The 1980 Olympic equestrian events were devastated by the American-led boycott, one of the few sports for which this was true, as almost all the world’s top riders came from countries that boycotted Moskva, or the equestrian competition, notably Australia, Germany (West), Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Only 11 nations competed at Moskva, with only 68 competitors in all events. Alternative competitions were held for the boycotting nations at the same time as the Moskva Olympics, including the Rotterdam Show Jumping Festival; the International Dressage Festival at Goodwood, West Sussex, England; and the Fontainebleau Eventing Festival in Paris.
Most of the 1980 Olympic equestrian events were held at the Konnosportivny Kompleks Profsoyuzov, Bittsevsky Park, or the Trade Union’s Equestrian Complex in Bittsevsky Park. It was specially built for the 1980 Olympics and was later known as the Equestrian Complex Bitsa. The only event not held there was individual jumping, which was contested at Lenin Stadium, the main Olympic Stadium.
Team and individual jumping competitions were held in 1980. As was becoming standard on the Olympic Program, they were conducted separately, but unlike at past Olympics the Grand Prix de Nations was held before the individual jumping. Poland’s Jan Kowalczyk won individual gold while the Soviet Union took the team title.