Equestrian Dressage at the 2008 Summer Olympics

Dates 13 – 19 August 2008
Medal Events 2

The 2008 equestrian events were all held in Hong Kong, China, at the Hong Kong Equestrian Centre. It was opened in 1982 by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, when Hong Kong was a British protectorate. The original name was the Jubilee Sports Centre, but it was renamed in 1991 as the Hong Kong Sports Institute. The name Hong Kong Equestrian Centre was used during the 2008 Olympics. The centre is located in the Fo Tan, Sha Tin district of Hong Kong, on reclaimed land on the bank of the Shing Mun River, next to the Sha Tin Racecourse.

Hong Kong was chosen because Beijing could not guarantee a disease-free zone for the horses, but there were significant quarantine and safety measures that still needed to be taken. These included a 60-day pre-export residency in an approved country, a compulsory veterinary supervision for 30 days prior to export, a 7-day pre-export quarantine, and a 10-day post-arrival isolation with no permitted contact between Olympic and local horses.

After the drug problems that had affected equestrian in Athina, Beijing turned out to be worse. There were four doping positives in 2004, and there would eventually be seven in 2008.

Team and individual dressage events were held at the 2008 Olympics, but they were essentially conducted simultaneously. Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven won the individual gold medal, her third consecutive gold medal in the event. Germany won the team title, its seventh consecutive victory in team dressage, although in 1984-88 it was technically won by West Germany. The first two days of competition determined the team placements and medals and served as a qualifier for the third day of individual competition, with 25 riders advancing. The second phase advanced 15 riders to the final day of individual dressage.

One competitor to note was Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu who competed in both team and individual dressage at 67-years-old. Hoketsu had last competed at the Olympics in 1964 at Tokyo, a gap of 44 years between appearances at the Olympics, which is easily the largest gap ever for any Olympian in any sport.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Individual, Open Olympic 13 – 19 August 2008 47 22
Team, Open Olympic 13 – 14 August 2008 33 11
47 (18/29) 22 (13/17)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Individual, Open Anky van GrunsvenNED Isabell WerthGER Heike KemmerGER
Team, Open GermanyGER NetherlandsNED DenmarkDEN

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 1 1 1 3
Netherlands NED 1 1 0 2
Denmark DEN 0 0 1 1