A Spectator's Guide to the Olympics

by Catriona Burt

In the spirit of the Olympics, here is a guide to the equestrian events at the 2012 Olympic Games, along with a bit of history!

In the summer of 2012, the Olympics return to London and amongst the events will be the equestrian line up. Held at the beautiful Greenwich Park over several weeks, the Games will see the best of the best compete to win eight Olympic gold medals and 11 Paralympic gold medals.

The first Olympic event is DRESSAGE. Dressage is an ancient discipline that originated as a way of training war horses in Ancient Greece. The sport was finessed by the Riding School of Vienna and became part of the Olympics in 1912. It is now held over a 60m x 20m arena with seven judges and consists of both team and individual events. The team dressage events will be held from 2nd - 7th of August and consist of Grand Prix and Grand Prix special events. Three riders from each country will compete in two tests which will count towards their team's total. After the team medals are awarded, the top 18 will qualify for the Grand Prix Freestyle individual event. This event will be held from the 2nd - 9th of August. The top three scorers from these events will take home the medals!

Next is EVENTING, a challenging equestrian sport. It was originally a military sport and was introduced into the Olympics in 1912. Competitors compete over four days in three different disciplines as both teams and individuals. Eventing will be held from the 28th - 31st of July with days one and two being devoted to dressage, day three to cross country and day four to show jumping. Cross country is one of the most popular phases, and competitors at this year's Olympics will face a 6km course and around 45 individual obstacles!

The third Olympic sport is SHOW JUMPING. Show jumping originated from fox hunts in the 19th century and was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1912. This year it will be held from the 4th - 8th of August. Show jumping consists of five rounds in total; the first reduces numbers from 75 to 60 to go through to the team event. All 15 teams plus qualified individuals start the first round of the team event. Only the top eight teams and qualified individuals go through to the second round. The best three scores from each team of four decide the ultimate team placings. For the individual round the top 35 riders revert to zero penalties for the first round of the individual event. The top 20 then go forward to the second round to decide medals. In both the individual and team events if there is a tie then there will be a jump off for the medals.

There are two other equestrian sports that are worth a mention. The first is the PENTATHLON. An equestrian sport that is often overlooked but is probably one of the most challenging, the pentathlon as a sport consists of five sports: fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting and running. The equestrian element is held after the competitors have performed fencing and a 200m swim. Athletes have to ride a course of 12 jumps on an unfamiliar horse, no easy feat for any rider, especially not one who has just swum 200m! The second is PARA-DRESSAGE, part of the Paralympics. In para-dressage each rider is classified as a particular grade (Ia, Ib, II, III or IV) depending upon their disability with grade IV being the least disabled.

Greenwich Park is situated 20 minutes outside London, meaning that travel will have to be done by national rail services, buses or coaches. The park has been specially adapted for the games with Scott Brickell's team designing all the courses. Although the venue will not be kept as an equestrian venue after the Olympics, all items used to create the events will be re-distributed to various equestrian centres so that the legacy of the games can live on.

So the London 2012 games are sure to be full of equestrian wonder; it is no doubt that there will be some surprises as well as excellent riding! Take a look at your local television schedules for information about watching the events, and follow 2012 games at the official London 2012 website: www.london2012.com


Categories: | Breyer_News | Collector_Club_News


BreyerLover2222 Says:
12/15/2016 at 2:21 pm

Cool article!!! :)

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