What is Eventing in the Olympics?
Eventing was first in the Olympics in 1912 with a five day competition that included an endurance test, a cross country course, a speed test, a jumping test, and a dressage test. Today, eventing is one of the most demanding equestrian events with three phases that include dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping. The three phases must all be completed on the same horse.
--Equestrian sport is the only Olympic sport in which men and women of all ages compete directly against each other.
--Riders must be at least 18 years old to participate
--Horses must be at least 8 years old
--Equestrian sport is the only Olympic sport where animals are used
Eventing Phase 1: Dressage (July 30th,31st)
The first phase of Olympic eventing is Dressage, which may sound familiar in the Olympics! Dressage is it’s own separate Olympic event that is performed at a higher level than the dressage seen in eventing. Ridden in the stadium arena, dressage is a series of movements that the horse and rider must perform with accuracy, precision, and athleticism. The horse is judged for their collection, impulsion, relaxation, and suppleness. The dressage test is a short 4 minute ride.
The dressage phase is judged by a score of the horse and riders precision to perform movements correctly. Faults are given when a rider and horse miss a movement, timing is off, or it is performed incorrectly.
Eventing Phase 2: Cross Country (August 1st)
The second phase of Olympic eventing, Cross Country, is a very exciting, high speed race across open fields and over jumps. Horse and rider jump 40 obstacles in a timed run against the clock. Obstacles include elaborate fences, hedges, water, and ditches. The course is 6km and takes riders about 10 minutes. Cross country is considered one of the most high risk, adrenaline filled equestrian events.
Eventing in 1912 at the first Olympic Games
Eventing Phase 3: Stadium Jumping (August 2nd)
Stadium Jumping is the final phase of olympic eventing in which riders race the clock against each other to jump 9-12 obstacles without incurring any faults. Stadium jumping is thrilling as riders fly over 1.3 meter jumps. In the final jumping phase, individual medals are awarded as it is the final phase of eventing.
Cross Country and Jumping Scoring
In both stadium jumping and cross country, riders with the least amount of faults and the fastest time win. Faults are accumulated when jumps are hit, knocked down, or a horse refuses a jump. If the horse or rider falls, or is lame, they are eliminated.
How are team and individual Olympic Eventing Medals Awarded?
Sixty-five horse and athlete combinations compete directly against each other. The same horse must be ridden in all three events to qualify for a medal. All 65 horses and riders compete in dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping.
Olympic eventing is scored by taking a cumulative score of ‘faults’ accumulated in the three separate disciplines. The lowest fault score determines the individual and team medals. The top three of each country make up the team results.
Equestrian Penalties and Elimination
If a phase is skipped due to any reason, riders receive massive penalties costing them a chance at a medal. If a rider or horse falls, are lame, or do not pass an intensive vet check at any phase, they are eliminated. There is a vet check before dressage, and before the final jumping phase.
Individual and team medals
After all three phases are completed, the team medals are awarded. To determine the individual medals, the final top 25 best combinations from the three phases move on to a second Stadium Jumping competition.
Tokyo Olympic Equestrian Eventers to Watch
1. Phillip Dutton: A USA two time Eventing Olympic Gold medalist, Phillip Dutton is a 57 year old competitor leading the US eventing team. Dutton has competed in 7 Olympics, the first in 1996. Born in Australia, he represented Australia in 1996, and 2000 Olympics winning a team gold for Australia before switching to the USA team in 2008. Phillip now lives in Pennsylvania USA and trains and competes with his 13 year old Zangersheide Gelding, Z. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dutton won the individual bronze and has high expectations for this Tokyo Olympics. Why You Should Start Horse Eventing
2. Michael Jung: A german equestrian and one of the most successful eventing Olympians in the past few olympics, Michael Jung is one of the top competitors to watch. Jung began riding at an early age as his father was an equestrian. He began competing in eventing and became a professional equestrian young in life. In 2012 and 2016 Jung won a silver and bronze team medal, and gold individual medals at both Olympics. Jung made history as the first to hold the title of champion of the Olympics, European, and World Championships at the same time. He hopes to defend his individual gold medal this Olympics on his European Champion horse, Chipmonk.
3. Julia Krajewski: A german equestrian, Julia grew up riding an opinionated pony that taught her to ride, and ride well! “He was a bit unruly and didn’t like dressage, so eventing was our choice and that’s how I ended up being an event rider.” Julia’s first championship was the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where she ended up with a discard score, but her team won the silver medal. The horse that Michael Jung will be riding, Chipmonk, was actually Julia’s competitive horse from 2012 to 2018. Julia will be riding an 11 year old mare, Amande De B’Neville.