Equestrian sports at the 2012 Olympics are sure to be popular with both fans and those new to the sport. Those who enjoy traditional horse racing over jumps will find eventing and show jumping just as thrilling.
The action will take place in a new purpose built arena at Greenwich Park in London from 28th July to 9th August.
Olympic timetable for Equestrian Sports
Eventing [Team and individual]
- Sat 28 July: 10.00-16.15 Dressage, day 1
- Sun 29 July: 10.00-16.15 Dressage, day 2
- Mon 30 July: 12.30-17.30 Cross-country
- Tues 31 July: 10.30-16.00 Show jumping and medal ceremonies
- Thurs 2 Aug: 11.00-15.30 Team dressage: day 1
- Fri 3 Aug: 11.00-15.30 Team dressage: day 2
- Tues 7 Aug: 10.00-16.15 Team dressage: finals and medal ceremony
- Thurs 9 Aug: 12.30-16.30 Individual dressage: GP freestyle and medal ceremony
- Sat 4 Aug: 10.30-14.15 Individual: 1st qualifierTeam: qualifier for round 1
- Sun 5 Aug: 11.00-14.30 Team: round 1
- Mon 6 Aug: 14.00-17.30 Team: round 2 and medal ceremony
- Wed 8 Aug: 12.00-16.35 Individual: final rounds and medal ceremony
The equestrian sports are remarkable in that both sexes compete as equals for all the medals.
There are 3 disciplines competed for as individuals or teams:
1. Dressage – a demonstration of balance between horse and rider expressed in movement
2. Eventing – divided into dressage, eventing, show jumping(1 & 2)
3. Show Jumping – involves jumping a course of what appear to be enormous obstacles
There are strict dress codes regarding jackets, hats, body protectors and even the colours allowed for breeches and gloves.
Hair must be tied up above the collar. Dress codes are similar for men and women but the colours on the boots are different. Certain colour schemes are traditional but not actually in the rules. Most requirements are for safety reasons even though they may seem odd as eventing can be every bit as dangerous as horse racing over jumps.
The medal winners at the 2008 Olympic Games will highlight those likely to do well again this year.
Gold - Germany (GER)
Silver - Germany (GER)
Bronze - Denmark
Gold - Germany (GER)
Silver - Australia (AUS)
Bronze - Great Britain (GBR)
Gold - United States (USA)
Silver - Canada (CAN)
Bronze - Switzerland (SUI)
Gold - Anky van Grunsven on Salinero Netherlands (NED)
Silver - Isabell Werth on Satchmo Germany (GER)
Bronze - Heike Kemmer on Bonaparte Germany (GER)
Gold - Hinrich Romeike on Marius Germany (GER)
Silver - Gina Miles on McKinlaigh United States (USA)
Bronze - Kristina Cook on Miners Frolic Great Britain (GBR)
Gold - Eric Lamaze on Hickstead Canada (CAN)
Silver - Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Ninja Sweden (SWE)
Bronze - Beezie Madden on Authentic United States (USA)
Some of the UK riders likely to be involved this year include:
Georgina ‘Piggy’ French - winner of the Olympic Test Event 2011 and a member of the UK World Class Squad. She ended the year in 4th place in British Eventing Rider Rankings.
Carl Hester winner of the equestrian "Olympic athlete of the year" award 2011 and part of the gold medal-winning team at the European Dressage Championships.
Mary King crowned eventing's world number one 2011 and represented Britain in 5 Olympic Games between 1992 –2008 and gaining a silver and a bronze medal in the team eventing.
This article is written by Chris Wigg of www.horse4course-racetips.com