Equestrian sport at the Olympics has been in the spotlight lately as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has contemplated eliminating it from competition. A part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1912, for 2024, the disciplines that will be hosted are showjumping, dressage and three-day eventing.
“The IOC's confirmation of equestrian on the Olympic program for the 2024 Games and approval of the new formats for Tokyo 2020 is a direct acknowledgment of our willingness to adapt and modernize our sport, so all the work to drive change and increase universality has been worthwhile,” said Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) President Ingmar De Vos in a press release.
The changes that will take place in 2020 will fit with the IOC's goal of increasing the number of countries competing in equestrian sport at the Olympic level. To do this, the number of riders and horses fielded by each country will need to decrease to allow for other countries to field teams. Showjumping, dressage and eventing will field just three horse-and-rider pairs for team competition and there will be no drop score. Nations will be able to send one reserve horse and rider in case a team member has to withdraw because of injury or illness. The FEI can only have 200 total horse and rider teams.
According to Horse Channel, additional changes include:
- Individual dressage competitors will qualify for the Grand Prix Freestyle through a heat system, where the top two riders from each of six heats, plus the next six best overall scores, will move on
- The dressage Grand Prix Special will be conducted to music
- The individual competition will be run before the team competition in show jumping
- The dressage phase of eventing will take place in one day
- The level of eventing will be defined as “Olympic level”: 4* dressage and stadium jumping and 3* cross-country;
- For team classification, any horse-and-rider pair that does not complete one phase of eventing may still proceed to the next phase, with penalties incurred, as long as the horse passes veterinary inspection.
These changes are part of larger adjustments being made leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. The larger changes include the addition of new events that appeal to younger, urban athletes, and those events that help the Games get closer to gender equality, which would include sports where men and women compete on mixed teams (like equestrian sport).
The host city for the 2024 Olympics has not yet been named, though Los Angeles and Paris are the two candidates. Whichever one isn't awarded the 2024 games will host the 2028 Olympics.
Read more at Horse Channel.
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