The equestrian disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Jumping are exceptional on the Olympic stage as the only sports that combine the efforts of both human and animal as one athlete.
Equestrian at Paris 2024 Olympic Games
The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will once again welcome the three disciplines with equestrian competition taking place at Versailles from 26th July – 6th August 2024
Eventing will be the first equestrian discipline to take place, starting on Day One of the Games, with Dressage on Saturday 27th, Cross Country on Sunday 28th and Showjumping in the evening of Monday 29th July 2024.
Fittingly Paris was the venue for the first ever equestrian events to be included in the Olympic programme during the 1900 Summer Olympics when five equestrian events were contested.
Equestrian sports at future Olympic Games
Los Angeles 2024 and Brisbane 2032
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has advised that Equestrian sport is officially confirmed as one of 28 sports in the Initial Sports Programme for Los Angeles 2028.
However, this is only a first step. The Equestrian Disciplines for LA2028 will be decided mid-2023 and the Equestrian Events and the Quota for LA will only be decided after Paris 2024.
Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is getting ready to welcome the world in 2032 for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games where Victoria Park in central Brisbane will be transformed into the Olympic equestrian venue
The city was awarded the hosting rights in July 2021 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will become the third Australian city to host the Summer Games after Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000
Read our full coverage from past Olympic Games on the following links or find out more in our summary of the recent history of eventing at the Olympic Games below
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History of Eventing at the Olympic Games
The 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games had included an early version of equestrian sports but the equestrian disciplines returned to the Swedish city in 1956 under unusual circumstances, in conjunction with the Melbourne 1956 Games
Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games
Although Melbourne had won the right to host the 1956 Olympic Games, the first venue in the Southern Hemisphere to ever host the Games, Australian quarantine restrictions prevented the equestrian sports taking place, so the IOC decided to host the equestrian events in Stockholm. This meant that the Olympic Games took place in two different cities (Stockholm and Melbourne), in two different countries (Sweden and Australia), on two different continents (Europe and Oceania) and in two different seasons (June and November).
This was the only time in the Games' hundred-year existence that the unity of time and place, as stipulated in the Charter, has not been observed.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
Fast forward and Australia again hosted the Olympic Games in 2000. Horses were this time allowed to travel Down Under to compete at the newly built facilities for the Sydney Olympics at Horsley Park (now known as the Sydney International Equestrian Centre). However, the conditions were still not easy with the Olympic horses undertaking two weeks of pre-shipping quarantine in Europe and a further two weeks of isolation upon arrival in Sydney.
It was here that Australia won its third consecutive gold medals in Team Eventing (Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000), the only time it has been achieved with Andrew Hoy, Stuart Tinney, Phillip Dutton and Matt Ryan taking the honours on home soil
Controversy at Athens 2004 Olympic Games
The 2004 Olympic Games saw the Modern Olympiads return to home soil in Athens, but it was a difficult Games for eventing with controversy and legal referrals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to achieve the final result
Germany was initially awarded team gold and Bettina Hoy the individual gold medal after much discussion regarding a mistake by Bettina (going through the Start Flags twice) at the start in the Jumping phase but eventually the team gold was awarded to France. Britain took silver, the United States moved into bronze and Germany was off the podium in fourth place.
Britain’s Leslie Law then took individual gold, the USA’s Kimberly Severson won silver and Britain’s Pippa Funnell took bronze
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at Hong Kong
Although Beijing had won the rights to host the 2008 Olympic Games, it was decided to hold the equestrian events in Hong Kong to guarantee a disease-free zone for the horses.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Sha Tin racecourse became the main venue with the Beas River Country Club golf course, 23km away, was used as the site for the cross country.
A focus on quarantine and bio-security measures was high with 300 horses from more than 40 nations travelling to Hong Kong on an estimated 56 flights. Once in Hong Kong the horses stayed in specially constructed state-of-the-art air-conditioned boxes with the temperature set at 23°C due to concerns over the heat and humidity due to the event taking place during typhoon season
Germany regained gold medals in both the team and individual competitions with Hinrich Romeike, a full-time dentist, winning individual gold on his only competition horse, Marius
The USA’s Gina Miles took individual silver and Britain’s Kristina (Tina) Cook won bronze with the Australian team of Megan Jones, Clayton Fredericks, Sonja Johnson, Lucinda Fredericks and Shane Rose taking team silver and Britain claiming team bronze
London 2012 Olympic Games
Greenwich Park in south-east London was the temporary location for the equestrian events at the London 2012 Olympic Games
A ‘pop up’ site that required the construction of all stabling, arenas on platforms that could be dismantled and the city venue were challenges but the eventing competition at London, with its scenic city skyline on the cross country course and impressive backdrop of the Queens House for dressage and show jumping, proved to be a hit.
Germany once again took team and individual gold medals but the home crowd were delighted with the success of the British team. Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, Kristina Cook, Nicola Wilson and Zara Tindall won team silver, being presented with their medals by Zara’s mother, Princess Anne while New Zealand took team bronze
Germany’s Michael Jung made eventing history when he took the individual gold medal, on his 30th birthday, to become the first rider to ever hold the Olympic, World and European championship titles concurrently, with all three titles won on his horse La Biosthetique Sam
Sara Algotsson won individual silver for Sweden and Germany’s Sandra Auffarth took individual bronze
Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games, making it the first Games to be held in South America.
The Equestrian competitions were held at Deodoro Olympic Park, where Brazil’s National Equestrian Centre was already located amidst a military base. The facility built for the 2007 Pan American Games was upgraded and the existing veterinary hospital transformed into a state-of-the-art facility to cater for the Olympic visitors.
Germany’s Michael Jung once again took Individual gold riding La Biosthetique Sam ahead of France’s Astier Nicolas (Piaf De B’Neville) and the USA’s Phillip Dutton (Mighty Nice).
But it was the French team of Astier Nicolas, Thibaut Vallette, Mathieu Lemoine and Karim Laghouag that claimed the Team Gold honours ahead of Germany (silver) and Australia (bronze)
The Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th August 2020, were postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but still retained the Tokyo 2020 name.
It was the first time that an Olympic Games had been postponed (the Games had been cancelled on three occasions – in 1916, 1940, and 1944 – due to World War I and World War II) but Tokyo 2020 finally got underway from 23rd July – 8th August 2021 without spectators and with unprecedented safeguards in place for the health of the athletes and officials.
The equestrian competitions took place at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park, owned and run by the Japan Racing Association (JRA), with the cross country taking place at Sea Forest on a man-made reclaimed island near Tokyo Bay
Women were first allowed to compete in eventing at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 and Tokyo 2020 produced the first female Olympic Champion in Germany’s Julia Krajewski
32-year-old Julia Krajewski riding Amande De B’Neville took individual gold, ahead of Britain’s Tom McEwen riding Toledo De Kerser (silver) and Australia’s Andrew Hoy riding Vassily De Lassos (bronze). Andrew made history by winning yet another Olympic medal; he had previously won four Olympic Games medals: three gold and one silver, the last two coming at Sydney 2000, where he won gold in team eventing and silver in individual. The first, team gold, came at Barcelona 1992.
It was also a big celebration for the British team of Oliver Townend, Laura Collett and Tom McEwen, who won the first British Olympic eventing team gold since 1972