturday. According to a translation from The Guardian, Hoermann said the international equestrian rules require an "urgent overhaul."
"The numerous occasions at the competition yesterday, from literally the first to the last rider, are, we believe, unacceptable," Hoermann said. "They endanger animal welfare and therefore damage the reputation of the sport and the sports men and women."
Germany, Hoermann's home country, was directly involved in the Olympic pentathlon drama.
The German coach Kim Raisner punched Saint Boy, fellow German Annika Schleu's horse, before it entered the arena. Saint Boy then refused to jump, causing Schleu, the medal contender in the Olympic event, to burst into tears and finish 31st. Raisner was banned from the Games for her actions.
Earlier in the competition, Saint Boy refused to allow the Russian Olympic Committee's Gulnaz Gubaydullina to ride him.
International Modern Pentathlon Union president Klaus Schormann rallied against the criticism, claiming a few "not so nice" moments shouldn't detract from the "absolutely excellent" horses and "high quality" facilities.
To Schormann, the athletes -- not the horses -- were at fault for their struggles in the pentathlon.
"We tested them and they were well prepared, and there is no basis for athletes to complain," Schormann told the Irish Examiner. "It is only because of the athletes themselves if they were not successful in some parts of the competition."
The modern pentathlon's governing body, the UIPM, said it would undertake a "full review of the Riding discipline of the Women's Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games" in a statement.