In the sport of equestrian, some may argue that the horse is the real star and the human competitor is just going along for the ride.
Equestrian is unique among Olympic sports, in the sense that men and women compete on the same team and both the horses and the riders are awarded medals. The Olympic equestrian competition consists of three disciplines – dressage, jumping and eventing.
Dressage competitions take place in a 60-by-20-meter sand arena. During competition, the rider and the horse strive for harmony, lightness and a free, flowing regular movement of the horse, while creating the appearance that the horse is executing the movements on its own.
Jumping events take place in a sand or grass arena. Riders jump over 12-to-15 obstacles in a specific order and within certain time limits while being judged on speed and accuracy.
During the eventing competition, the rider has to ride the same horse for three days while competing in dressage, jumping and cross country. The cross-country event takes place in a 5,700 meter long course containing 45 jumping obstacles.
For more information about equestrian, visit www.athens2004.com/en/Equestrian.
-Equestrian has been an Olympic sport since 1900.
-Initially, only military officers were allowed to compete in the eventing portion of the competition. Few civilians competed in equestrian up until 1948.
-During the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Great Britain’s Princess Anne competed in the eventing competition.