Although the 2012 Summer Olympics are over, the excitement it brought to so many lives on! Everyone still has Olympic fever and the horse community is no different! Horses bring a whole new dimension to the Olympics, creating a lot of unique circumstances. Let’s take a look a few:
There are three Equestrian competitions in the summer Olympics: Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Probably the most popular Olympic Equestrian sport is jumping. And basically, the name says it all. In this sport, men and women compete as equals, both as individuals and in teams. The ride and horse duo must complete a course of about a dozen jumps cleanly. The winner will have clean jumps and a fast time. The Jumping ability of the horse was first developed in the 18th century, when fox hunting required the jumping of fences that were beginning to be erected to enclose properties. The discipline as we know it today, developed as a result of competitions among fox hunters. (Source: International Equestrian Federation (FEI))
The New York Times recently described dressage as “not quite ‘Swan Lake,’ but surprisingly close.” This seems appropriate since no one writes about dressage without describing it as ballet for horses. Horses and riders go through an obstacle course where they have to demonstrate how well they can perform specific movements. Each movement is judged on a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being the highest. According to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), “Dressage is considered the art of equestrian sport and is used as the groundwork for all other disciplines. It is the highest expression of horse training.”
A sort of combination of dressage and show jumping, adding in some cross country, which is a trial of endurance and speed. It’s a horse and rider version of a triathlon, also known as “Horse Trials,” “Combined Training” and “The 3 Day Event.” The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) says, “Eventing is the most complete combined competition discipline recognized by the FEI where men and women compete as equals in both individual and team events.”
For a complete set of rules for each discipline, please refer to the website of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the governing body for the sport.
Making it to the Olympics is a great honor for humans and horses alike. Mane ‘n Tail salutes all the riders and horses who have competed at the 2012 London Olympics!
Make your horse stand out with this former US Equestrian Team groom’s time-tested techniques.
Plus, read about Mane ‘n Tail enthusiast and talented Eventer, Caroline Martin.