If you’ve ever been glued to the set when the equestrian events during the Summer Olympic Games are on, then chances are you’re already hooked on this particular sport. If so–and even if you’re not–were you aware that there are three different types of Olympic equestrian events? The most popular equestrian events are dressage, eventing and jumping. These events are further broken down into both team and individual competitions.
To help you get ready for the next Olympics, here’s a rundown of the equestrian events you can expect to see during the 2016 Summer Games.
Perhaps the most popular of all equestrian events, dressage is the one that comes to mind when we think of Olympic horse competitions. In dressage, the horse is trained to perform a routine of specific, highly-intricate movements or skills, while carrying its rider gracefully. Dressage is judged on the excellence of the execution, so artistry is a chief component, along with technical ability.
In dressage, you’ll see the rider impeccably donned in an English-style riding outfit, complete with hard cap, tailored jacket and trousers and elegant, tall riding boots.
Individual dressage is performed with only one horse and rider; while team dressage involves two sets of horse and rider synchronizing their movements. Dressage is incredibly meticulous and is often compared to figure skating because of the complexity of the movements, which include lateral and diagonal sidestepping, trotting in place and pirouetting.
Held over the course of three days, eventing involves a grueling number of tests that include stadium jumping, cross-country jumping and dressage. The cross-country event alone may involve as many as 40 man-made and natural obstacles throughout a four-mile course.
Jumping involves taking the horse through an obstacle course of rails, which resemble small fences. The horse must jump over each rail without knocking it down and must also successfully negotiate other obstacles throughout the course. The winner is the horse-and-rider team with the fewest number of penalties.
Are you a fan of any of these three popular equestrian events, or do you have another favorite?