London 2012 Guide to…Equestrian Jumping

EQUESTRIAN Jumping, or show-jumping as it is more commonly known here in Britain, featured on the Olympic programme in the early 20th century and has long been dominated by Europeans.

Germany lead the way with a total of 21 gold medals, with Sweden and France not far behind.

  • How it works

Riders (and horses) must successfully overcome 14 fences, ensuring a ‘clear run’.

Faults are awarded for various reasons, like not finishing in the allocated time or knocking over parts of the fence when jumping.

  • Equestrian Jumping in London

As with dressage and cross country, there are team and individual events.

A total of five rounds will be contested –  two will determine the team event placings, but all five determine the results in the individuals’ competition.

And finally…

Look out for: some member of the crowd who tries to wind up a horse. Always one nutter.

Not to be confused with: the high jump, long jump, or any other sort of jump for that matter.

Useless but informative fact: jumping obstacles can include parallel rails, triple bars and water jumps.

Equestrian Jumping in two words: not easy!

Equestrian Jumping is held at the Greenwich Park, from Saturday 4th August to Thursday 9th August.


London 2012 Guide to…Equestrian Eventing

EQUESTRIAN Eventing tests both horse and rider over three disciplines, and any slight mistake can be the difference between Olympic fame and a shattered Olympic dream. 

The three disciplines are dressage, cross country and jumping.

They give riders and horse the ultimate test, with speed, courage, timing and balance all pivotal in a rider’s performance.

  • All mix in

Like the other equestrian events, men and women compete alongside each other.

  • Equestrian Eventing in London

Equestrian Eventing takes place over four days, with both individual and team events.

And 75 athletes will be competing over the two events.

  • How it works

The first two days involve dressage, where judges’ scores of the riders and horses are converted to penalty points that are carried over to the next event.

Day three is the cross country course, around Greenwich Park. Again, points are accumulated through jumping errors, for example. These are awarded with the dressage penalty points.

The fourth and final day is for show-jumping. This involves overcoming a series of potentially tricky jumps in the fastest time.

The first jumping test will determine the team medals, while the second decides the individual winners.

  • Ones to watch

German Hinrich Romeike won in Beijing at both the team and individual events, so he is one of the favourites.

However, the USA, Sweden and GB of course will all seek to be among the medals.

And finally…

Look out for: horses kicking off. Eventing tests the nerve of spectators and of course the riders. But think about the horses too. I bet one of them will buckle under the pressure.

Not to be confused with: steeplechase, horse riding or polo.

Useless but informative fact: there are two age limits for Olympic Equestrian events. You have to be 18 or older if you are a rider, and seven or older if you are a horse. (And if you are a horse reading this, then go get back on your high…)

Equestrian Eventing in two words: sheer stamina.

Equestrian Eventing takes place between Saturday 28th July and Tuesday 31st July, at Greenwich Park.

London 2012 Guide to…Equestrian – Dressage



THE origins of Equestrian Dressage go back over 2,000 years, when the Greeks used it to prepare their horses for war.

Dressage first appeared at the Games in Stockholm in 1912, and only 21 riders from eight countries took part.

  • The Grand Prix

The Grand Prix is the term used to describe the first round. All competing nations enter their riders at this stage and they must all complete the same manoeuvres.

Each rider and horse pairing are given a score, and the top progress to the next round.

  • The Grand Prix Special

The Grand Prix Special is the name of the second and final round, where there is a greater emphasis on two manoeuvres.

The piaffe is a trotting movement virtually on the spot, while the passage is a slow and animated performance of the trot.

And the top-scoring pairs all win medals!

  • Individual Equestrian Dressage

Riders are selected from the top 18 competitors in the Grand Prix Special.

They are able to choose their own style of performance, accompanied with music.

  • Equestrian Dressage in London

Greenwich Park is hosting the Equestrian Dressage event, London’s oldest Royal Park and also a World Heritage site. A total of 50 athletes will be competing.

And finally…

Look out for: riders falling off. There’s always one.

Not to be confused with: horse riding. Very similar in a way but also quite different.

Useless but informative fact: only male, cavalry officers were allowed to compete in the Equestrian Dressage events up until the Games in Helsinki in 1952.

Equestrian Dressage in two words: very elegant.

Equestrian Dressage takes place between Thursday 2 August and Wednesday 8 August.