After the ride drama about modern pentathlete Annika Shloo at the Olympics in Tokyo, national coach Kim Risner vehemently opposed allegations of cruelty to animals. “I’m far from torturing animals. I love animals, I love horses. We do not beat our horses,” said the 48-year-old from the German press. He talks about riding rules and sometimes violent reactions to incidents in Tokyo.
How did you enjoy the competition scenes and did your comment match the picture drawn in general?
It’s a cutout. Annika came to the warm area very relaxed in the hope that the horses could be relocated. But by the rules, we have no chance. This will only work if a rider falls down twice or the horse refuses four times. So Annika had to ride this horse.
Everything was fine during the ride, the horse and the rider trusted each other. The owner of the horse also came there and gave us tips. When Annika tried to get out, the horse did not move forward. Until then she had a great match, a great lead and the laser run was very good. With half the normal travel she could have gotten one more medal or a better job.
What’s going on in your head?
At that moment I thought she should get out of this corner and let the horse go, then she still has a chance to do it. But the horse did not want to. Annika noticed it and was just frustrated.
Of course I ask, as a rider, she uses the opportunities she has, with the help there, to try to get the horse out of this corner. Of course you are emotional there, including me. One can now argue about whether the choice of words is correct or whether it is too harsh.
If you want to ride the horse forward, you have to leave the control done by Annika and hit its back. But you don’t beat your horse with it. It was a whip useful.
What do you think about the allegations of animal welfare risk and animal cruelty?
It is very difficult for me. Do not like the horse, we have already seen with the forerunner. Of course I wanted to relocate the horses. One may ask you whether it should be included in these terms, to whom this second ride takes place, and then take another horse, so that the athlete has the opportunity to prove his riding ability. But it doesn’t help Annika anymore, the terms don’t provide it.
Looking back, do you regret choosing the words?
Yes, in retrospect you can say that it is very severe. I know slapping on the back too, it doesn’t have to be, but it doesn’t feel good. The horse almost kicked the people who opened the door because it kicked backwards. Then it came to me.
But it is now presented in the way that horses are generally treated, which is not true. I am far from torturing animals. I love animals and horses just like Annika. We don’t beat our horses.
Did the exceptional circumstance make you act like this?
Of course it was emotional. When you see that you do not want to miss any opportunity. Of course you are ambitious there too.
How did you find out you were banned from sports?
This was the only press release from the World Union.
What reactions do you have now, and how do you deal with them?
It hit Annika so badly that she got the news on Instagram. It goes from bitch to animal tormentor. I got messages like “you have to succeed at it” and all of that kind. They are attacks. There are bitch-like expressions as well, which is not good to read.
In your opinion, should you have played differently in the competition and not let the horse compete?
The course was good and the quality of the horses was good. If a horse collides twice with an obstacle, the horse will naturally say, it hurt me so much, I will not jump anymore. I know it leads to repeated arguments on a strange horse, but this game comes with it, and that is what defines our game. At the Olympics, the whole world watches, and then an entire sport is determined very quickly. (dpa)