The hype is building and you can’t escape the news about the athletes headed to Rio for the Olympics! As horse lovers, we are especially excited about about the Summer Olympics because we have three main disciplines that compete!
Equestrian sports made their Olympic debut in the 1900 Summer Olympics and then disappeared until returning in 1912. Since then, equestrian sports has been at every single Summer Olympics Games, featuring Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. Until the 1952 Summer Olympics, there were restrictions on who could compete; only commissioned military officers and “gentlemen” could compete. However, in 1952 the rules were changed to allow any male and also females to compete in equestrian disciplines at the Olympics. Each discipline includes individual and team medals and women and men compete equally.
Dressage In The Olympics
Dressage looks drastically different that it did in 1912. Dressage horses are no longer required to jump, the but the tests on the flat are increasingly difficult, focusing on the piaffe and the passage. Today, horses are specifically bred for dressage and have movement abilities far more extravagant than those of the early 20th century.
Eventing In The Olympics
Eventing has evolved continually since the 1912 Olympics. Every ten or so years, the rules and specifications change slightly. The most recent changes include the “short format,” which was introduced in 2004 in Athens. It removed phases A, B, and C from the endurance day. This reduces the amount of space needed to hold an Olympic-level event, which helped prevent the sport from being ousted by the IOC from the Olympic games altogether. While this new format has drawn criticism from athletes, it has become standard competition format.
Jumping In The Olympics
Jumping has also evolved over the years as the industry has evolved. Early fences were more natural, as compared to the brightly colored poles we use today. Fences, in general, were smaller and courses were not as technical.
Today, the Olympic Show Jumping involves five rounds. The maximum height allowed on today’s course is 1.6 meters (5.3 feet), width is a maximum of 2 meters (6.7 feet) for oxers and 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) for triple bars. Water has increased in width to a maximum of 4.5 meters (14.9 feet). The total length is only 500–600 meters, shorter than the earlier years.
Scoring has simplified and was adjusted to a penalty system instead. 4 faults are assessed for a knockdown or if the horse lands in the water or on its edge. The first disobedience incurs 3 faults, the second 6 faults, and the third results in elimination. Fall of horse or rider also results in elimination.
We know you’ll be following at least a little bit of the action at Rio this year, so don’t miss out on all of the latest news, highlights, and viewing of the events!