Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Beginner's Guide To The Equestrian Olympic Disciplines And Riders

I thought for the Sundays GB Rider Profile post I would just do a quick summary of the discipline for any people reading this that are new to the sport and the names of the riders in the teams for each of the equestrian events. If I have written a profile for that rider then I will link to it! The riders will be competing in a team and individually. 

This is similar to gymnastics but for horses. They will be scored out of 10 for every movement by a number of judges placed at different places around the arena. There are a number of dressage competitions. In some there will be a set routine in which all the riders carry out. In others it is "freestyle" during this the riders have moves they have to include in the routine but can do it in their own order. The Kur is when the riders do the routine to music. 

The team;

Show Jumping
This consists of two rounds. In the first round the horse and rider have to jump a number of jumps in the correct order without knocking jumps down or having refusals. There may also be a time limit in which they will gain penalties if they go over. After this round all the horses that have no penalties will go on to the "jump off". In the jump off the fastest horse to go clear wins. They have to get the correct balance between going as fast as they can and going too fast which will cause them to knock the jumps down. The jump off course is often different to the first course and the jumps may go higher.

The team;

  • Scott Brash  riding Hello Sanctos
  • Tina Fletcher riding Hello Sailor
  • Nick Skelton riding Big Star
  • Ben Maher riding Tripple X III
  • Peter Charles riding Murka's Vindicat W

This discipline traditionally runs over three days and tests the best all round horse and riders. The first day is the dressage, the second is the cross country and the third is the show jumping. The dressage and show jumping phases are similar to those described above, with only one round for each. The cross country is a long distance jumping course that may last around 10-12 minutes. The jumps in this are often more natural such as logs and hedges.  There are also usually water jumps which gather large crowds as people often fall off into the water! There is a set time in which they have to complete the course in before they start to receive penalty points for every second they go over. This will test the horses endurance and bravery along with that of the riders. The over-all score for eventing is counted on penalties. Therefore in the dressage if they got a 9/10 for one move this would give them one penalty point. Penalties will then be added on for being too slow in the cross country or refusals of jumps. On the last day in the show jumping there may be a difference of a few penalties between riders and one jump knocked down can be the difference between winning and losing. 

The team;

As I am sure you all know I have been lucky enough to get tickets for the cross country on the 30th of July and the Dressage Grand Prix on the 9th of August. I will try and get some photos and write some posts on my Olympics experience. I will also be trying to watch as much of the rest as I can in between doing lab work which I hope will be finished as soon as possible. 

If anyone has any questions about the disciplines then  don't hesitate to ask! I will probably try and write the rider profile for the remaining few riders over the next two weeks as they are nice posts for me to write while I am not at home my own horse.

Love Laura

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