The UIPM has confirmed riding is to be dropped from the modern pentathlon programme ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has confirmed riding will be dropped from the sport with a consultation process set to begin to identify a suitable replacement.

The UIPM Executive Board held a meeting this week in which a vote to remove riding from the programme was passed.

A briefing document seen by insidethegames revealed the governing body was concerned for its Olympic future.

In briefing notes sent to members of the UIPM Executive Board before it meets tomorrow, the UIPM warned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would "only accept a proposal without riding" for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic programme, set to be decided in December.

The sport has faced criticism after German coach Kim Raisner was sent home from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics following video footage showing her punching the horse Saint-Boy during the riding section of the event.

Several horses refused to jump, including Saint-Boy, ridden by Germany’s Annika Schleu, who was leading the competition before the riding discipline.

Athletes have reacted with concern to the news, revealed earlier this week, leading to the UIPM to release an open letter to explain the decision.

The UIPM said the decision was "necessary to save modern pentathlon in the future".

"We know that this information will be surprising and even shocking to you," it added.

"It is not very long since we made a commitment to review and protect the riding discipline in the wake of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"But life within the Olympic movement changes fast.

"While our sport is confirmed for Paris 2024 with our exciting new format in place (including riding), Los Angeles 2028 is a different matter and we must be flexible and embrace change once again."

The riding discipline generated controversy at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
The riding discipline generated controversy at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

"Once again, we find ourselves writing to ask for your support, your patience, your cooperation and collaboration – because we cannot implement the changes needed without athletes forming a strong backbone in our community," the letter continues.

"This is a very important moment for modern pentathlon – and for the wider Olympic programme.

"We would be making a mistake if we were to take our place in the Olympic programme for granted past Paris 2024.

"It is not granted for us, it is not granted for anybody.

"We really need to make sure that in that new environment, with all of these new sports that have demonstrated strength and a lot of traction with people and media, we have to make sure that our sport if flawless.

"Our sport continues to lag behind in development and growth due to a number of circumstances – and one of them is, very importantly, the horses.

"We have to finally take a decision on that matter – it is necessary to save modern pentathlon in the future."

The UIPM said athletes will be "centrally involved" in the consultation process to find a sport to replace riding.

Cycling has been mooted as a potential option.

The UIPM released a series of criteria which will guide the search for a replacement.

The governing body said the discipline would have to fit the narrative of the Baron Pierre de Coubertin in searching for the "most complete athlete".

The UIPM claimed athletes would be
The UIPM claimed athletes would be "centrally involved" in the consultation process to find a replacement for riding ©Getty Images

The discipline must also fit inside their new pentathlon stadium and urban settings, fit within their new 90-minute format and continue their handicap start and continuous event concept.

Criteria includes the discipline allowing for global accessibility and universality, being attractive to global youth and provide gender equality and fairness.

The discipline must also be low cost for athletes and organisers, result in minimum injury rates and easy to learn based on athletes’ existing skills.

The UIPM briefing document had claimed the organisation had to take a decision prior to the UIPM Congress, scheduled to be held in Monaco from November 26 to 28.

The document claimed "our sport could already be off the Olympic programme at that time".

The UIPM claimed it needed to present a solution to the IOC before November 24, prior to the scheduled meeting of the Olympic Programme Commission at the end of the month.

Riding will remain on the modern pentathlon programme for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, alongside swimming, fencing and laser run.