What Can Horse Lovers Expect From the Olympics?

It’s no secret that the upcoming Olympic Games have captured the imagination and heart of the entire country. Not only are they a fantastic excuse to get patriotic but we have the rare opportunity of seeing the world’s best athletes competing in our home country. There are of course great benefits to the economy and tourism of the country but for many, it is the event itself which is the big draw and for horse lovers, there are a variety of events which are sure to capture the imagination. Horse equipment, stables and all manner of equestrian property will be in high demand.

Eventing

The three day eventing display will take place at Greenwich Park from 28 – 31 July and is famously touted as the only Olympic event where men and women compete against each other on equal terms. There are two medal events and it is expected that 75 athletes will take part.

The three day event will feature dressage, cross country and a jumping finale. In the words of the organising body, “…the Eventing competition at the London 2012 Games will offer an all-encompassing test of Equestrian skill.”

Amateur and professional eventers will be aware that there are three parts to the competition and these will demonstrate the relationship and connection between horse and rider.

The first aspect is dressage in which the horse is expected to perform a variety of tests at Grand Prix level. Included, as standard are the Piaffe, the Passage during which the tempo should be similar to that of the trot. Extended and collected gaits are also included and are a visually impressive demonstration of the horses range and ability as well as a measurement of the riders’ control.

Flying changes in sequence, a pirouette, half pass and freestyle are the final aspects and marks are awarded to the team and the individual horse and rider for these actions. In addition to forming part of eventing, the Olympic Games also comprise a dressage event as an individual competition.

The eventing also combines cross country riding and jumping which again demonstrate the power and rider ability as well as technique and precision on both sides.

Dressage

The individual Dressage Event will take place similarly at Greenwich Park on 2 – 9 August. Dressage events have been used in the Olympics for more than 2000 years, although the original function of the event was to prepare horses for war. The origins of dressage as it exists now come from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna where the transition from battle preparation to graceful and elegant sport took place.

The Jumping

The jumping events will again take place at Greenwich Park on 4 – 8 August and are a demonstration of the ability and agility of the horse as well as the control and ability of the rider.

The course normally takes the form of a course of various timed, styles and heighted jumps which the horse and rider must follow in a specific order.

Spectators

As has been much publicised and maligned, tickets to all equestrian events have now been taken as part of the normal arrangement for tickets but it is expected that the games will be broadcast throughout the terrestrial and sports dedicated television channels throughout the summer.

This is a guest post on behalf of Rob Waters, who blogs on ponies for sale, equestrian property and the outdoors.

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