Equestrian involves three disciplines - eventing, jumping and dressage.

"The equestrian disciplines are unique events at the Games, not only because they are the only Olympic events that involve animals (aside from the equestrian component of modern pentathlon), but they are where women and men compete together on equal terms.

In our sport, the horse is considered as much an athlete as the rider. Like any other sport, only exceptional horses (in combination with extraordinary riders) make it to the level required to be successful at the Olympics, and immeasurable amounts of time are spent in training an animal to that point." - Sarah Dalziell, Equestrian Sports New Zealand High Performance Director


questrian (Jumping)


The top 10 teams qualify for the second round where the medals will be decided.

Individuals face up to three qualifying rounds, with the top 25 contesting the medals. Jump-offs may be held if necessary.

Demystifying the events (Jumping)

IndividualRiders must memorise the course, which will generally sweep around the arena and include double jumps, treble jumps and other challenging obstacles. The maximum height allowed is 1.6 meters, width is a maximum of 2 meters for oxers and 2.2 meters for triple bars.Refusals and rails dropped incur penalties, as does finishing outside the time allowed.

After three elimination rounds, the top 20 riders compete for medals in two final rounds, called the A and B finals. The rider with the best combined performance in these two rounds wins the competition.

Team - Teams are limited to four riders and each team discards its worst result. The best eight teams from the first round go through to the final. The final standings are based on accumulated scores from both rounds. In the event of a tie, a jump-off decides the winner – competitors are also going against the clock, with the fastest and cleanest round winning.

What’s new at Rio?

The only significant change for the Rio Olympics is in eventing, where each team will have four combinations, with the best three to count. London 2012 saw teams of five, with top three scores counted.

The Stars of Equestrian (Jumping)

2012 Olympic champ Steve Guerdat (SUI) is always a pleasure to watch, as is Scott Brash (GBR), along with Daniel Deusser (GER).

The Americans also have a number of top jumpers too, including Mclain Ward, Kent Farrington and Bezzie Madden. The British fittingly took out the team gold at London.

Equestrian Terminology

Combination - Two or more jumps in succession that are in related lines.

Oxer - A jump with front and back elements.

Treble - Three elements in a row.

Liverpool - A jump with water underneath.

General Terms

Fault - Penalty points gathered by knocking a rail off the cups or exceeding the time allowed on a course.

Walk, trot, canter and gallop - The pace of the horse from slowest to fastest. 

Total Olympic Equestrian Medals

3 Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze


1984 Los Angeles - Individual (Mark Todd)

1988 Seoul - Individual (Mark Todd)

1996 Atlanta - Individual (Blyth Tait)


1992 Barcelona -Team (Andrew Nicholson, Blyth Tait, Vicky Latta)

1996 Atlanta -Individual (Sally Clark)


1988 Seoul - Team (Tinks Pottinger, Mark Todd, Andrew Bennie, Margs Carline)

1992 Barcelona -Individual (Blyth Tait)

1996 Atlanta - Team (Vaughn Jefferis, Andrew Nicholson, Blyth Tait, Vicky Latta)

2000 Sydney - Individual (Mark Todd)

2012 London - Team (Jonelle Richards, Caroline Powell, Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Jock Paget)


680 BC - Horse sport was introduced to the Ancient Olympic Games.

1909 - First jumping Nations Cup was held in London and San Sebastian in Spain.

1912 - Jumping, dressage and eventing became part of the format of the new Olympic Games.

1953 - First world jumping championships were held in Paris.

1966 - First world dressage and eventing championships were held in Burghley.

1990 - First World Equestrian Games were held in Stockholm, where the New Zealand eventing team, comprising Andrew Nicholson, Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Scott and Blyth Tait, won the team gold.

1960 - Rome Olympics – showjumpers Adrian White and Telebrae were the first kiwi combination to compete at jumping at the Olympic Games.

1984 - Los Angeles Olympics ­– Sir Mark Todd and the mighty Charisma won the individual gold medal. Todd, with Andrew Nicholson, Andrew Bennie and Mary Hamilton, finished sixth in the team event.

1988 - Seoul Olympics – Todd and Charisma again took gold, and the team – Bennie, Marges Knighton (nee Carline) Todd and Tinks Pottinger – won bronze.

1992 - Barcelona Olympics – Vicki Latta, Andrew Nicholson and Blyth Tait won the team silver, with Tait also taking the individual bronze aboard Messiah.

1996 - Atlanta Olympics – the golden years of the eventers continued, with Tait and Ready Teddy taking the individual gold, and Sally Clark and Squirrel Hill the silver. Tait, Nicholson, Latta and Vaughn Jefferis took the team bronze.

2000 - Sydney Olympics – New Zealand’s first Olympic dressage combination competed, with Kallista Field placed 18th. Mark Todd and Eye Spy won the individual bronze in the eventing competition.

2012 - London Olympics – the eventing team were back on the podium with a team bronze medal, after finishing 5th at both the Athens and Beijing Games.


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Equestrian - Jumping Games History