Will the 2021 Olympics go on for Equestrians

Will the 2021 Olympics Go on for Equestrians?

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of our favorite events and activities on pause. But few of the events of 2020 had such a heartbreaking impact as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. While many of us were sad to hear that yet another aspect of normal life was postponed, athletes around the world had to come to terms with the reality that the chance to realize their dreams would have to wait another year. 

Many are skeptical about whether the Olympics will actually go on in 2021, considering how changeable and unpredictable the coronavirus is. And if it does go on, what does that mean for the equestrian athletes?

With new COVID-19 guidelines and preparations in place, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has decided to host the event this upcoming year, in 2021. To keep the event from turning into a super-spreader, the IOC has decided to include fewer events than before which raises great concerns for equestrian fans around the world.

Let’s take a look at the traditional equestrian sports, and what’s in store for equestrians in 2021.


Equestrianism and the Olympics


Equestrianism joined the Olympic Games back in 1900 and includes a series of different team and individual events: eventing, dressage, and jumping. Here are the basics of some of the most popular equestrian games.


What is Dressage?

Dressage is a graceful sport where highly-trained horses carry the rider while performing graceful movements with ease. These competitions demonstrate the level of training, power, and control developed by a rider and their horse. In fact, the riders that participate in dressage competitions are known to have some of the most advanced riding skills. 

In the competition, the horses ride at different paces with varying speeds. Horses have to move fluidly in different directions, such as straight lines, circles, sideways, and diagonally. 

There are collection and extension movements in which the horse prances by raising the back and legs and reaches the legs further while keeping the neck and back elevated respectively. Put simply, dressage is like a dance - on horseback. 

Judging dressage comes down to rating the performance on a scale of 0-10. The rider and horse with the most accurate and graceful movements (and highest points) wins.

What is Showjumping?

Showjumping is a sport that tests a horse’s ability to jump over obstacles inside a riding ring. The course has a preset of 10-16 jumps that range in height and width. There are many tricky turns along with colorful obstacles that test the mental and physical capacity of a rider and the horse. 

The rider/horse team has to finish within the stipulated time limit and avoid hitting or knocking over any obstacles along the way. The rider with the fewest penalties, fastest time and lowest number of touches and falls wins.

What is Three-Day Eventing?

This equestrian sport tests the skill, versatility, endurance, and courage of the horse and its rider. The competition spans over three days and comprises three disciplines: cross country jumping, stadium jumping, and dressage.

The arena is typically filled with 40 natural and man-made obstacles. The rider and horse team have to jump or go through the course (around four miles). 

The scoring system of the game is based on refusals, time consumed to clear the course, clearing jumps and underpass, the number of times the rider falls off the horse, and other rules by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).


Will equestrianism be a part of the Olympic Games in 2021?


As far as we can see at this time, equestrians will compete in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021! The IOC has included equestrianism in the reduced list of participating sports for the Olympic Games 2021. 

The committee has also rolled a tentative schedule for the events along with the venue. Here is a glimpse of the proposed schedule for equestrian sports.


2021 Olympic Venue: Equestrian Park

Scheduled Dates for Event  
    • Sat 24 July 17:00 - 22:15: Dressage Grand Prix Team and Individual Day 1
    • Sun 25 July 17:00 - 22:15: Dressage Grand Prix Team and Individual Day 2
    • Tue 27 July 17:00 - 22:40: Dressage Team Grand Prix Special, Dressage Team Victory Ceremony
    • Wed 28 July 17:30 - 21:25: Dressage Individual Grand Prix Freestyle, Dressage Individual Victory Ceremony
    • Fri 30 July 8:30 - 11:00: Eventing Dressage Team and Individual Day 1 - Session 1
    • Fri 30 July 17:30 - 20:10: Eventing Dressage Team and Individual Day 1 - Session 2

Nothing Stops an Equestrian


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