Jul 15, 2021
Eventing has been part of the Olympic programme since 1912 and has seen many changes since. With its new Olympic eventing format of three riders to a team, winners are unpredictable.
Who are the best eventing riders, how big will the jumps be, how are team competitions scored… If you have these and other doubts regarding how eventing at the Olympic Games will be, we are ready to answer them.
Michael Jung expects to win an unprecedented hat-trick at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He won the individual title at Rio 2016. Moreover, Ingrid Klimke will not be attending the Olympics as she got injured competing at the Cascamara CCI3*-S division.
Jung however will be competing with his new equine partner Sam, the perfect successor to Chipmunk who he rode with during the Rio 2016 competition with his teammate Julia Krajewski. Jung is hoping this year's delay of the Games will help him get more familiar with his mount and win his third Olympic individual gold.
In the teams, Germany took the title with the help of Ingrid Klimke, the double Olympic gold medallist. The countries that are most likely to battle for the Olympic eventing team medals are Great Britain, Australia, Germany and New Zealand. Other countries with good chances are France, Ireland or Japan.
The British eventing team is one of the favourites. Formed by Laura Collett with Karen Bartlett, Tom McEwen with Fred and Penny Barker and Oliver Townend with Karyn Schuter. The german team will be formed by Sandra Auffarth, Michael Jung and Julia Krajewski.
Eventing competitions start with the dressage tests. Here, horse and rider pairs perform a series of movements in the arena, and these are marked by the judges. In the case of the Olympics, there will be three judges.
As there are many pairs, this phase takes two days. Then, cross-country is the second phase at the Olympics. Horse and rider pairs go round the cross-country course separately jumping solid obstacles and including features such as water, ditches and steps up and down.
At the Olympic Games, the cross-country phase will have up to 38 jumping efforts and will be 4500m long. Athletes will take approximately eight minutes to complete it before moving forward to the showjumping.
Lastly, during the Olympic Games team medals are determined after the first round and then the top riders will go to an extra round to decide individual medals. It will involve up to 16 jumping efforts and the individual round up to 12.
The cross-country jumps are up to 1.20m high and 1.40m high if it is a brush fence. Regarding the jumps at the showjumping competition, jumps are up to 1.30m high.
Eventing riders aim to finish on the lowest possible score, and riders try to finish on their dressage score, meaning without adding any jumping or time penalty points in the cross-country and showjumping competitions.
The new format will be implemented during the Tokyo Olympics. Each team will consist of three horses and riders as well as an alternate pair. The three scores will count, however, the alternate pair can also enter the competition in different circumstances. This means, on occasions, it is possible to use the score from the original pair and from the alternate in others.
You will find interesting: Discover the chosen venues, schedules and more details on our equestrian sports in the Olympics article.