Big Bang Theory star Kayley Cuoco has come to the rescue after witnessing a horse getting punched at the Olympics in a scene she described as “disgusting” and “classless”.
The 35-year-old has offered to buy the horse at the centre of the drama, Saint Boy, and give it a permanent home.
“This rider and her ‘trainer’ are a disgrace. I’ll buy that horse outright and show it the life it should have. Name your price,” Cuoco wrote on Instagram.
Cuoco was responding to the disturbing scenes which unfolded in the showjumping discipline of the women’s Modern Pentathlon at Tokyo 2020.
German pentathlete Annika Schleu was comfortably leading the women’s standings on Friday before she was dramatically eliminated from the competition as distressed gelding Saint Boy refused to jump hurdles.
With each refusal Schleu’s frustration grew, and the German finally let out a scream that echoed through the empty stadium as tears poured down her face.
Her coach, Kim Raisner, urged her to hit the traumatised horse. Her orders to “really hit it,” were heard live back in Germany, triggering a wave of criticism around the world.
Raisner herself punched the horse once above the back leg, in vision you can see in the video above.
“I feel it’s my duty and heart to comment on this disgrace… This is not Olympic show jumping,” Cuoco wrote.
“This is a disgusting, classless, abusive representation of our sport in so many ways. This team should be ashamed of themselves.”
Addressing both Schleu and Raisner, Cuoco was livid.
“You and your team did not do your county proud, or this sport. You make us look bad. Shame on you and godspeed to any animal that comes in contact with you.”
The actress, whose husband Karl Cook is a horse trainer, is an avid equestrian fan and has spoken publicly of her love for horses in the past.
Last year she spoke glowingly about Cook and his care for his animals.
“He’s the hardest working and most empathetic rider I’ve ever seen… He always feels the horses’ needs come first, and everything else is secondary,” Cuoco wrote.
“In a sport that has so many ups and downs, he knows how to stay balanced and keep things even-keeled. I’m constantly impressed by him in every single way!”
Fallout continues over horse punch
Meanwhile, Modern Pentathlon’s governing body has released an in-depth statement after Germany coach Raisner was banished from the Tokyo Olympics over the showjumping incident.
“We were all in agreement that the coach will not be at the (men’s) competition on Saturday,” Germany’s Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann said, regarding the decision to ban Raisner jointly made with the International Union of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM).
The UIPM said it will conduct a review into the competition.
“The events of August 6, 2021 in the Tokyo Stadium have caused distress both inside and outside the global UIPM sports community,” the statement read on Sunday.
“Not only will UIPM conduct a full review of the Riding discipline of the women’s Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it will also reinforce the importance of horse welfare and athlete safety across the entire global competition structure.
“UIPM regrets the trauma suffered by Saint Boy in this high-profile incident and has penalised the coach who violated the UIPM competition rules by striking the horse from outside the ring.
“Although no athlete or horse was physically injured on August 6, the best possible safeguards must be in place to minimise risk in future.”
The organisation also responded to calls for changes, including by Hoermann, regarding a rule that pentathletes are introduced to their showjumping horses just 20 minutes before the competition.
“Riding is an integral part of the Modern Pentathlon … The ability to control a horse in a competitive situation is part of the pentathlon toolkit,” the UIPM said.
“The Olympic champion must prove they can swim, fence, ride, shoot and run to a high level to earn the coveted gold medal.
“The unpredictability of athletes riding on unfamiliar drawn horses, with only 20 minutes to establish an understanding, is part of the dramatic spectacle that makes Modern Pentathlon unique and compelling.
“While the number of refusals and falls on August 6 was slightly above average, the Olympic Games is designed as the most challenging of all competitions. The experience of Annika Schleu and Gulnaz Gubaydullina (ROC) on Saint Boy was unusual in high-level Modern Pentathlon, especially for riders of their proven ability.
“That said, UIPM has a duty of care to all participants in the competitions it oversees; this includes the Olympic Games and it includes horses.
“Changes in riding were already in the pipeline due to the new Modern Pentathlon format coming into force in 2022 for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.
“Horse welfare and athlete safety will be at the centre of this process and the UIPM 2021 Congress in November will provide an opportunity for UIPM’s national member federations to participate in a collective effort to secure the future of Riding in Modern Pentathlon.”