The Olympics - Equestrianism At The Olympics
The Olympic games are an International event that cover a wide range of different sports, the equestrian sports held at the event are Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing with both team and individual medals awarded for each discipline.
When Are The Olympics
The Olympic games are held every 4 years with the next games being held in 2012 in London.
Olympic motto : "Citius Altius Fortius" which means faster, higher, stronger.
Olympic rings: designed in 1913, adopted in 1914 and used in the antwerp olympics in 1920
Olympic Equestrian Disciplines - Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing.
- Veterinary inspections take place before the competition begins and also during the games to ensure that all the horses are in excellent condition and are fit and ready to compete.
- All horses must be over the age of seven in order to compete.
- There are strict regulations connected with the use of drugs given to competing horses at the Olympic Games.
Olympic Show Jumping History
- Show Jumping was included in the 1900 Olympic games in Paris, France with the courses smaller and as technical as they are today.
- Horses were required to carry a weight of 165 pounds.
- Only male cavalry officers were allowed to compete.
- In the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm the course included approximate 15 jumps some of which were jumped more than once.
- The height of the jumps was around 1.4 meters
- The width of the water jump was around 4 meters.
- At the 1924 Games in Antwerp there were 14 obstacles
- The height of the fences was 1.3 to 1.4 meters high.
- The water jump was 4 meters wide.
- The 1932 Olympics consisted of 20 jumping efforts with the height of the course increasing to between 1.4 and 1.6 meters high with the width of the water jump increasing to 5 meters wide.
- By the1952 Helsinki Games men and women civilians were allowed to compete.
- The show jumping height is now 1.6 meters with the width of the fences being a maximum of 2 meters or 2.2 meters for a triple bar. The water jump distance is now a maximum of 4.5 meters.
- The current Olympic format is held over 5 rounds to determine the team and individual medals. There are four riders in each team with the top three scores counting towards the total for each nation. Each riders score is taken and added to their individual score with only the top fifty individuals going forward to Round Three, which is where the team medals are decided. The individual medals are decided in the fifth and final round.
Olympic Dressage History
- 1900's Only male cavalry officers were allowed to compete.
- At the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden the Dressage test to be performed did not include any Piaffe or Passage and was held in a 20 x 40 meter arena. The horses had to perform various school movements such as figure of eights, rein back, flying changes and circles.
- As well as completing a dressage test, horse and rider then had to jump a small course of show jumps and then ride around an obedience test.
- By 1920 the dressage test included some collected walk, trot and canter. Extended trot, counter canter and 4, 3, 2 and 1 time tempi changes.
- In 1932 Piaffe and Passage were included in the test.
- By 1936 canter pirouettes and 5 loop serpentines were added to the test.
- At the 1948 Olympics Renvers, half pass, tempi changes and canter pirouettes were included in the test and Piaffe and passage were removed due to the lack of preparation time available before the Olympic games due to world war 2.
- In 1952 men and women civilians were allowed to compete as well as cavalry officers.
- In 1996 the Grand Prix Freestyle was introduced. The freestyle gives the rider the chance to put together their own sequence of set movements and then put them to their own choice of music.
- The format for today's dressage is firstly the Grand Prix Dressage test to decides the team medals. This is then followed by the Grand Prix Special whereby the top 13 competitors go forward to the Grand Prix Freestyle which determines the individual medals.
History Of Equestrianism At The Olympic Games Continued:
Olympic Eventing History
- At the 1912 Stockholm Olympics eventing was first introduced, but it was only open to military personnel.
- The eventing program was held over 5 days.
- The first day was the endurance phase which involved doing 55 km within 4 hours on the roads followed by a 5 km cross country course.
- The horses were given a day off on the second day.
- On the third day a 3.5 km Steeplechase course that comprised of approximately10 fences was undertaken.
- The fourth day was the Jumping Test which involved around 15 jumps of 1.3 meters high.
- The fifth and final day involved a dressage test which was much simpler than that of modern tests today and all the horses were to be ridden in a double bridle.
- At the 1912 Olympics horses also had to carry a minimum weight of 176 pounds, which is approximately 12.5 stone.
- At the 1920 games the Dressage test was completely removed.
- The first day had the endurance test which was reduced from 55 km to 45 km and was to be completed within 3.5 hours and was still followed straight away by the cross country phase that comprised of approximately 18 fences of around 1.10 to 1.15m.
- On the second day competitors had to do a further 20 km roads and tracks which was followed by a 4000 meter steeplechase course. The horses had to pass a vet inspection after the roads and tracks phase in order to continue.
- The show jumping phase consisted of approximately 18 jumps of 1.25 meters high.
- At the 1920 Games Horses were required to carry a weight of 165 pounds, which is approximately 11.7 stone.
- At the 1924 Games in Paris the dressage phase was reintroduced.
- The dressage was held on the first two days due to the number of competitors and the size of the arena was increased to 20 by 60 meters.
- On the third day competitors had to complete 5 phases known as Phases A,B C, D and E also called the long format. Phase A was a 7 km roads and tracks followed by phase B a 4 km steeplechase course then phase C a further 15 km of roads and tracks followed by phase D a 8 km cross country course and finally phase E a 2 km canter.
- The show jumping phase was held on the last day.
- In 1952 at the Helsinki Games, women were allowed to compete in the Equestrian Olympics.
- 1968 Mexico Olympics the 2 km canter after the cross country phase was completely removed.
- The weight that horses were required to carry was reduced to 154 pounds or 11 stone in 1996
- At the 2004 Games in Athens the format for the cross country changed from the long format with phases A,B,C and D being reduced to just phase D the cross country, this format is known as the short format.
Countries that have held Olympic Games
1896 Athens, Greece (no equestrian games)
1900 Paris, France
1904 St. Louis, United States. (no equestrian games)
1908 London, Great Briton. (no equestrian games)
1912 Stockholm, Sweden.
1916 Berlin, Germany. - (Cancelled)
1920 Antwerp, Belgium.
1924 Paris, France.
1928 Amsterdam, Netherlands.
1932 Los Angeles, United States
1936 Berlin, Germany.
1940, Tokyo, Japan. (cancelled)
1944, London, Great Briton. (cancelled).
1948, LOndon, Great Briton.
1952 Helsinki, Finland.
1956 Stockholm, Sweden
1960 Rome, Italy
1964 Tokyo, Japan.
1968 Mexico City, Mexico.
1972 Munich, Germany.
1976 Montreal, Canada.
1980 Lake Placid, United States
1984 Los Angeles, United States
1988 Seoul, South Korea.
1992 Barcelona, Spain.
1996 Atlanta, United States
2000 Sydney, Australia.
2004 Athens, Greece.
2008 Beijing, China
2012 London, Great Britain.