Equestrian Eventing

Facts

Discipline of Equestrian
Participants 991
NOCs 55
Competitions held 50 (Venues)
Distinct events 4
IF Fédération Équestre Internationale

Description

Equestrian, or horse riding competitions, consists of several disciplines, of which eventing, formerly called the three-day event, is the all-around competition of the sport. The three-day event combines dressage and jumping, two separate disciplines, and adds a third competition of riding a cross-country course, often called the endurance phase. Scoring is by a series of tables evaluating each day’s performance, with total score over all three phases determining final placements. Olympic eventing, and most major competitions, now occur over four days as two days are devoted to the dressage.

Eventing has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test that required mastery of several types of riding. Eventing was previously known as Combined Training, and the name persists in many smaller organizations. The term “Combined Training” is sometimes confused with the term “Combined Test”, which refers to a combination of just two of the phases, most commonly dressage and show jumping.

The format of the sport underwent major changes in 2004 and 2005, with the creation of the “short” or “modified format”, which excluded phases A, B, and C from endurance day. The primary reason for excluding these phases was that the International Olympic Committee was considering dropping the discipline of eventing from the Olympics because of the cost and large area required for the endurance phase with a steeplechase course and several miles of roads-and-tracks. To prevent the elimination of the sport from the Olympics program, the “short format” was developed by the FEI.

The last Olympic Games that included the long, or “classic”, three-day format was the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, while major events such as Rolex Kentucky, the Badminton Horse Trials, and Burghley Horse Trials ran their last long format three-day in 2005. The short format is now the standard for international competition, such as the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games.

Eventing as an Olympic discipline first appeared on the Olympic Program in 1912 and has since been continuously held at the Olympic Games, always with an individual and team event. From 1912-48 equestrian events at the Olympics were limited to military officers and men. In 1952 the events were open to civilians but eventing did not allow women to compete until 1964. Since that time eventing has been an open competition at the Olympics, allowing either gender to compete.

Equestrian disciplines are governed by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), which was formed in 1921 by Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, and had 138 member nations as of 2020. The FEI governs several different disciplines of equestrianism, including jumping, eventing, dressage, driving, and vaulting. The top nations in equestrian events at the Olympics have been France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 8 7 6 21
Sweden SWE 7 4 3 14
United States USA 6 11 8 25
Great Britain GBR 6 8 7 21
Australia AUS 6 4 4 14
Netherlands NED 5 2 0 7
France FRA 4 2 3 9
Italy ITA 3 3 2 8
New Zealand NZL 3 2 5 10
West Germany FRG 1 1 3 5
Soviet Union URS 1 1 1 3
Denmark DEN 0 1 1 2
Poland POL 0 1 1 2
Switzerland SUI 0 1 1 2
Argentina ARG 0 1 0 1
Norway NOR 0 1 0 1
Mexico MEX 0 0 2 2
Belgium BEL 0 0 1 1
Canada CAN 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Charles Pahud de Mortanges NED 4 1 0 5
Andrew Hoy AUS 3 2 1 6
Michael Jung GER 3 1 0 4
Richard Meade GBR 3 0 0 3
Matt Ryan AUS 3 0 0 3
Adolf van der Voort van Zijp NED 3 0 0 3
J. Michael Plumb USA 2 4 0 6
Bruce Davidson USA 2 2 0 4
Earl Thomson USA 2 2 0 4
Mark Todd NZL 2 1 3 6

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Individual Open 15
Team Open 15
Individual Men 10
Team Men 10